Online Associate's Degree Programs in Counseling

Associate's degrees in counseling prepare students to work in a variety of mental health care settings, often specifically to treat substance abuse. Get program information about online associate's degrees in counseling. Learn about topics covered and common licensure and certification requirements. Schools offering Mental Health Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Will I Learn in an Online Counseling Degree Program?

You'll be expected to take some general education courses like introductory psychology or biology. You'll learn how to assess clients, design treatment plans and intervene in crisis situations. Some of the topics you'll study may include adolescents and dependency, AIDS risk intervention, counseling ethics and laws, human development, group counseling, addictive behavior and pharmacology. Even though you can complete most of your coursework online, you'll still be required to complete a field internship with a community outreach or healthcare agency.

Common Course Topics Designing treatment plans, pharmacology, addictive behavior, introductory psychology, field internship at a health care facility
Online Availability Fully available online; credits are often transferable to four-year programs; requires internet access and personal computer
Certification State requirements vary, however national certification is available through the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors and the National Board for Certified Counselors; qualifications vary for each level/specialized area of certifications offered by these organizations

Can I Earn an Associate's Degree in Counseling Online?

Some community colleges and universities offer online associate's degrees in counseling that focus on addiction or chemical dependency counseling. An associate's program will prepare you for licensure as an addiction counselor. You may also transfer credits from your associate's program into a bachelor's program in addiction counseling or a related field.

You'll use an online learning platform like Angel or Blackboard to take your courses. Course content is usually delivered through streaming video lectures, assignments and tests. You may participate in online discussion threads with other students who are enrolled in the same courses as you.

How Do I Become Certified?

Each state has different licensure requirements for substance abuse or addiction counselors. You should check with your state's regulatory board for additional details. National certification options are available through the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) and the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).

The NAADAC offers the National Certified Addictions Counselor Level I (NCAC) as well as the Tobacco Addiction Specialist (TAS) credential. To sit for the NCAC exam, you'll need a substance abuse counselor state license and at least 6,000 hours of experience as a substance abuse counselor. Qualifications for the TAS exam include a state license in a helping profession - like counseling or nursing - and 85 hours of nicotine dependence training.

The NBCC offers a Master Addictions Counselor (MAC) credential examination which covers addiction counseling practices, assessment techniques, prevention counseling and treatment processes. You will need a master's degree and at least three years of experience as an addiction counselor to apply for this former exam.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • Keiser University

    Keiser University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Keiser University:

    • Associate Programs

    Online Programs Available

  • Jefferson Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • New York: Watertown
  • Illinois Central College

    Campus Locations:

    • Illinois: East Peoria
  • Community College of Rhode Island

    Campus Locations:

    • Rhode Island: Warwick
  • Community College of Denver

    Campus Locations:

    • Colorado: Denver
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford
  • Harvard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Massachusetts: Cambridge
  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • Mt Hood Community College

    Campus Locations:

    • Oregon: Gresham
  • Duke University

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Durham