What is a Tobacco Treatment Specialist?
Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists, or CTTSs, are professionals who are trained to provide treatment for individuals seeking to stop using tobacco. Click here for a full description.
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The Mayo Clinic Tobacco Treatment Specialist Certification Training Program is an intensive, five-day course focusing on the skills needed to effectively treat tobacco dependence. Faculty will be Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center physicians, psychologists, counseling and education staff, and other Mayo Clinic faculty. A partial list of topics includes: neuropharmacology of nicotine, optimization of pharmacologic management, conducting a basic counseling session, motivational interviewing and other counseling approaches, and application of treatment of tobacco dependence to people with co-morbid conditions. The last half-day of the program will consist of an examination which tests both knowledge and counseling skills. This training program is designed for health-care professionals already providing tobacco dependence treatment and for those with a strong interest in entering the field. Registration is limited in order to facilitate learning and maximize interaction with the experienced faculty.
Although a national certification organization for tobacco treatment specialists does not yet exist, there is a clear demand for professionals in the field to have a recognition of expertise in treating tobacco use and dependence. The Nicotine Dependence Center (NDC) has worked closely with the Association for the Treatment of Tobacco Use and Dependence (ATTUD) and others to establish standards for core competencies, training, and certification of tobacco treatment providers. The Nicotine Dependence Center Tobacco Treatment Specialist Certification Program has been accredited by the Council for Tobacco Treatment Training Programs since 2010.
Cost: $1,250 (subject to change)
All course materials
Pre- and post-course testing
Morning and afternoon snacks/beverages provided daily
Certificate of competency as a TTS (if all requirements are met)
NDC Education Program website access
Participants who cancel registration 14 days or more before the course start date will receive a full refund (minus a $100 administrative fee). The cancellation must be received in writing.
No refunds are granted after 14 days before the course start date.
The Nicotine Dependence Center Education Program reserves the right to cancel or postpone any course due to unforeseen circumstances. In the unlikely event that the NDC Education Program must cancel or postpone a course, the registration fee will be fully refunded, but the NDC Education Program is not responsible for any related costs, charges or expenses, including fees assessed with airline, travel or lodging agencies.
The Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Program grievance procedure provides a mechanism to facilitate resolution of conflicts, problems or disagreements raised by individuals enrolled in Mayo education programs, with the exception of disciplinary actions.
- Associate degree: Participants who hold a two-year associate degree and license/certificate in a healthcare profession such as a registered nurse, dental hygienist, respiratory therapist or chemical dependence counselor. Exceptions for other licensed professionals who hold an associate degree may be considered.
- Bachelor's degree: Participants with a bachelor's degree or higher in any field.
- Concurrent use of tobacco while treating others for tobacco dependence is detrimental to the person receiving treatment. We strongly recommend that all active tobacco users seek treatment, achieve stable tobacco abstinence, and be free of both tobacco and e-cigarettes before treating others. Therefore, we require that anyone applying for TTS certification be tobacco-free for a minimum of six months.
- Fluency in written and spoken English is essential for success in the program and to ensure patient safety. Applicants must be able to demonstrate objective competency in English to participate fully in the program. You may be required to submit results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or equivalent examination.
Candidate may apply for, and be granted, a TTS certificate if the candidate:
- Completes the 5-day TTS Training Program.
- Has an associate degree: Participants who hold a two-year associate degree and licensure/certificate in a healthcare profession such as a registered nurse, dental hygienist, respiratory therapist or chemical dependence counselor. Exceptions for other licensed professionals who hold an associate degree may be considered.
- Has a bachelor's degree: Participants with a bachelor's degree or higher degree in any field.
- Demonstrates appropriate skills by achieving a passing score of 80 percent on both the knowledge-based and skills-based examinations.
- Completes 480 service hours focused on tobacco dependence treatment as part of direct patient/client care, OR
- Completes 240 service hours focused on tobacco dependence treatment as part of direct patient/client care (for those with a graduate degree or higher).
Applicants who fail the certification examination are allowed to retest up to three times within two years following the date of the initial exam.
A TTS certificate will be valid for two years. At that point, and every two years thereafter, renewal of your certificate is required. Please see the section titled "Certification Renewal".
Provisional certification requirements
Candidate may apply for, and be granted, a provisional TTS certificate if the candidate:
- Completes the training program, and passes the knowledge-based and skill-based examinations.
A provisional TTS certificate will be valid for only two years after issue. Provisional certificates allow an opportunity for those in training or pursuing a degree to obtain the necessary requirements for permanent certification. Individuals who do not complete the required course work and/or required service hours within two years will be required to repeat the entire certification process.
Renewal of the Certification will require documentation of 18 Continuing Education Hours (CEH) or Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits granted by an accredited organization over two years. To receive full credit towards certification, these hours must be specific to treatment of tobacco use and dependence. Fifty percent credit will be approved towards certification for courses that are not tobacco-specific.
Payment of $30 (nonrefundable) renewal administrative fee must accompany your request for renewal. (Note: Attendance at future Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center Conferences may be applied to fulfill the continuing education requirements.)
Credit approval for continuing education hours is as follows:
Type of course - Continuing education hours approved
- Tobacco-focused courses - 100%
- Non-tobacco motivational interviewing - 50%
- General addiction or specific addiction courses specific to an area other than tobacco - 50%
- Attendance at Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center Annual Conference - 100%
- Health Behavior/Wellness/Prevention and Public Health Courses - 50% (These would include control/prevention/public health workshops)
- Tobacco-focused college courses - 1 credit = 12 CEH, 2 credit = 24 CEH, 3 credit = 36 CEH, 4 credit = 48 CEH
Distance educational offerings
Distance education offerings are provided by the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Education Program.
This is an opportunity for tobacco treatment specialists and other healthcare practitioners who are interested in educational sessions via distant education. These sessions will meet the requirements for continuing education hours needed for Mayo Clinic's Tobacco Treatment Specialist Certification.
- Register for Tobacco Treatment Specialist Certification training online. Select date of training and click on link.
- Registration fee must be paid in full by credit card (online); or you may send a check payable to: Mayo Foundation Nicotine Education Program.
- Fax or mail in the service hours form — fillable form online (please be sure to include a brief description of your service hours experience). Print form and either send via mail or fax (507-255-0652). You must sign the form and obtain a supervisor’s signature to verify your experience.
- Request official academic transcript(s) to be sent directly to us from the academic institution where the highest academic degree was acquired. Electronic transcripts received by email will also be accepted if received directly from the academic institution. Non-English transcripts must have the name of the individual and their academic degrees translated to English before they will be accepted.
Return application materials to:
Nicotine Education Program
Colonial Building 3-10
200 First Street SW
Rochester, MN 55905
To reserve a spot for an upcoming course, the registration fee must be paid in full.
If you are planning to pay by check, you are not enrolled into the program until payment is received.
In order to receive your certificate, you must complete the training, pass the exams, and all application materials must be received. This includes the registration fee, service hours form, and official transcripts.
** Early registration is encouraged, as enrollment is limited. It is the applicant's responsibility to make sure all required materials are submitted on time. The applicant will receive an email confirmation once their payment is received. Upon enrollment in the course, you will be able to download all course information online. If you have questions please contact the Nicotine Education Program at 507-266-1093 or 1-800-344-5984 (toll-free).