Specialist Certification Prerequisites & Application Information

Education & Experience


Professionals may present a Master’s level degree in a related field with one year experience, a Bachelor’s level degree in a related field with 2 years experience, or 60 credit hours in the field of ID or Mental health and 3 years of related experience.

Post secondary education is not required; however, a thorough explanation of the experience base must accompany the application as equivalence determination resides with the NADD Competency-Based Dual Diagnosis Specialist Certification Program. The review committee may recognize other types of accreditation and certifications as pre-requisites.


The applicant will have experience in support of persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities and mental health issues (Dually Diagnosed). This can include volunteerships, internships and externships. For applicants without a post secondary degree other similar credentialing or accreditation or combinations thereof and experience may be accepted.

Ethical Behavior

The applicant’s signature in the Principles section of the application form is required and shall denote the candidate’s commitment to ethical behavior.

Any disciplinary events, lawsuits past or pending, suspension of privileges from care facilities or professional organizations, or any actions by a state/province or other licensing body related to complaints or actions against an individual must be reported and reviewed by the committee. NADD has established a process for receiving complaints regarding ethical behavior of people who have received this certification. Any intentional misrepresentations or falsehoods submitted by an applicant would be sufficient to deny certification as an unethical act.

NADD Membership

Applicants must receive Member Benefits through individual membership, or as an employee of a Member Organization

Become a Member Here


Application Package

Application Checklist 

The following should be included in the application package:

  • Completed application form
  • Signed Principles statement
  • Completed Experience Confirmation section, with dates of employment and contact information for all jobs that are being used to meet the experience requirement
  • Proof of current NADD membership
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Three letters of reference
  • Nonrefundable Application/Exam Fee

The application and supporting materials should be mailed to:

NADD Specialist Certification Program
12 Hurley Avenue
Kingston, NY 12401

Receipt of Application

When the application package is received at the NADD office, it will be reviewed to ascertain that all items in the Application Checklist have been included. The applicant will be informed of all missing or incomplete items and will be requested to provide the missing information.

Once all items have been received, the application will be deemed to be complete and will be reviewed to determine whether the applicant meets the prerequisites for certification.

Work Sample and Interview

Work Sample 

Once the application has been reviewed and the applicant has been found to meet the prerequisites, the applicant will receive instructions to submit a work sample that demonstrates his/her work in the area of dual diagnosis.

Review of the work sample is based on the Work Sample Guidelines in the manual linked below.  The applicant should review these guidelines to ensure that the submitted content includes consideration of each of the six targeted competency areas. 

Work Sample Guidelines are available HERE.

NADD will assign two examiners to review to work sample to determine whether the candidate demonstrates competency in the six areas. If the work sample is found to be acceptable, the interview will be scheduled. The examiners may require submission of additional information, including re-submission of the work sample, before they approve scheduling of the interview.


The final component of the certification process is an interview, which may occur in person or by telephone or video conference. 

The same two examiners who reviewed the work sample will participate in the interview., and the interview will include resolution of any questions raised during other parts of the application process. 

Scoring & Evaluation

For both the work sample and interview, the applicant’s competence in each of the six competency areas will be evaluated using the following scale:

1 = Insufficient evidence of competence in this area of Best Practice

2 = Evidence of minimal competence in this area of Best Practice

3 = Evidence of average competence in this area of Best Practice

4 = Evidence of above average competence in this area of Best Practice

5 = Evidence of a superior level of competence in this area of Best Practice

Candidates are required to demonstrate at least an average level of knowledge (a score of at least 3) in all competency areas.

In the event that the two examiners cannot agree upon whether the candidate achieved a passing score (3’s and above) or a failing score (1’s, 2’s), the examiner from the same discipline as the candidate shall make the decision.

The candidate will receive a copy of his or her score sheets, which will provide feedback regarding perceived areas of competence