Clinical Certification Executive Summary


It is estimated that more than a million people in the US have a dual diagnosis of intellectual or development disability (IDD) and mental illness (MI). These individuals have complex needs and present service delivery challenges to professionals, programs, and systems. Staff face challenges in providing appropriate services for individuals who experience mental illness and an intellectual disability.

A Clinician in the field of dual diagnosis is defined as an individual who provides clinical supports or services for persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities and mental health needs.

NADD Certification

NADD has developed a program to certify the competency of Clinicians who support people with a dual diagnosis.  Clinical certification validates and provides assurance to individuals served, colleagues, and employers that a Clinician has met the standards established by NADD for providing services to individuals with IDD/MI.  In addition to the prestige this certification provides, it may benefit the Clinician through greater employment opportunities, job security, pay raises, and promotions.  The certification is portable; Clinicians moving to a different region bring their certifications with them and do not have to demonstrate or re-document their competence simply because they have moved. 

The goal of Clinical certification through the NADD Competency-Based Certification Program is to improve the quality and effectiveness of services provided to individuals with a dual diagnosis through the development of competency-based standards for Specialists and through promoting their ongoing professional development.

Prerequisites & Application

In order to be considered for certification, the applicant must meet the following prerequisites:  

  • Education & Work Experience: Applicant must demonstrate a combination of education, licensure and work experience that establishes clinical professionalism. A range of possibilities may meet this qualification, and the review committee reserves the right to make determinations of equivalence. (Click Here for details)
  • Demonstrated Expertise: 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 Here for details)
  • NADD Membership: Applicant must receive Member Benefits through individual membership or as an employee of a Member Organization.
  • Completed Application Package: Applicant must submit all information before they can be evaluated. (Click Here for details)

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 describing the assessment, diagnoses and treatment of a single person who has a dual diagnosis (IDD/MI). 

For further details, consult the Work Sample Guidelines, and Appendix C (page 62) of the Program Manual.

Interview & Core Competencies

The final component of the certification process is an interview, which may occur in person, at a NADD conference, via web-based video conferencing, or by telephone. The applicant shall be presented with a case vignette approximately 24-48 hours before the interview, about which he or she shall be asked to verbally offer their thoughts and reflections (i.e., provide a case formulation and treatment plan). The interview shall also include resolution of any questions raised during other parts of the application process.  

The Clinician seeking certification will be required to demonstrate mastery of the five competency areas:

  • Positive Behavior Support and Effective Environments
  • Psychotherapy
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Assessment of Medical Issues
  • Assessment

Clinicians who receive NADD certification will be entitled to use “NADD-CC” as a credential


The cost of Clinical Certification payable in the form of a non-refundable exam fee at the time of application, as follows:

  • $250 for employees of a NADD-Accredited Organization
  • $375 for employees of an organization that is not NADD-Accredited

Renewal cost is as follows:

  • $65 for employees of a NADD-Accredited Organization
  • $100 for employees of an organization that is not NADD-Accredited

Clinical Certification is vaild for two years.

There is a continuing education requirement of 10 hours every 2 years in areas related to Mental Health & Wellness for persons with IDD.

Support for Applicants

NADD is proud to offer a Mentoring Program for clinicians interested in NADD Clinical Certification. 

Mentors are available to Clinicians who have begun the certification process or are interested in applying and would like the support of a NADD-Certified Clinician.