Sacramento Online Substance Abuse Counselor Graduate Programs & Schools

Potential Benefits of Online Substance Abuse Counselor Graduate Programs

Pursuing Online Substance Abuse Counselor Graduate Programs just might be perfect for busy, working students preparing for their next career move. Plus, you could develop important skills and knowledge to potentially help patients struggling with addiction, and make a difference in their (and their families’) lives. In your online substance abuse counseling degree program, you may gain insight into the challenges of addiction recovery, plus explore techniques to support individuals and families as they battle with substance abuse.

Ready to get started? Below, you’ll find helpful info on the ins and outs of online substance abuse graduate programs, plus sponsored listings for programs that may suit your goals. Let’s dive in.

Why Earn a Graduate Addiction Counseling Degree Online? [i]

Depending on your career goals, you may be required to pursue at least a masters in addiction counseling or a related degree program. Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors who wish to work in a private practice must earn state licensure. Requirements for licensure include:

  • Earning a masters in substance abuse counseling or a related degree
  • Completing 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience
  • Passing an exam issued by your state
  • Completing ongoing education each year
  • Other possible requirements, which vary by state

Even if you don’t plan to work in a private practice, you may still wish to pursue a graduate addiction counseling degree online. Counselors with more education may have the freedom to offer additional services to patients, like private counseling. They may also be able to work under less supervision and better serve their patients with enhanced skills and techniques. In fact, 30% of counselors earn a masters degree, and another 19% earn a professional degree[i]. Well over half of mental health and substance abuse social workers earn a masters degree, as well. [iii] Why not join them?

Potential Benefits of Online Learning

Once you’ve decided to pursue a graduate addiction counseling degree, you’ll still need to decide on the program’s format. Earning a substance abuse counselor degree online may have a few potential benefits:

  • Flexibility. If you’re already working in the counseling field or another professional area while pursuing your substance abuse counselor degree, online learning just might be perfect. You could potentially pursue some or all of your studies at the time of day that works best for you! (Hint: online programs may be great for busy parents, too!) 
  • Accessibility. Don’t live close to a college or university that offers substance abuse graduate programs? Online learning can potentially close the distance! Of course, you’ll have to make sure you are able to participate in any potential counseling practicums or internships, but choosing to pursue some or all of your courses online may save you a lot of commuting time or even a move.
  • Community. Just because you choose to pursue a substance abuse counselor degree online doesn’t mean you can’t also feel like part of a larger community! Online programs may offer potential professional development opportunities like counseling clinics or community service. Plus, online students could engage in group projects, partner work, and many other opportunities for interaction. * That may be good news for those hoping to practice the speaking, listening, and interpersonal skills required for a counseling career track. 

Types of Online Substance Abuse Counseling Graduate Programs

Online masters in addiction counseling – You may encounter several types of masters degree programs with a focus on addiction counseling, from an M.S. in Counseling - Addictions to a Master of Arts in Human Services – Addictions and Recovery. While each type of program may cover slightly different curriculum and areas of focus, they may also have overlapping subjects and goals. Here’s just a sampling of potential courses you could pursue in an online substance abuse counseling degree at the masters level:

  • Group counseling
  • Addiction recovery
  • Psychopathology
  • Counseling addicted families
  • Biological aspects of addiction
  • Interpersonal communication

Browse our directory of online masters in addiction counseling programs to learn more about your potential options.

Online Graduate certificate in substance abuse counseling – Another potential alternative is to pursue a non-degree certificate program. While pursuing substance abuse counselor certification online won’t automatically earn you a license, it may be a step toward pursuing or maintaining this credential. Some certificate programs may be specifically designed to offer the coursework required by your state; so, it’s a good thing to be familiar with your state’s counselor licensing criteria! If you’re new to the area of addiction counseling, the shorter graduate certificate format may be the perfect opportunity to get your feet wet and explore your interests.

A few courses you could pursue are:

  • Chemical dependency counseling
  • Alcohol and drug studies
  • Addiction counseling theories
  • Clinical supervision of addiction services
  • Co-occurring disorders
  • And more!

Check out individual graduate certificate in substance abuse counseling programs to learn more.

Online doctorate degree in counseling, social work, or a related area – While not an official requirement for pursuing a counseling career pathi, earning an online doctorate degree in counseling may be a goal worth considering. Pursuing an online doctorate in counseling may be an opportunity for intensive study of addictive behaviors and treatments. You could also conduct and analyze research related to substance abuse, co-occurring behaviors, and more. And if you hope to teach substance abuse counseling at the college level, earning a PhD or other doctoral degree may be in order. 65% of social work professors said earning a doctorate was required for their current role[iv], as did 38% of psychology professors.[v]

There could be various types of doctorate programs worth considering, depending on your goals. For instance, you may be interested in earning a PhD in Psychology – Addictions or a D.S.W. (Doctor of Social Work) with a focus on addictions. Explore some of your potential options here.

Find Online Substance Abuse Counselor Graduate Programs

It’s time to check out online substance abuse graduate programs that could suit your goals! Below, you’ll find sponsored listings for online programs that may interest you. You can also use the menu to filter by degree level: masters in substance abuse counseling, doctorate program, or certificate. See a program that appeals to you? Click the link to learn more or contact the school directly. Before long, you could be on the path to making a positive difference in the lives of those struggling from substance abuse and addiction. Congratulations on taking this first important step!


Sources: [i] | [ii] | [iii] | [iv] | [v]

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