Substance Abuse Counseling Degrees Overview

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Substance abuse counseling degrees teach you how to help people by treating and curing addictions to alcohol, drugs, and other things. There’s a good chance you know someone who has faced substance addiction. If you have, then you know that not only the addicts struggle with the addiction, but those around them do as well.

Substance abuse counselors often work with other specialists to make treatment plans tailored to the needs of individuals. More judges have begun using mandatory counseling in lieu of jail time for drug users, thereby increasing demand for substance abuse counselors.

Requirements vary from state to state. Those interested in pursuing any type of counseling career should check with their state board for certification and licensing details.

Best Online Programs for Substance Abuse Counseling

Assumption College

Online BA in Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies and MA in Rehabilitation Counseling


Brescia University

Online AA in Human Services and BA in Psychology


Capella University

Online MS in General Addiction Counseling and Ph.D. in Addiction Psychology


Colorado Christian University

Online MA in Counseling


Grand Canyon University

BS in Counseling and MS in Addiction Counseling


Indiana Wesleyan University

Online BS in Addictions Counseling and Online MA in Addictions Counseling


Liberty University

Online BS, MA, and Ph.D. Counseling programs


Niagara County Community College

AA in Human Services


Northwestern State University

Online BS in Psychology, Substance Abuse Counselor Concentration


Ohio Christian University

Online BA in Counseling, Substance Abuse

Purdue University Global

Online BS and MS in Psychology in Addictions

Rasmussen College

Online AAS in Human Services


Thomas University

Online MS in Rehabilitation Counseling


University of North Texas

Online BAAS Degree Completion and MS in Rehabilitation Counseling


University of Cincinnati

Online BS in Substance Abuse Counseling

University of Massachusetts

BA in Applied Psychology and MS in Rehabilitation Counseling


Walden University

Online MS in Addiction and Ph.D. in Psychology, Counseling


Job outlook for substance abuse counseling degree graduates:

Associate
(Human Services Assistants)
Bachelor’s
(Substance Abuse Counselors)
Master’s
(Mental Health Counselors)
PhD
(Clinical / Counseling Psychologists)
Pay range, 2012: $19K–$46K $25K–$60k $25K–$67k $38K–$110k
Median pay, 2012: $28,800 $38,500 $41,500 $69,280
U.S. jobs in 2012: 372,700 89,600 166,300 160,200
Job growth forecast 2012–22: 22% 31% 29% 12%
Projected U.S. jobs, 2022: 454,701 117,375 214,527 179,424

Job opportunities for substance abuse counseling degree graduates:

Associate Bachelor’s Master’s PhD
Case Manager Aide Case Manager Substance Abuse Clinician Substance Abuse Therapist
Counselor Assistant Alcohol & Drug Counselor Addictions Counselor Clinical Director
Mental Health Technician Addictions Counselor Clinical Coordinator Behavior Specialist

Master List

25 programs at 18 schools arranged alphabetically. Consult our Cost Index ($$+) to compare prices.

Click any name for details  Associate   Bachelor’s   Master’s   Doctorate   Request FREE Information 
Assumption College   $+ $+    
Brescia University $$ $$      
Capella University     $+ $$ FREE info!
Colorado Christian U     $$    
Grand Canyon U   $$ $$+   FREE info!
Indiana Wesleyan U   $$ $$    
Liberty University   $+ $+ $$ FREE info!
Niagara County CC $ / $+        
Northwestern State   $+      
Ohio Christian U   $$      
Purdue University Global   $$ $$    
Rasmussen College $+       FREE info!
Thomas University     $$    
U of North Texas   $$ $$    
U of Cincinnati   $$      
UMass   $$ $$    
Walden University     $$ $$ FREE info!

The associate substance abuse counseling degrees:

Due to the varying state regulations for counseling with less than bachelor’s degree, it may be wise to consider associate degrees in Human Service. These will help you get started on a good path whether you desire going straight to work, pursuing a bachelor’s degree, or both.

An AA or AS (Associate of Art, or Science) is best used as a foundation for a bachelor’s degree. If your desire is to get into a field without pursuing a 4-year degree, an AAS (Associate of Applied Science) can deliver the skills you need.

The bachelor’s degrees in substance abuse counseling:

Psychology and substance abuse counseling programs cover topics including, but not limited to: addictions, psychiatric disabilities, co-occurring disorders, abnormal psychology, human development and cognition, marriage and family issues, and more. With such broad-reaching education, a BA (Bachelor of Arts) or BS (Bachelor of Science) focusing on substance abuse counseling can lead to a variety of rewarding career options.

Becoming a counselor frequently requires certification and/or licensure, but these requirements vary from state to state. Check with your state board of licensure to determine certification and licensing requirements. In some states, a bachelor’s degree will not meet certification and licensure standards, but it is a necessary step towards graduate work.

Many substance abuse degree programs provide training and testing for certification and licensure. Most programs require internships. Internships can often be coordinated with your school and agencies in your location.

A Bachelor’s in Substance Abuse Counseling can also be earned online, through many program options. These online schools for drug and alcohol counseling can be a good alternative for busy professionals who don’t have the time to commit to a full-time, on-campus program.

The master’s degrees in substance abuse counseling:

Many states require a master’s degree in psychology or a related field for substance abuse counseling. Graduate degrees are virtually a must for any management or education-oriented positions. Graduate training also allows you to further specialize your training, or provides opportunity to branch out and explore other areas of counseling and psychology.

In addition to learning the latest detection methods and treatments for individuals suffering from addiction, graduate students will learn to develop family therapy techniques. A master’s degree can lead to career advancement, a step toward a doctoral degree, and eventual licensure as a clinical psychologist. A master’s degree in this field can put you on the fast track to employment in what is one of the most rapidly growing fields in psychology.

The doctoral degrees in substance abuse counseling:

Doctoral degrees in substance abuse counseling are typically Ph.D.s in Psychology or PsyDs (Doctors of Psychology), but there are also Ph.D.s in Addiction Psychology specifically, or Counseling more broadly. Some states do require a doctoral degree in order to sit for licensure or certification exams. A Ph.D. in Psychology focusing on substance abuse will prepare students for clinical work as well as a university or college teaching career.

Salary, number of jobs, and employment growth provided by: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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