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More Information on the Army Substance Abuse Program

In July 2011, the Department of Defense (DOD) released U.S. Army Directive 2011-09, which authorized the Army Substance Abuse Program (ASAP) to employ licensed counselors as independent practitioners. The policy change also coincided with an ASAP national hiring initiative for substance abuse counselors, which increased the opportunities for NCCs to serve military personnel.

This important policy change came at a time when NBCC’s advocacy had led Congress to direct the DOD to establish TRICARE independent practice requirements for counselors, but before the DOD had determined them. NBCC continues to work for increased employment and recognition of counselors in the ASAP and throughout the military health systems.

Employment Requirements

The requirements in the ASAP policy reflect those recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for independent practice under TRICARE. They include a master’s degree from a program accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP), a state counseling license, and a passing score on the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE). To assist counselors seeking ASAP employment, NBCC established a military health systems examination registration option.

For questions about ASAP employment requirements, please contact the listed hiring official for a particular position.

Grandparented Requirements

In October 2012, the ASAP clarified grandparented requirements for professional counselors. The requirements allow counselors who were employed by ASAP or who had already entered the application process prior to the release of Army Directive 2011-09 to be privileged as independent providers if they hold a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and meet the other requirements. The grandparented requirements offer existing ASAP employees an alternative to the CACREP degree requirement established in the previous directive.