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How to Become an Intervention Specialist

by Ashley Miller, studioD

Intervention specialists are trained addiction professionals who help confront people suffering from alcohol and substance abuse, compulsive gambling disorders and other addictions. They are usually called in when the family or loved ones of an addict are at the end of their ropes and are seeking professional help to get the addict to recognize his problem. Intervention specialists might provide education and support to families and loved ones of the addicted person, offer group interventions, confront the addict on an individual basis and provide counseling and support for potential side effects of an addiction, such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders or aggression, according to InterventionSupport.com.

Obtain a high school diploma or a GED; then obtain a bachelor's degree in a human services field, such as social work, psychology or counseling. This is the minimum education you'll need to achieve before you can apply to graduate degree programs in counseling and addiction treatment.

Complete a master's degree program in a counseling-related field, such as psychology, social work, marriage and family therapy, counseling or pastoral counseling. A master's degree is the minimum education required for certification as a Board Certified Intervention Specialist, or BRI-1, with the Association of Intervention Specialists Certification Board. However, some intervention specialists may also have doctorates in their field of practice.

Acquire a state license to practice in your field. Licensure requirements vary by state and field of practice. Check with your state's licensing board to verify the exact credentials, education, training and experience requirements you'll need to meet.

Apply for malpractice insurance. Board-certified intervention specialists are required to have a minimum malpractice liability insurance of $1,000,000/3,000,000, according to the Association of Intervention Specialists.

Complete a minimum of 14 hours of continuing education courses on intervention training. Intervention training courses are offered by many institutions, such as the Lifestyle Intervention organization, in the form of in-person conferences, or as online courses by organizations like TIPS, the Training for Intervention Procedures organization.

Gain work experience in a recovery program or addiction counseling center as an intervention specialist. You will need at least two years of experience conducting interventions before you can apply for board certification.

Gather at least three peer evaluations and recommendations from supervisors. You will need to submit this documentation with your application for board certification.

Pass an oral or written examination administered by the Association of Intervention Specialists. According to the organization, an examination may not be necessary for all candidates, depending on your specific skills, education, experience and training. Check with the organization for verification on this requirement.

Agree to adhere to the Association of Intervention Specialists' code of ethics.

Apply for board certification. Submit all documentation, fees and your completed application for certification to the Association of Intervention Specialists.


  • You will need to complete a minimum of five credits of continuing education each year as a condition of maintaining certification.
  • The Association of Intervention Specialists also offers an advanced intervention specialist certificate for people who are already eligible for or possess BRI-1 certification. This credential requires additional education, training and experience.

About the Author

Ashley Miller is a licensed social worker, psychotherapist, certified Reiki practitioner, yoga enthusiast and aromatherapist. She has also worked as an employee assistance program counselor and a substance-abuse professional. Miller holds a Master of Social Work and has extensive training in mental health diagnosis, as well as child and adolescent psychotherapy. She also has a bachelor's degree in music.

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