Last Updated: April 19, 2023. Report error / Make suggestion

Working as a substance use disorder professional can be a particularly rewarding career for people who have been directly impacted by the criminal legal system, as many have also dealt with substance use issues.  Lived experience is a valuable resource you can draw upon in order to help others through their own struggles.  This is also a field in high demand as communities across the country grapple with the ongoing opioid epidemic.

Initial Application Requirements

Who/What Agency governs or oversees the profession?

  • The Washington State Department of Health and in turn, the Secretary of Health

What are the background check requirements?

  • There is a required background check however you cannot be denied certification based on certain convictions so long as 1.) at least one year has passed from the last offense, 2.) the conviction was due to substance use or mental health symptoms and 3.) you have been in recovery for at least a year.
  • Convictions that qualify for this exception are:
    • Simple assault
    • Assault in the fourth degree
    • Prostitution
    • Theft in the third or second degree
    • Forgery

Are there any convictions that will automatically disqualify me?

  • There are no specific disqualifying crimes, but the Department does have the discretion to deny your application based on your criminal history where no exception applies and where you do not have a CROP (see below).

Do Certificates of Restoration of Opportunity (CROPs) apply to the position?

  • Yes, as part of the application process, you must disclose your criminal history. There is a specific spot in the application that asks you to include a certificate of restoration of opportunity if you have one.