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SA 605 Counselor Competencies


In 1998, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment published Addiction Counseling Competencies: The Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes of Professional Practice It was Developed by the National Curriculum Committee of the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network, The volume identifies 123 competencies that are essential to the effective practice of counseling for psychoactive substance use disorders. It also presents the knowledge, skills, and attitudes counselors need to become fully proficient in each competency. It has been widely distributed by SAMHSA’s Public Engagement Platform and has become a benchmark by which curricula are developed and educational programs and professional standards are measured for the field of substance abuse treatment in the United States. In addition, it has been translated into several languages. Updated volume have not be issued, instead most states have adopted the standards and published their own guidelines and requirements for certification in their own states based upon the national standard presented here. A review of many states adoptions of the competencies are provided.

Course Code: SA 605.

Contact hours of continuing education = 25

Instructor/Course Author: John Pitselos, Ph.D., CAP, CMHP

Link to Resume: Resume

TEXTBOOKS: There is one (1) required textbook for this course.

Both the electronic and print copy are free.

TEXTBOOK: TAP 21: Addiction Counseling Competencies. The Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes of Professional Practice. Price FREE this publication may be ordered from or downloaded from SAMHSA’s Publications Ordering Web page at

Pub id: SMA15-4171
Publication Date: 11/2015
Popularity: 1
Format: Guidelines or Manual
Audience: Professional Care Providers
Series: Technical Assistance Publications (TAPs) 

A link to a PDF copy will be provided in the classroom.

TIME FRAME: You are allotted two years from the date of enrollment, to complete this course. There are no set time-frames, other than the two year allotted time. If you do not complete the course within the two-year time-frame, you will be removed from the course and an “incomplete” will be recorded for you in our records. Also, if you would like to complete the course after this two-year expiration time, you would need to register and pay the course tuition fee again.

GRADINGYou must achieve a passing score of at least 70% to complete this course and receive the 25 hours of awarded continuing education credit. There are no letter grades assigned. You will receive notice of your total % score. Those who score below the minimum of 70% will be contacted by AIHCP and will be permitted one more attempt to retake the online examination.


The American Institute of Health Care Professionals Inc: is an Approved Provider for Continuing Education by the South Carolina Professional Counselors, Marriage & Family Therapists and Psycho-Educational Specialists licensing board, Provider # 4637. Access information

The American Institute of Health Care Professionals (The Provider) is approved by the California Board of Registered Nurses, Provider number # CEP 15595 for 25 Contact Hours.

Course Refund & AIHCP Policies: access here


  • Examination Access: there is link to take you right to the online examination program where you can print out your examination and work with it. All examinations are formatted as “open book” tests. When you are ready, you can access the exam program at anytime and click in your responses to the questions. Full information is provided in the online classrooms.
  • Student Resource Center: there is a link for access to a web page “Student Resource Center.” The Resource Center provides for easy access to all of our policies/procedures and additional information regarding applying for certification. We also have many links to many outside reference sites, such as online libraries that you may freely access.
  • Online Evaluation: there is a link in the classroom where you may access the course evaluation. All students completing a course, must, without exception, complete the course evaluation.
  • Faculty Access Information: you will have access to your instructor’s online resume/biography, as well as your instructor’s specific contact information.
  • Additional Learning Materials: some faculty have prepared additional “readings” and /or brief lecture notes to enhance your experience. All of these are available in the online classrooms.

COURSE OBJECTIVES: Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Review your own skills and competencies in anticipation for credentialing exams.
  • Be able to identify areas of one’s own competencies for further education and training.
  • Adapt and use new competencies and skills in your profession.
  • Update current skills and refresh previous learning.
  • Transdisciplinary Foundations are presented in detail:
  • Understanding Addiction
  • Treatment Knowledge
  • Application to Practice
  • Professional Readiness and
  • Understand Theories Behind Applications are presented.
    • Eight Practice Dimensions are presented. Including:
      • Evaluation,
      • Treatment Planning,
      • Referral,
      • Service Coordination,
      • Counseling,
      • Education,
      • Documentation and
      • Ethics.

Be able to develop coherent Policy and Procedures for counselor’s job titles.


A brief abstract of content:

One hundred and twenty three competencies necessary for a complete set of substance abuse counseling skills are reviewed in detail.  The use in various states and in behavioral health treatment are reviewed. The Transdisciplinary Foundations and Practice Dimension as established and described.

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