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SAC Certificate of Competence

Certificate of Competence
Substance Abuse Counseling
18 credits

Updated for 2014-2015

Enrollment in this Certificate Program offers learners opportunities to develop the knowledge and skills required by the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium, (ICRC) which governs Hawai‘i state certification of substance abuse counselors. The certificate fulfills the substance abuse specific education requirement for Hawai‘i state certification and satisfies a portion of the experiential hours requirement.

Our program provides training for people interested in pursuing work as alcohol and drug abuse counselors, as well as for those who are currently working in the field but who wish to hone their knowledge and skills. The certificate program in substance abuse counseling also may be helpful for people with advanced degrees in law enforcement, nursing, education, rehabilitation counseling, social work, psychology, and other professionals in human services who wish to specialize in this field.

Learners will focus on developing both basic and intermediate-level knowledge and skills required for entrance level substance abuse counselors. They will be encouraged to develop personal maturity through self-exploration, and adoption of a professional demeanor that will further support their entry into the substance abuse counseling field.

Learners can fulfill a sizable portion of the National Association of Drug and Alcohol Counselors’ (NAADAC) Twelve Core Functions of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor requirements with completion of the substance abuse counseling certificate program. The particular course work will also assist one in preparing for the state certification exam. Please be advised that completing Leeward’s certificate program is not the same as obtaining the state certification. Contact the Department of Health, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division (ADAD), Certification Unit (http://hawaii.gov/health/about/admin/health/substance-abuse/index.html) for details about state certification requirements.

In most cases, learners must complete the prerequisite course, HSER 100, and the four clinical courses (HSER 140, 245, 268, and 270) prior to entry into Practicum. Practicum involves placement at a substance abuse treatment facility, and the completion of 225 hours each semester for a total of 450 hours, as well as attendance at an evening seminar each of the two semesters. Practicum is completed in the second year of the program with HSER 294 offered only in the fall semester, and HSER 295 offered only in the spring semester. It is highly recommended that the learner also work to complete an AA degree in Liberal Arts if s/he has not yet done so. All of the HSER courses support the elective credit requirement for the AA degree. With completion of the Certificate, 2,000 hours of the ADAD experiential requirement is waived.

Program enrollees may complete all of the clinical courses prior to officially applying for acceptance into the program, but must submit the program application before enrolling in Practicum. Application for acceptance into the program occurs in early March. At a minimum, one must be enrolled in, or have completed, HSER 100 before applying for acceptance into the program. Place your name on a list with the Social Science Division secretary (FA 220, 455-0360) if you are interested in being accepted into the program when the first opportunity arises.

In order for a learner to enroll in human service (HSER) courses, one either must test above the ENG 22 Compass placement exam cutoff score, or previously have completed ENG 22 or ENG 100. One needs to be able to write at college level in order to enroll in human service courses.

The 18 credits do not include the prerequisite course HSER 100. One may concurrently enroll in HSER 140 or, HSER 245 if s/he meets the English requirement above. The learner will need to request a prerequisite waiver from the instructor teaching the HSER 140 and/or 245 sections prior to being able to register concurrently for both.

This is a two-year, part-time program of study. One needs to complete the prerequisite course, HSER 100 (3 credits) and the four counseling courses (HSER 140,268,245,270) prior to enrollment in the second year, fall HSER 294 and spring HSER 295 courses.

First Semester (Fall) Requirements

Course Alpha

Course Title


HSER 140

Individual Counseling


HSER 268

Survey of Substance Abuse Problems


Second Semester (Spring) Requirements

HSER 245

Group Counseling


HSER 270

Substance Abuse Counseling


Third Semester (Fall) Requirements

HSER 294



Fourth Semester (Spring) Requirements

HSER 295




Total Credits


Certificate of Competence in Substance Abuse Counseling
Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:
Recognize the medical, societal, psychological, and family affects of abuse and addiction with regard to alcohol and other drugs
Identify Hawai‘i’s prevention/intervention and treatment system, its strengths and limitations
Develop an awareness of issues and other personal values/biases that might impact one’s effectiveness as a substance abuse counselor
Demonstrate knowledge and application of the Twelve Core Functions engaged by the alcohol and drug abuse counselor, and know how these functions apply to the continuum of care
Demonstrate an ability to do an effective biopsychosocial assessment and display a basic knowledge of counseling approaches used with individuals and groups
Identify the ethical and legal issues that confront the counseling professional, and abide by them when in the field
Distinguish the stages of the treatment process, including aftercare, relapse prevention, and the issues relevant to their clients involved in each stage of intervention
Display attending, active listening, and other counseling skills in their work with individuals and groups

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