Licensure / Certification

There are licensures and certifications in many fields.  This page provides general information for all fields, and specific information for alcohol and drug counselors, and recovery coaches.  Find licensure and certification options for each career on its Career Path page.

What is Licensure?

  • A legal status conferred upon an organization or an individual by the state
  • Defines a scope of practice allowed under the license
  • Granted by a state to those who are qualified for a profession
  • Eligibility may involve prior experience and a test of know­ledge, as well as verification of capabilities for an organization

What is Certification (of individuals)?

  • Not a legal status, but recognizes the competency of an individual
  • May be conferred by a state, but is not in MA

NOTE: This is distinct from receiving a “certificate” offered by a college or university individually upon completion of a course of study, which may have value in itself or as preparation for taking a state licensing exam or a state certification exam, but is not as widely recognized as either Licensure or official Certification.

Why would I want one or the other?

Depending on your profession, one or the other may be more important. In particular, with the advent of health care reform and integration of substance abuse services with physical health services, it will be important for addiction workers to be able to demonstrate competence. Employers, payers and clients will value the highest level of recognition you can obtain.

Can I use my license from another state? Will another state recognize my MA license or certification?

Each field and credential has its own rules about reciprocity. Contact the relecvant state's license/certification boards to find out which licenses or certifications are recognized.

What are the requirements?

Each license or certification lists its own requirements (see individual links). They can be met through educational programs and documented experience, and in some cases an exam.