IBC Frequently Asked Questions

What certifications are offered by the Iowa Board of Certification?
IBC currently offers the following credentials:

  • Temporary Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor (tCADC)
  • Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor (CADC)
  • International Alcohol & Drug Counselor (IADC) - Reciprocal
  • International Advanced Alcohol & Drug Counselor (IAADC) – Reciprocal
  • Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS) – Reciprocal
  • Advanced Certified Prevention Specialist (ACPS)
  • Co-Occurring Disorders Professional (CCDP) – Reciprocal
  • Certified Criminal Justice Professional (CCJP) – Reciprocal
  • Certified Gambling Treatment Counselor (CGTC)
  • Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS) – Reciprocal
  • Certified Treatment Assistant (CTA)
  • Certified Mental Health Peer Support Specialist (MHPSS)
  • Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (PRS) - Reciprocal
  • Certified Family Peer Support Specialist (FPSS)

How do I become certified?
To become certified, a completed application must be submitted to the IBC office with the applicable fee.  The application must demonstrate meeting all education, experience and supervision requirements for the credential; once complete, the exam must be passed.

How can I find more information about certification?
IBC maintains a handbook for each credential linked from the Certification page. All information about any of our credentials can be found in each Handbook.

What is the difference between tCADC, CADC, IADC and IAADC?
Each of these credentials for substance abuse counselors differs according to how much education, experience, and supervision is required. Carefully review the Alcohol and Drug Counselors Handbook to determine which one you would qualify for.

Where can I find an application for becoming certified?
All applications for certification for each credential are linked from the Certification page.

Are there study guides available for my exam?
There are 2 study guides available for purchase for the Alcohol & Drug exams – one is purchased through the IBC office and the other needs to be ordered directly from the board in Florida who publishes it. Download the Study Guide Order Form.

There are 2 free study guides for the Prevention exam found on the Certified Prevention Specialist page.

How long does it take to become certified?
The time it takes to become certified varies a great deal from individual to individual and solely depends on how long it takes an applicant to complete and submit an entire application that demonstrates meeting all certification requirements.  The applications for each credential are linked from the Certification page.   Be sure to carefully review the handbook regarding education, experience and supervision requirements.

Once the completed application is received in the IBC office, it will be reviewed (normally on the same day it is received) and you will be notified if anything else is needed, or informed that your application is complete and you’re being pre-registered for the exam.

Will the IBC office need my transcripts when I apply for certification?
Yes.  We will only review original transcripts sent directly to the IBC office from the college/university via U.S. Mail.  Please call the IBC office before having your transcripts sent to let us know they are coming and which credential you will be applying for; be sure to provide all last names you have used.

How long does it take to find out my exam score and receive my certificate?
Most all of IBC’s exams are taken on the computer, and you will receive notification of pass/fail before you leave the exam room.  Exam scores are accessed every Monday and certificates are sent out the week following your exam.

Do I have to re-test if I upgrade my credential?
If you are upgrading from tCADC/CADC to IADC, and have taken the exam for substance abuse counselors after June 2008, you do not have to re-test.  If you are upgrading to IAADC, the test is different so you would have to pass that exam. 

Why should I consider upgrading to IADC?
The IADC is an IC&RC reciprocal credential that is held by 47 states in the US and 25 countries, as well as all branches of the U.S. Military.  By holding this credential, you are able to use the reciprocity system to “transfer” your credential to one of these states/countries should you move.  Keep in mind that some states/countries may require additional training/education than what IC&RC requires for your IADC (i.e. a Master’s degree), so always check with the state/country you’re moving to regarding their requirements.

How can I find out about IBC credential changes or updates?
We post all news on the Latest News page of our website.

IBC also sends out a newsletter 3 times a year. Be sure to read it carefully as all changes will be reflected in the newsletter. You may view several years of past newsletters on the website.

How can I find trainings to go toward my certification or recertification?
The best place to check for approved trainings is our website on the Education page. IBC approves between 350-400 trainings every year that occur around the state.

IBC sponsored training information will be included on IBC’s home page, as well as on the Education page, and within newsletters.

If you’re looking for online training, you can find information on the Online Education page as well as within our newsletters. Remember that the $15.00 CEU Approval fee is due for every online training you submit for recertification, even if you find the online provider on the IBC website.

How can I invite IBC to sponsor a training in my part of the state?
You are welcome to call Debbie Gilbert, IBC’s Executive Director, if you’re interested in working with us in setting up a training.  IBC has a Training Committee that endeavors to schedule approximately 6 trainings each year, and we are always looking for trainers and free/low cost training sites for scheduling.

How can I tell if a training I’ve taken is IBC approved?
There are several ways: 1) check to see if the training is listed on the Education page which lists IBC approved trainings, and 2) your certificate of completion should indicate “IBC Approved” on it. If you are unsure, please call our office to inquire.

What forms do I need to complete for recertification, and where can I find them?
You can find the Application for Recertification for your credential linked from the Certification page. The recertification application may be completed online, then saved to your computer and emailed to the IBC office as an attachment. You do not need to submit copies of certificates of completion unless your recertification is audited. The recertification fee may be paid from the IBC website using Dwolla, or a check may be mailed. Be sure forms are emailed/mailed and payment is made/postmarked on or before the recertification date to avoid the late fee.

What are IBC’s policies regarding recertification and inactive status dates, late fees, etc.?
All applications for recertification, and letters of request for inactive status, must be emailed/postmarked (along with payment) on or before the date of expiration that is shown on the certificate or on the verification letter of inactive status.  If it is emailed/postmarked after that date and within 45 days, the $50.00 late fee is due.  All certified professionals— including those on inactive status—are given a maximum of 45 days after their expiration date to complete the recertification process (or request inactive status); if this is not done within that time frame, certification is considered expired, and the entire application process must start over again if the professional wishes to become certified again.

How early can I send in my recertification application?
You may send in your recertification application any time you wish within your current certification period. Just remember that once you send it in, you cannot use additional continuing education you receive between the time you submit your application and the end of your current validation period; this is because all continuing education hours must be earned within the 2-year validation period shown on your certificate.

How long does it take for me to receive my new certificate after recertifying?
All recertification applications are normally reviewed the same day they’re received in the IBC office; if the application is complete, the new certificate will be mailed the following day (if either Debbie or Lynn are out of the office, it may take a bit longer).

I have more hours than I need for this recertification. Can some of them be used for my next recertification?
No.  All recertification hours must be earned within the validation dates shown on your certificate.

Does the IBC office accept credit or debit cards?
No. You have 3 options for payment of fees: mail a check, pay on the IBC website with a credit card or PayPal, or pay with cash at the IBC office.

What is the $15.00 CEU Processing Fee?
For initial applicants for certification, there is no CEU Processing Fee due. For recertifying applicants, this fee is due for every workshop you are submitting which has not been approved by IBC, as well as for EVERY distance learning workshop, and is paid at the time of recertification.

What is an “approved” workshop or training?
In order for a training to be IBC approved, the sponsor of the training needs to apply for approval by completing the Application for CEU Approval. The application is submitted to the IBC office along with a timed agenda and training objectives, and if the training is approved, an invoice is sent to the sponsor to indicate approval and the applicable fee to be paid for that approval. At the same time, information is included on IBC’s website.  IBC approves between 350-400 trainings every year.

How can I apply to be a member of the Board of Directors or one of IBC’s committees?
Apply by completing and submitting either the Application for Board Membership,or the Application for Committee membership.

Does IBC assist agencies with training their staff?
IBC’s Executive Director, Debbie Gilbert, does do a 3-hour ethics training for agencies upon request.

What does “Reciprocity” mean in Iowa?
Reciprocity into Iowa:  Addiction professionals certified by an IC &RC member board who relocates into Iowa may transfer their credential to Iowa using the reciprocity process.  No additional requirements will have to be met by the certified professional using this process to transfer their credential to Iowa. 

To begin the reciprocity process, certified professionals must contact their current credentialing board and request a reciprocity application.  Upon completion of that application by both the certified professional and current credentialing board, and upon receipt of this information by IBC, IBC will then issue the certified professional the equivalent credential offered by IBC.  Reciprocal credentials in Iowa are:  IAADC, IADC, CCJP, CCDP, CPS, PRS and CCS.

Reciprocity out of Iowa:  Addiction professionals certified by IBC who relocate to another state, country or national may transfer their credential to the new jurisdiction using the reciprocity process only if the new jurisdiction is an IC&RC member board.  Reciprocity to a non-IC&RC member board is not allowed.  Additional requirements may be imposed upon the certified professional depending upon the laws and regulations governing the practice of addiction-related services in the new jurisdiction.  Therefore, certified professionals are strongly encouraged to contact the IC&RC member board in the new jurisdiction to determine if any additional requirements must be met.

What is the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC)?
The IC&RC is an organization whose purpose is to set international standards of practice in addiction counseling, prevention, clinical supervision and co-occurring through testing and credentialing of professionals.  The Iowa Board of Certification is a member of this international organization.

IC&RC, incorporate in 1981, is headquartered in Harrisburg, PA.  It is a non-profit organization comprised of certifying bodies involved in the credentialing or licensing of alcohol & drug counselors, clinical supervisors, prevention specialists, co-occurring professionals and criminal just professionals, and is committed to public protection through the establishment of quality, competency-based certification programs and testing materials for these professionals.  At this time, IC&RC includes 25 countries, 47 states in the U.S. and all branches of the U.S. Military.

The organization also promotes the establishment and recognition of minimum standards to provide reciprocity for certified professionals.  There are currently more than 40,000 reciprocally credentialed professionals through the IC&RC.

IC&RC is professional recognized by the DOT, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) and the U.S. Dept. of Defense for its SAP exam process.  To learn more about IC&RC, visit their website at www.internationalcredentialing.org.