How to Become a SAP

Want to serve as a U.S. Department of Transportation Substance Abuse Professional (SAP)? Before you begin providing SAP services, you must meet the following three requirements:

1. Credentials

You must be one of the following:

  • Licensed physician (Doctor of Medicine or Osteopathy)
  • Licensed or certified social worker
  • Licensed or certified psychologist
  • Licensed or certified employee assistance professional
  • State-licensed or certified marriage and family therapist
  • IC&RC Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC)

2. Qualification Training

You must complete a DOT-approved SAP Qualification Training, which typically lasts 12 hours over the course of 2 days. The DOT itself does not provide training. Blair Consulting, SAPlist’s partner organization, offers in-person training with industry expert Lee Mauk.

3. Exam

Once you have completed SAP qualification training, you must pass a written exam to demonstrate your knowledge of DOT regulations. The DOT does not offer exams, but relies on approved independent agencies to offer them.

SAPlist does not offer qualification exams either, but recommends these exams:

Employee Assistance Professionals Association (EAPA) exam

  • Paper exam you mail in
  • 50 multiple-choice questions
  • Cost: $150 for EAPA members/$200 non-members

International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) exam

  • In-person proctored exam, administered by local state IC&RC certification boards
  • Pre-registration with local certification board required
  • 100 multiple-choice questions
  • Cost: Varies by board

To find an upcoming SAP exam administered by the IC&RC, search the member board directory for your state board. Use the contact information to inquire about upcoming exams. If you live in a state without an IC&RC member board, or the board is not offering a SAP exam soon, you may test at a board in a nearby state.

The Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) SAP Independent Study Course

  • Training and exam in one
  • Paper exam you mail in
  • 100 multiple-choice questions
  • Cost: $307 members/$407 non-members

After providing proof of your training, NAADAC will send this exam to you. You then complete it, and send it back for scoring. To obtain the exam, contact (800) 548-0497.

After your training and exam

Once you finish your qualification training and take the exam, you can practice as a SAP. The DOT doesn’t issue an official SAP certificate or license.

You must keep documentation of your SAP training and exam results, for service agents, EAPs and DOT auditors to view at their request. If you are unable to provide documentation to a service agent, that agent will probably refuse your SAP services.

Renew your SAP status every 3 years

To maintain an active SAP status, every three years you must complete SAP continuing education and take a quiz.

Learn about SAP continuing ed