Addiction Counseling Schools
Learn about degree and certificate programs in addiction counseling that could train you to work with patients suffering from addictions. Find out about coursework, licensure and certification in this field.
Prospective addiction and substance abuse counselors should consider enrolling in an addiction counseling or mental health counseling program. These programs are available at the graduate and undergraduate levels, with master's programs providing more in depth study of addiction issues and treatments.
What Education Do I Need to Work as an Addiction Counselor?
Most states require counselors to hold master's degrees; however, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, you could work as a substance abuse counselor if you hold a high school diploma or GED and have work experience. Undergraduate degree options include associate's and bachelor's degree programs in substance abuse counseling. If you're interested in a more comprehensive degree program that could help you qualify for state licensure, you might consider a master's degree program, such as a Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling. Some schools also offer programs focused more on the clinical aspects of counseling, including a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a concentration in addiction counseling.
You'll need at least a bachelor's degree to enroll in a master's degree program, and it will be helpful if your degree program included courses in psychology, mental health or counseling. As a graduate student, you'll learn the specifics of how to work with patients facing addictions. Typically composed of about 60-credit hours of coursework, these programs typically focus on four counseling models: treatment, relapse, prevention and recovery. Your program will include internships at hospitals and clinics that can help to fulfill requirements needed for licensure and certification.
Which Schools Offer Associate's Degrees in Addiction Counseling
The Addiction Counseling program from Minneapolis Community and Technical college is a 60-credit degree. National University's program will cover topics like professional relationships, client education, and how to interact with counselors.
- Austin Community College offers an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in Addictions Counseling
- Minneapolis Community and Technical College offers an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree program in Addiction Counseling
- National University offers an Associate of Science (A.S.) degree program in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling
Which Schools Offer Bachelor's Degrees in Addiction Counseling
Southern New Hampshire University's program requires coursework in areas like biopsychology, contemporary issues in addictions, and foundations in addictions. Aspen University's classes include theories in addiction counseling, multicultural counseling theories, and counseling skills.
- Southern New Hampshire University offers an online Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Psychology with a concentration in addiction studies
- Aspen University offers an online Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Psychology and Addiction Counseling
- Grand Canyon University offers a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Counseling with an Emphasis in Addiction, Chemical Dependency and Substance Abuse
Which Schools Offer Master's Degrees in Addiction Counseling
Walden University's program in addiction counseling offers various specializations like Addictions and Public Health, Child and Adolescent Counseling, and Trauma and Crisis Counseling. Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling's program is a 62-credit degree.
- Walden University offers an online Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Addiction Counseling
- Capella University offers an online Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Addiction Studies
- The Lewis and Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling offers a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Professional Mental Health Counseling - Specialization in Addictions
Are There Certificate Programs Available?
If you already hold a master's degree, you may want to consider earning a graduate certificate that focuses on addiction counseling. With a Graduate Certificate in Addiction Counseling, you'll be able to refine your counseling skills and complete training at addiction treatment centers. Graduate certificate and degree programs in addiction counseling are sometimes offered online, but because of internship requirements, you will be required to travel to healthcare facilities.
Which Schools Offer Graduate Certificates in Addiction Counseling
The program offered from the University of South Dakota is a 15-credit graduate certificate. Topics in the University of Florida's graduate certificate program include the basic science of addiction, the evaluation and treatment of substance abuse, and how treatment programs can be financed.
- The University of South Dakota offers an Online Graduate Certificate in Addiction Studies program
- The University of Florida offers an online Graduate Certificate in Addiction and Recovery program
- Saint Mary's University of Minnesota offers a Graduate Certificate in Addiction Studies program
What About Licensure and Certification?
While it depends on where you want to practice, nearly every state in the U.S. requires addiction counselors to hold some form of certification, and you'll need to pass an examination and have professional experience to qualify. For example, in Pennsylvania, you'll need a bachelor's degree and two years of experience to qualify for certification. In most states, you'll need a master's degree to obtain licensure. The National Board for Certified Counselors and Affiliates, Inc. offers two certifications you could pursue, including the National Certified Counselor (NCC) and Master Addictions Counselor (MAC) credentials.
Those interested in substance abuse counseling can choose from graduate certificates, associate's, bachelor's, and master's degrees, depending on one's career goals. These programs can also help prepare for licensure, as most states require counselors to pass licensing exams in order to practice.