The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects jobs for substance abuse counselors to grow 23% by 2026. Several factors contribute to this growth, including the opioid addiction epidemic. In 2016, over 11.5 million people in the country misused opioids, and an average of 116 people overdosed each day, according to the Health and Human Services Administration. As a result, more health insurance companies offer substance abuse treatment in their coverage, necessitating more substance abuse counselors.
For career information, skip down:
- Choosing an Online Doctorate in Addiction and Recovery Program
- What Else Can I Expect From an Online Doctorate in Addiction and Recovery Program?
- Careers with a Doctorate in Addiction and Recovery
Choosing a Doctorate in Addition and Recovery Program
When earning an addiction counseling doctoral degree, students typically take core courses in subjects like pharmacology of substance abuse, theoretical approaches to treatment, and epidemiology. Many programs also require students to complete dissertations, especially research-heavy programs. However, universities that teach students to become licensed practitioners often require residencies instead. While there are several commonalities between programs, each addiction counseling degree is unique, particularly regarding available coursework and specializations.
For example, one school may offer a psychiatry-focused addiction psychology degree, while another gears its coursework toward counseling approaches. The former equips students to become licensed psychiatrists that treat the physical aspects of addiction while graduates from the latter focus more on mental health counseling. Graduates from both programs often work in tandem. Similarly, a learner aiming to use Christianity in counseling should pursue an on-campus or online addiction counseling doctorate degree from a religiously affiliated institution.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Doctorate in Addiction and Recovery Program?
Because particulars vary between substance abuse counseling programs, learners should research each university’s curriculum. Familiarity with common concentrations and the careers they prepare learners for can help students choose a program aligned with their goals.
Concentrations Offered for an Online Doctoral Degree in Addiction and Recovery
While earning an addiction counseling degree online with a concentration in public policy, students study how laws affect people with addiction, the global forces that drive substance abuse, and theories on stopping epidemics. With this knowledge, graduates can shape policy around alcohol, drugs, and tobacco.
A student with a medical background can become a licensed psychiatrist through one of these programs. Degree candidates learn the complex and emerging neuroscience behind addiction and its treatments. Learners must complete psychiatric residencies before earning licensure. After obtaining credentials, graduates can use medicine to treat patients suffering from addiction.
Many people suffering from substance addiction have coexisting mental health problems. A student with a master’s degree in addiction counseling is an excellent fit for this program. Learners further study the psychology of addiction and graduate equipped to help patients manage trauma and disorders.
Curriculum for an Online Doctoral Degree in Addiction and Recovery
Global Approaches to Substance Use Prevention and Treatment:
Substance dependency and its treatment vary across countries. These courses teach students about theories and practices across the world, including benefits and drawbacks of each.
In these courses, learners study the medications that doctors use to treat behavioral disorders, including substance abuse. Lectures explore the physiological responses created by common medications, including side effects.
Quantitative Research Methods in Psychology:
In these courses, degree candidates learn the best practices for psychological research and how to measure outcomes. This course is especially common in programs that require a dissertation or other research project.
Multicultural Issues in Addiction:
Substance abuse affects different populations in various ways. These courses help students understand how cultural differences should inform a patient’s addiction treatment plan.
Addiction Programs for Complex Cases:
Because a doctorate is the terminal degree in substance abuse, graduates from these programs are prepared to treat people with especially complex cases. This course teaches degree candidates how to help such patients.
Careers with a Doctorate in Addiction and Recovery
Students with a doctorate in addiction and recovery have many career options. Those desiring to teach the next generation of counselors and psychiatrists can become postsecondary teachers. Learners who attend psychiatric-focused programs can complete residencies and become psychiatric physicians. Furthermore, degree candidates focused on counseling can become psychologists.
These professionals work in colleges and universities to train emerging psychology professionals, working as professors and dissertation directors. They are often expected to conduct research about treatment plans as well.
- Median Annual Salary: $76,000
- Projected Growth Rate: 15%
These professionals are also called counselors and therapists. They work with patients to develop treatment and addiction recovery plans. Often, they also help their patients identify underlying emotional issues that may be connected to their addiction.
- Median Annual Salary: $77,030
- Projected Growth Rate: 14%
Also called psychiatrists, these professionals identify and prescribe medication to help patients cope with addiction and other mental health disorders. A substance abuse specialization helps these professionals become leading experts in the field.
- Median Annual Salary: $208,000
- Projected Growth Rate: 13%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics