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During an online bachelor's degree in addiction recovery, students learn how to assess addictive behaviors, create treatment plans, provide individual and group counseling, and connect clients with helpful community resources.

Graduates can work in roles such as substance abuse counselor. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects roles for these professionals to grow 22% between 2018 and 2028.

Top 10 Online Bachelor's in Addiction Recovery Programs in 2021
#1 Northwestern State University of Louisiana Natchitoches, LA
#2 University of South Dakota Vermillion, SD
#3 Western New Mexico University Silver City, NM
#4 Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global Marion, IN
#5 Crown College Saint Bonifacius, MN
#6 SUNY Empire State College Saratoga Springs, NY
#7 Alvernia University Reading, PA
#8 Ohio Christian University Circleville, OH

This guide ranks the top online bachelor's in addiction recovery degrees for 2021 to help students find the right programs for their needs.

Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs

  1. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

    Natchitoches, LA



    Founded in 1884, NSU grew from a two-year degree program for teachers to offering graduate and undergraduate degrees across disciplines.

    NSU offers an online bachelor of science in addiction studies for students interested in careers in addiction counseling. The curriculum covers screening and assessment, case management, and counseling skills with an emphasis on addiction recovery.

    To graduate, students must complete 120 credits and earn a grade of "C" or better in all major courses.

  2. University of South Dakota

    Vermillion, SD



    Founded in 1862 as the state's first public university, USD enrolls more than 9,000 students each year through online and on-campus programs.

    USD offers an online bachelor of science in addiction counseling and prevention. Coursework covers the study of alcohol and drug abuse, individual and group counseling, and addictive family systems and counseling. Students choose a six-credit specialization in either the treatment or prevention of substance use and addiction.

    To graduate, students must complete 120 credits, including two practicums and an internship.

  3. Western New Mexico University

    Silver City, NM



    Founding in 1893, WNMU enrolls more than 3,500 students both on-campus and online.

    WNMU offers a fully online bachelor of arts or science in chemical dependency counseling. Coursework covers the addictive process, trauma and addiction, and pharmacology. Students also complete a 300-hour internship to provide hands-on experience in the field.

    Graduates meet educational requirements for licensure as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor in New Mexico. They work as addiction counselors and other professional roles in the prevention, treatment, and research of chemical dependency.

  4. Indiana Wesleyan University-National & Global

    Marion, IN

    Founded in 1920, IWU provides a professional, Christian education to nearly 3,000 students each year.

    IWU offers a bachelor of science in addiction counseling from a Christian perspective. Courses include principles of addictions counseling, psychopharmacology, and counseling addicted and dysfunctional family systems. Coursework takes place largely online, although students must also complete an in-person practicum.

    Students begin major courses after completing 60 credits of general education requirements, which may transfer. Once admitted to the program, students typically complete the program in 22 months.

  5. Crown College

    Saint Bonifacius, MN

    Founded in 1916, Crown offers a biblical education to students in a variety of fields and disciplines.

    Crown's online bachelor of science in alcohol and drug counseling prepares students to work as licensed alcohol and drug counselors in Minnesota and many other states. Courses last eight weeks and cover topics such as abnormal psychology, assessment and treatment planning, and case management for alcohol and drug counseling.

    To graduate and qualify for licensure, students must complete 125 credits, including an approved internship.

  6. SUNY Empire State College

    Saratoga Springs, NY



    Founded in 1971, ESC offers more than 110 online degrees as part of the State University of New York system.

    ESC offers an online bachelor of science in addiction studies that meets the education requirements to become a credentialed alcoholism substance abuse counselor (CASAC) in New York State. Courses include crisis intervention, adolescence and addictions, and advanced substance use counseling.

    Students may take courses in an accelerated eight-week format with up to 93 transferrable credits.

  7. Alvernia University

    Reading, PA

    Founded in 1958 as a Franciscan women's college, today Alvernia serves both men and women while maintaining their Franciscan heritage.

    Alvernia offers an online bachelor of arts in addictions and mental health treatment that meets educational requirements for students to become certified alcohol and drug counselors. Courses last seven weeks and include foundations of chemical dependency, counseling theories, and crisis intervention.

    To graduate, students must also complete 12 credits of field experience.

    Students may transfer up to 75 credits to accelerate their degree completion.

  8. Ohio Christian University

    Circleville, OH

    Founded in 1948 as a bible college, OCU now serves more than 3,000 students across disciplines each year.

    OCU offers a bachelor of arts in substance abuse counseling in a flexible online format. Courses last just five weeks and cover topics like case management, psychopharmacology, and spiritual dimensions of illness and recovery.

    The program satisfies education requirements for licensure in chemical dependency counseling in Ohio, including an exam preparation course. However, students will need to complete the necessary work experience to fulfill all requirements.

Best Online Bachelor's

Online Bachelor's in Addiction Recovery Degree Program Ranking Guidelines

We selected the following degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.

What Is a Substance Abuse Counselor?

Substance abuse counselors provide safe spaces for clients to work through addiction challenges. These professionals typically have a caring, compassionate nature and a thorough understanding of how to effectively treat substance abuse disorders. They may assess new clients, develop treatment plans, offer counseling services, and connect clients with relevant resources.

Substance abuse counselors can work in a variety of settings, such as inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities, hospitals, and government agencies. They typically work with individuals across the lifespan, though some professionals may specialize in a particular age group, such as teenage addiction.

Featured Online Schools

Choosing an Online Addiction Recovery Bachelor's Program

When researching prospective online substance abuse counseling degrees, students should consider several factors, including cost, length, and on-campus requirements. We cover several important considerations for students below.

Program Cost

Public schools typically cost less than private schools, and in-state students often pay lower tuition rates than out-of-state students. However, some programs allow all online students to pay the same tuition rate regardless of residency.

Many schools offer transfer credits for related experiences, such as prior academic work, military training, and professional experience. Schools with generous transfer policies can help students save time and money on a degree.

A school's size and type can affect the learning experience. For example, small schools may offer more individualized attention from faculty than larger schools, but large schools often feature more program and class options.

An online bachelor's degree in addiction recovery typically takes four years of full-time study to complete, but some programs offer accelerated timelines.

Some online programs have on-campus requirements. Students should ensure they can meet these requirements before committing to a program.

Many programs have thesis or internship components, which require a significant time investment. Students should choose a program with requirements aligned with their interests and career goals.

What Is Addiction Recovery?

Addiction Recovery is a large, ever-evolving field devoted to the design and practice of website creation. Because the discipline is so broad, it's common for programs to offer concentrations. These vary by school, but typically include areas like web development, digital design, systems development, and game design and programming.

Addiction Recovery is a large, ever-evolving field devoted to the design and practice of website creation.

Graduates of Addiction Recovery degrees take on myriad roles, with common titles including web developer/designer, multimedia artist, graphic designer, and computer and information systems manager. Given the ubiquity of the world wide web, these jobs exist in every setting imaginable, including large corporations, small nonprofits, and government agencies at the local, state, and federal levels.

Learners who pursue this path typically have a passion for both technology and design alongside a desire to bring both passions together. They also enjoy the prospect of lifelong learning and enjoy staying up-to-date on emerging trends and best practices.

Common challenges to Addiction Recovery careers include competing against other qualified candidates, participating in continuing education opportunities, and meeting client needs. Goals include creating user-friendly, intelligently designed web pages that meet the needs of clients and customers alike.

Addiction Recovery Careers

Graduates with an online bachelor's in substance abuse counseling can pursue role like social worker, rehabilitation counselor, and substance abuse counselor. The following list outlines several common careers for graduates, though readers should note that some careers may require additional education or certification. The Best Schools provides more information on psychology degrees for learners considering this career path.

Social Workers

Social workers provide clinical and non-clinical services to help clients overcome diverse challenges. Social workers with a bachelor's degree can offer non-clinical services, which may include connecting clients with community resources and advocating for client needs. Clinical social workers need a master's degree. These professionals can provide counseling and therapy services. Social workers at both levels need a state license to practice.

Median Annual Salary


Job Outlook (2018-2028)


Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors can work in inpatient and outpatient treatment centers, private practices, hospitals, and government agencies. They may assess client health, develop treatment plans for addictive behaviors, offer counseling services, and connect clients with helpful resources. These professionals typically need a bachelor's degree in addiction recovery or a related field. Counselors in private practice also need a license, and requirements for licensure vary by state.

Median Annual Salary


Job Outlook (2018-2028)


Rehabilitation Counselors

Rehabilitation counselors provide support to individuals with emotional, developmental, mental, and physical disabilities. They may offer individual and group sessions, connect clients with resources, educate family members, and participate in disability rights advocacy initiatives. These professionals typically have a master's degree, and many states require specialized licensure to practice.

Median Annual Salary


Job Outlook (2018-2028)


Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a Substance Abuse Counselor?

Substance abuse counselors are trained professionals who help individuals address substance abuse and addiction issues through counseling and referral services.

What Does It Take to Become an Addiction Counselor?

Addiction counselors need a bachelor's degree at minimum. Counselors in private practice also need state licensure.

What Degree Do You Need to Become a Counselor?

Prospective counselors can pursue degrees in areas like addiction recovery, social work, mental health counseling, and psychology.

Can I Become a Counselor Without a Degree?

Some positions may accept applicants with a high school diploma or associate degree, but most counseling positions require at least a bachelor's degree.

How Much Do Addiction Counselors Make?

Salaries vary by factors like education, experience, and location, but according to the BLS, substance abuse counselors earned a median annual salary of $44,630 in 2018.

How Long Does It Take to Become an Addiction Counselor?

A bachelor's degree in addiction recovery typically takes four years of full-time study to complete, though some programs offer accelerated timelines.

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