Arthur Becker had no interest in changing any state laws when he enrolled in his Associate Degree program at ICDC College. But after learning that the state of Montana – where he resides with his wife and son – will not honor his Alcohol and Drug Counseling Associate Degree for employment, he decided he needed some things to change.
Becker, who currently works at A.W.A.R.E. – a juvenile group home for those with behavioral and mental health challenges – recognizes the importance of programs that not only treat, but also prevent addiction. In order to achieve his goal of someday opening an alcohol and drug prevention facility, Becker decided to pursue his degree in Alcohol and Drug Counseling.
“When I looked into my state’s certification requirements, I learned that the state of Montana does not honor nationally-accredited schools and that my degree would not be valid for use in my field,” says Becker.
Under Montana law only graduates from regionally accredited institutions could apply to become licensed counselors.
Becker drafted a bill that would allow graduates from nationally accredited institutions, like ICDC College, to also apply for licensure. He took it to Cynthia Hiner, the legislator for his district, and she carried it to the House of Representatives.
Becker was so successful that his bill amended the law!
His bill amended the law. The Legislature revised the definition of “accredited college or university.” The previous definition stated that “accredited college or university” meant a regional state college. Now section 37-35-102, MCA, is amended to read: “‘Accredited college or university’ means a college or university accredited by a regional or national accrediting association for institutions of higher learning.”
This means Becker, and others in Montana who earn degrees from nationally-accredited colleges, will have their degrees honored by the state of Montana, and can therefore qualify for jobs in their field.
Governor Brian Schweitzer signed the amendment on March 25th, 2011. The law will go into effect in October.
Now Art Becker is looking forward to finishing his degree and completing his internship.
“I am just glad that I don’t have to move to another state to practice in this field. Working with kids and helping others make better decisions is more fulfilling than most jobs. It was worth the fight.”
ICDC College could not agree more.
For more information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who completed the program, and other important information, please visit our website (http://icdccollege.edu/programs/associates-degree/alcohol-drug-counseling-associates/).