Master's Programs in Substance Abuse Counseling

Check the prerequisites for enrollment in a master's-level substance abuse counseling degree program. Explore the typical coursework, and find out if this field of study is available online. Get employment outlook and salary info for substance abuse counselors. Schools offering Addiction Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Are There Any Prerequisites for a Master's Degree in Substance Abuse Counseling?

Master's degrees in substance abuse counseling are designed to prepare graduates to work in a number of healthcare settings with patients who are dealing with different addictions through both coursework and experiential learning. Substance abuse concentrations are also available in some psychology, counseling and rehabilitation master's degree programs.

Admission requirements generally consist of having a bachelor's degree, strong Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores and a statement of purpose.

Prerequisites Bachelor's degree, personal statement, GRE scores
Common Courses Psychophysiology, research methods, pharmacology, counseling theories, addiction types
Learning Environments Traditional classroom and distance learning degree options are available
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 22%* (for all substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Are Required?

Courses in a master's degree in substance abuse counseling prepare you to work with both individuals and groups as a counselor. Topics cover counseling theories, professional and ethical issues, types of addictions and related disorders, and psychophysiology. In addition to coursework, you will also complete a practicum in counseling. Some of the courses you can expect to find in this type of degree include:

  • Research methods
  • Group counseling
  • Addictive behaviors
  • Multicultural counseling
  • Pharmacology

Are Programs Available Online?

Online master's degrees in counseling and rehabilitation counseling can be found online from a few schools. Graduate certificates in substance abuse counseling are also offered online for licensed counselors.

Some online counseling programs still require you to complete either an internship or practicum, which can be done at an agreed upon location in your area. As an online student, you will also need to meet your school's technical requirements, in addition to having reliable access to a computer with an Internet connection.

What Can I Do with My Degree?

With an increased awareness of addiction and more people seeking treatment, job growth for substance abuse counselors is expected to grow quickly. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects a 22% increase in job growth between 2014 and 2024 ( As of January 2016, salaries for substance abuse counselors ranged from $26,848 to $48,930, according to

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:

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