Certifications The New Mini Degree

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In this world that is beginning to require a bachelor’s degree for even the most menial of jobs, certifications can be a good alternative. A certification is like getting a mini-degree: its a formal recognition of some small degree of knowledge for a subject and worth more than plain experience without a certification, in my opinion, when looking for a job.

There are now certifications for all kinds of things from inventory management to health care and the coveted CAC certification I’m trying to get is but one of them.

Certifications can be recognized nationally, internationally or merely by specific states (CAC certification is internationally recognized). And the more certifications you can get the better…

A side certification I’m looking at getting is CBIS which is a nationally ‘certified brain injury specialist’. It requires a certain number of work hours with brain injured people, attending a class, passing a CBIS certification exam and paying for the licensing and processing fees (around $300).

So why are certifications even being offered? Money…

Certification requirements always involve money such as paying for study materials, paying for the test, unpaid internship (where applicable), license and processing fees and an annual certification renewal fee. This is a nice source of added income for the state or for whatever entity that passed out the certification.

Another plus is that it raises the standard of education and quality of work by requiring some amount of knowledge of the subject with license renewal contingent on a certain number of continuing education credits.

For the worker such as you and me it is a great way to get an edge in the job market and get hired faster.

Back to substance abuse… The ‘certified alcohol counselor’ certificate is internationally recognized with each state capable of having different licensing requirements and Connecticut is one of the more strict. It is bestowed by the Connecticut Certification Board after a panel review of your qualifications (thank god they dropped the oral requirement).

To confuse matters, the Connecticut Department of Public Health also offers their own certification or ‘certified alcohol and drug counselor’ (CADC) which is separate from CAC although the same requirements are needed for the license. This license is only recognized within Connecticut. Some counselors hold both licenses: they obtain the CAC and then apply for the CADC.

Another certification is the LADC or ‘licensed alcohol and drug counselor’. These people have a reduced paid work time hours requirement and need a masters degree – they can also counsel privately, on their own, and be paid for it legally whereas a CAC and CADC cannot counsel on their own.

All the other LADC requirements are the same as CAC including the same certification exam.