Clinical Certification Prerequisites & Application Information

Application Process, Prerequisites & Elements

Application Process

Access to our easy online application is available to candidates after payment of the Application Fee, through a linked Certification Guide on the confirmation screen and by confirmation email. NADD strives to process all applications within 5 business days, and while applications are usually processed more quickly an incomplete application may take longer.

Upon receiving an application, NADD will review it for completion and communicate directly with the applicant to complete the application if any of the required elements are missing or unclear. When an applicant has successfully met all requirements and their application fees are paid, NADD will guide them through the next steps in the process.

Once an application has been received, the application is nontransferable, nonrefundable, and void after one year.

Application Prerequisites

All applicants must meet 3 prerequisites for acceptance into the Clinical Certification Program, which are documented as part of NADD’s online application process:

  1. Education and Experience

    Applicants may present one of the following combinations of Education and Experience: 

    • Licensure as an RN or a Master’s degree in a field providing services to individuals with IDD/MI, and at least seven years of experience delivering clinical supports for persons with IDD and co-occurring Behavioral Health disorders.
    • Licensure or Certification as a Licensed Behavior Consultant, Board Certified Behavior Analyst, (BCBA), a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA), or recognition by your State/Province as able to provide behavioral assessment and training (e.g., Behavior Analyst), and at least five years of experience delivering clinical supports for persons with IDD and co-occurring Behavioral Health disorders.
    • Licensure or Certification in at least one of the areas of practice areas listed below (see ***), and at least five years of experience delivering clinical supports for persons with IDD and co-occurring Behavioral Health disorders.
    • Primary teaching, training, or clinical supervision responsibilities in a post-secondary education or clinical supervision related to training toward the disciplines listed above, with five years of directly related experience. (Please provide an explanation of relevant activities and experience.) 

    Final determination of clinical equivalence and experience relevance resides with the NADD  Certification Program.

    *** Psychologist, Physician, Medical Doctors (M.D.), Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) Bachelor of Medicine /Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), Mental Health Counselor, Marriage & Family Counselor, Addictions Counselor, Licensed Clinical Social Worker; Physician’s Assistant, Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioner; Occupational Therapists (OT), Physical Therapist (PT), or other similar USA or Canadian equivalent clinical licensure or credentialing

  2. Demonstrated Expertise

    In addition to documenting the required Education and Experience, the applicant must be able to thoroughly explain and demonstrate advanced expertise in at least one competency area, and a general knowledge in the remaining areas. Click below for more information on competency areas.

  3. Ethical Behavior

    The applicant’s signed Affirmation of Principles and Affirmation of Ethical Behavior 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.

Application Elements

When an applicant can satisfy the above prerequisites, they may submit the following items together as a complete application package:

  1. Completed Online Application Form
  2. Resume or CV
  3. Three letters of reference
  4. Completed Confirmation of Experience Form
  5. Signed Affirmation of Principles
  6. Signed Affirmation of Ethical Behavior
  7. Work Sample

The Certification Process – Timeline & Stages

Once a Clinical application has been processed and accepted, NADD will communicate directly with the applicant about the status of their application and the next steps in the process. The certification process usually takes between 1-4 months to complete, and encompasses the following stages:

  • Work Sample Review
  • Interview/Exam
  • Certification Evaluation

Work Sample Review

When an application is approved, NADD will assign two Examiners to review the applicant’s work sample to determine whether the candidate demonstrates competency in the 5 core competency areas. If the Examiners have questions or concerns, NADD will coordinate communication with the applicant to clarify issues and determine whether revisions are necessary; the Examiners may require the submission of additional information and/or a revised work sample before approving the Interview/Exam. If/when the applicant’s Examiners are ready to proceed to the Interview & Exam stage, NADD will coordinate the scheduling process.

Review of the work sample is based on the guidelines in the materials linked below. The applicant should review these guidelines to ensure that the submitted content includes consideration of each of the 5 targeted competency areas. 


The Interview/Exam will be based on a case study distributed to the candidate 24-48 hours before the scheduled appointment. The candidate will be asked to verbally offer their thoughts and reflections about the case, demonstrating their ability to articulate a case formulation and treatment plan incorporating the 5 core competencies. The applicant will also be asked to discuss their work sample in order to further demonstrate their understanding of the 5 core competency areas, and to address any questions the Examiners may pose. The interview will also include resolution of any questions raised during other parts of the application process.

The Interview/Exam will take place via video- or teleconference, and last approximately 1 hour. As the applicant, you will have the option as to whether you would like your video on or off during the Interview/Exam, and your decision will not affect your evaluation. 

Certification Evaluation

Final evaluation of the applicant’s Work Sample and Interview/Exam will be determined based on the candidate’s demonstration of knowledge in the 5 core competency areas. Candidates will receive a copy of their evaluation, with scores and Examiner feedback, at the conclusion of the evaluation process.

For both the Work Sample and Interview/Exam , the applicant’s competence in each of the five competency areas will be evaluated using the following scale:

0 = No evidence of competence in this area of Best Practice

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

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

3 = Evidence of a high level of competence in this area of Best Practice

Candidates are required to demonstrate at least a baseline level of knowledge (a score of at least 2) in all competency areas.  In the event that the two examiners cannot agree upon whether the candidate achieved a passing score (2-3) or a failing score (0-1), the examiner from the same discipline as the candidate shall make the decision.

Certification & Recertification

NADD certification is valid for 2 years, and Clinicians are entitled to use the credential NADD-CC in recognition of their achievement.

To renew their credential a NADD-CC may apply for recertification by paying the Recertification Application Fee for access to our online application to document the completion of 10 hours of relevant continuing education.

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