United States Substance Abuse Counseling Graduate Programs
Graduate Substance Abuse Counselor Programs prepare students to help patients struggling with dependency and addiction. This may include evaluating clients, creating and enacting best treatment plans, and supporting families impacted by addiction.
Graduate Substance Abuse Counselor Programs may touch on several different types of dependency, including drug and alcohol use, and explore possible treatments and solutions. Classes may also examine the many top psychological factors impacting substance abuse, and hone the counseling skills and knowledge you may use to help patients in the field.
Programs may be offered at the masters and doctorate levels, both on campus and online.
Types of Substance Abuse Counselor Programs
Addiction counseling, drug abuse, and substance abuse counseling degrees may be available at variety of levels. Each one may carry unique potential benefits and goals. While most programs would cover core topics in counseling and addiction, the specific requirements and coursework may vary. Some may even concentrate on specific types of addiction, or certain substance abuse counseling techniques. Consider your goals, experience and areas of interest to determine which Substance Abuse Counselor programs may be perfect for you.
Masters in Substance Abuse Counseling Programs
Earning Masters Degree in Addiction Counseling could help you to develop a comprehensive understanding of psychological and chemical dependency, as well as different ways to combat it. Programs like this may be an attractive option for those hoping to practice substance abuse counseling in a private practice. That's because a masters degree typically is the minimum requirement for pursuing a state license.i (Check with your state regulating board to learn more about what that entails.) Students may be able to complete a substance abuse masters program in around two years of full time study. However, program length may vary by school.
Masters in Substance Abuse Counseling Programs may also be offered under different names. These include Masters in Addiction Counseling, M.S. in Substance Abuse, or Master of Arts in Human Services – Addictions and Recovery. However, whatever they’re called, each may cover similar coursework. Some courses you might take in a Masters in Substance Abuse Counseling program are listed below.
- Theories of counseling
- Group counseling
- Addiction and recovery
- Clinical diagnosis and treatment planning
- Stress, grief, and trauma
In addition to coursework, to earn a Masters Degree in Substance Abuse Counseling, you may be required to complete one or more counseling internships, or another form of supervised experience. Check with your preferred programs for details. (And keep in mind that to earn a state license, you’ll need to complete between 2,000 and 4,000 hours of supervised practice!)i
Doctorate in Substance Abuse Counseling Programs
Several different types of substance abuse counseling doctoral programs maybe offered. These include options like a PhD in Addiction Studies, a Doctor of Psychology or PsyD in Substance Abuse, or D.S.W. (Doctor of Social Work) in Addictions and Social. A doctoral program may emphasize substance abuse counseling theory and practice, and related research. Practicum and internship elements may also be an important part of some programs.
So what might you study in a doctoral program? Here’s a sampling of potential knowledge areas.
- Ethical and legal issues in counseling
- Research in rehabilitation
- Rehabilitation counseling supervision
Most doctorate in addiction counseling programs require 2-4 years of full time study and may have a dissertation requirement. Additionally, a masters degree may be needed for entry. Programs and schools vary so visit our directory of doctorate degree in substance abuse counseling to learn more and contact schools.
Substance Abuse Counseling Certificate Programs
A graduate certificate in substance abuse counseling may be useful for counselors from other specialties who wish to expand their practices, as well as experienced addiction counselors who want to learn more about a certain topic.
Unlike a Masters in Addiction Counseling degree, this credential is not a graduate degree. However, with a shorter completion time, a graduate certificate may be a great way to explore new knowledge areas or pursue continuing education. You could sample substance abuse counseling coursework or, if you are already engaged in the field, gain new skills and knowledge. Some addiction certificate programs may even count towards continuing education requirements to maintain licensure. Check with you state for details.
Potential courses you could take include the following.
- Social work intervention
- Psychology of drug use
- Addictions rehabilitation
- Tobacco control and prevention
Programs vary. To see what addiction certificate programs may be available to you and learn more, check out our directory and contact schools directly.
How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor
Substance abuse counselors typically must meet minimum educational requirements and hold a state license or certification. However the specific requirements might vary depending on the state where you live, the type of practice you hope to potentially work in, and the type of services you plan to offer.
Drug and alcohol counselors who plan to work in a private practice often need to hold a state license. This typically requires at least a masters in substance abuse counseling or a related area, as well as anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. You may also need to pass an exam and pursue continuing education every year, among other possible requirements. Check with your state’s regulating board for the specifics!i
If you do not plan to work in a private practice, credential requirements may vary. Some may not even have a specific drug and alcohol counseling degree requirements. That said, many may require certification and the passing of an exam to practice.
Employers typically require a bachelors degree for entry level positions. However, counselors with graduate level education may be able to provide a wider range of services to their clients, such as one-on-one counseling.i While the specific figures may vary by position, the average substance abuse counselor salary was $42,150 in 2016. i
Choosing a Graduate Substance Abuse Counseling Program
So, how might you choose from the potential Substance Abuse Graduate programs that could help you prepare for a counseling career path? There are lots of important factors to keep in mind. Here are three big ones.
- Program Accreditationii– Be sure your school is accredited by an organization that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This may be a good indicator of program quality. Plus, it’s necessary to be eligible for federal financial aid.
- Program Format – You may be able to choose from potential programs on campus, online, or in a hybrid (blended) format. One possible benefit of pursuing a Graduate Substance Abuse Counselor Degree online or partly-online is that you could potentially study at the times that work best for you. For busy working students, flexibility may make all the difference! Or if you prefer in person interactions and learning, consider on campus programs. This may allow for more hands on learning and access to extended campus facilities.
- Curriculum and Focus – Be sure to evaluate potential Graduate Substance Abuse Counselor Programs based on your career goals, and what you hope to learn. For example, if you are interested in addiction counseling, perhaps earning an M.S. in Substance Abuse Counseling is the perfect path. If you’d like to explore substance abuse as it pertains to social work, maybe pursuing a D.S.W. (Doctor of Social Work) makes more sense.
Find Substance Abuse Counselor Programs Today
Below, you’ll find some sponsored listings for Graduate Substance Abuse Counselor Programs that may catch your eye! Sort by program level (certificate, masters, or doctorate) and format (campus, online, and hybrid) to customize your list. Then follow the links to learn more and contact schools for more information. Or even start applying to Substance Abuse Counseling Degree Programs today!
Sources: [i] bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm#tab-4 | [ii] studentaid.ed.gov/sa/prepare-for-college/choosing-schools/consider
The Addictions specialization prepares mental health practitioners to develop knowledge and expertise in the area of substance abuse, addictions and addictive behaviors. You will explore the dynamics of substance abuse and dependence including drugs,...
- Chicago, ILChicago, IL
Loyola University Chicago
This program is for those post master's social workers and other health professionals.
University of the Rockies
Provide counseling services and treatment for multiple populations when you earn your Master of Arts in Counseling, Addiction Specialization from University of the Rockies in Denver or online. Study of theoretical and applied psychology and counselin...
Prepare for a career in the counseling profession with Walden University’s M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. Examine a range of topics affecting the counseling field, including assessment, legal and ethical concerns, and intervention. This prog...
Liberty University Online
- Reno, NVReno, NV
University of Nevada, Reno
- Kalamazoo, MIKalamazoo, MI
Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University offers a program for the training of substance abuse specialists through theGraduate Certificate Program in Alcohol and Dr...
- Greensboro, NCGreensboro, NC
North Carolina A&T State University
- Clinton, CTClinton, CT
The mission of the Addiction Counseling Program is to help students acquire core competencies, as well as specialized knowledge...
- Riverdale, CARiverdale, CA
Manhattan College's Counseling Psychology program consists of a school track and substance abuse track. The school track leads to NY certification as a School Counselor and the substance abuse track is approved for the CASAC certification in NY.
Mid-America Christian University
The Master of Science in Counseling emphasis in Addiction and Substance Abuse Counseling is a 45 hour program designed to meet...
- Great Falls, MTGreat Falls, MT
University of Great Falls
Emphases in family services and chemical dependency services.
- Springfield, MASpringfield, MA
Alcohol and substance abuse has been a steadily increasing social problem for some time. Various rehabilitation programs are responding to meet the ne...
- Pine Bluff, ARPine Bluff, AR
University of Arkansas - Pine Bluff
- Orlando, FLOrlando, FL
University of Central Florida
The Graduate Certificate in Addictions provides a unique opportunity for professionals working in governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, and...
- Portland, ORPortland, OR
Lewis & Clark College
The Addictions Counseling program readies students to become fully prepared to work with the realities of dual-diagnosis.
- Center City, MNCenter City, MN
Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies
This program provides you with a strong foundation in addiction treatment, with advanced course work in mental health counseling.
- Center City, MN
Nova Southeastern University
The master’s degree in Counseling with a Substance Abuse Counseling and Education concentration (60 credit hours) is an innovative academic program designed for the working professional actively involved in or entering the field of Substance Abuse Coun..
University of California - Santa Cruz
This clinical training program is designed for alcohol and drug treatment professionals, Alcohol and Drug Studies Certificate holders who want special...
- Lakewood, NJLakewood, NJ
Georgian Court University
This post baccalaureate program is designed to meet the New Jersey State requirements for Substance Awareness Coordinator (SAC) Certification and Lice...
- Greenville, NCGreenville, NC
East Carolina University
The MS in Clinical Counseling with an emphasis in Addictions at ECU prepares qualified clinical mental health and addictions counseling professionals who are eligible for licensure as a LPC or LCAS.