Best Online Master’s in Addiction and Recovery 2021
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As recovery and rehabilitation facilities become more established and indispensable, the demand for addiction and recovery professionals is increasing.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that positions for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors will grow 23% between 2016 and 2026.
Various job opportunities exist for students earning a master’s in addiction counseling online. Moreover, professionals with this degree are generally placed into higher pay brackets than individuals with a bachelor’s degree alone.
The Best Online Master's in Addiction & Recovery Programs
A public university founded in 1838, VCU offers an online master of science in addiction studies through an international partnership with King's College of London and the University of Adelaide.
Learners complete both taught courses and research-based courses. Required courses include public health issues and approaches to addiction, addiction policy, biological basis of addiction, and treatment of addiction and psychotherapies.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree to qualify for admission. Students outside the United States need a 2A honors degree or a bachelor's with five years of work experience to apply.
A public research facility founded in 1801, USD offers an online master of arts in addiction counseling and prevention. Students may complete the 45-credit general track or a 33-credit advanced track depending on credentials.
Required courses include advanced legal and ethical issues in the addiction profession, addiction studies research, history and culture of addiction, and public policy and addiction. Students can take approved electives to specialize their studies, including rural telehealth and gambling and process addiction.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 for unconditional admission. Students with a background in addictions may petition for the advanced track.
A private Christian university founded in 1971, Liberty offers an online master of arts in addiction counseling. Students complete 48 credits in a convenient eight-week format.
Students explore addiction counseling through the lens of the Christian faith. Course topics include the biological aspects of addiction and recovery; treatment and the recovery process; and acute stress, grief, and trauma.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission.
A public university founded in 1969, GSU offers an online master of health science in addiction studies. Students complete 32 credits in a convenient online format.
Required courses include substance abuse prevention, theoretical models for counseling and addiction-related issues, psychopathology and coexisting disorders, and substance abuse counseling. Students may also pursue a concentration in counseling.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a 2.5 GPA, six credits in behavioral studies, six credits in biological studies, and a statistics course to qualify for admission.
A private college founded in 1879, Union offers an online master of science in substance abuse counseling. Students complete 60 credits without needing to come to campus.
Required courses include theories of counseling and psychotherapy, advanced developmental psychology, quantitative and qualitative research methods, and advanced behavioral neuroscience. The program also includes substance abuse core coursework, such as foundations of chemical dependency treatment and biological systems of chemical dependency, and a final internship.
Applicants need a bachelor's degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 to qualify for admission. Students with an undergraduate degree from Union may waive the school's GRE requirement.
Online Master's in Addiction & Recovery Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
Here at TheBestSchools.org, we take the trust and welfare of our readers very seriously. When making our school and program rankings, our top priority is ensuring that our readers get accurate, unbiased information that can help them make informed decisions about online education. That's why we've developed a rigorous ranking methodology that keeps the needs of our readers front and center.
Our proprietary, multi-criteria ranking algorithm analyzes key data indicators — as collected by the federal government — for each school or program. What data we use depends on the focus of each specific ranking, but in all cases, our ranking methodology is impartial: Schools cannot buy better rankings at TBS.
While specific criteria under consideration can vary by ranking, there are a few data points that we value most highly. They are affordability, academic quality, and online enrollment. Below, we break down our algorithm to help you understand what you're getting when you use one of our rankings.
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Breakdown of Our Rankings Methodology
About Our Ranking Factors
Here at TBS, we value what you value: quality education, affordability, and the accessibility of online education. These factors guide all of our program rankings.
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Featured Online Master's in Addiction & Recovery Programs
Choosing a Program
A master’s degree in addiction counseling varies among institutions, but most schools require similar coursework and projects. Common core courses are substance abuse counseling, biology of addiction, and techniques in counseling. In addition to coursework, some programs require thesis projects, internships, and capstones, each of which allows students to showcase what they have learned throughout their program.
Students who graduate with their master’s in addiction and recovery are often able to enter successful careers as rehabilitation counselors, substance abuse counselors, and clinical case managers.
What Else Can I Expect From an Online Master’s in Addiction and Recovery Program?
Several universities offer online master’s in addiction and recovery programs, teaching students about addiction, treatment, recovery, and how each affects the human brain and body. Again, while programs across the nation differ, they all equip students with in–depth skills in their area of interest.
The Curriculum for an Online Master’s Degree in Addiction and Recovery
- Treatment and the Recovery Process : This course teaches students how to examine treatment models of recovery, addiction, and relapse. Among the topics considered are how to develop treatment plans, how to research treatment outcomes, and how to understand the culture of recovery and addiction. For practical experience, this course combines research and hands–on activities.
- Stress, Grief, and Trauma : This course considers patients who have been impacted by acute stress, grief, trauma, and loss. Students learn about anxiety and depression and the different ways to treat patients who suffer from mental imbalances, survivor guilt, crisis, and trauma. They also study human stress responses to gain an understanding of how patients are impacted.
- Biology of Addiction and Recovery: This course examines addictive behaviors and substance abuse and how both affect the brain and human body. Students delve into brain anatomy to learn about biological aspects of addiction. They also investigate treatments for patients struggling with substance abuse and discern how those medicines impact the brain.
Certifications and Licenses a Master’s in Addiction and Recovery Prepares For
Accreditation for Online Master’s in Addiction and Recovery Degrees
There are two types of accreditation for institutions of higher education: regional and national. Regionally, accredited schools are typically schools that grant degrees, while nationally accredited schools give certificates or function as trade schools. Regionally, accredited institutions are more widely accepted than nationally accredited ones, largely due to the fact that credits from regionally accredited programs are easily transferable while credits from nationally accredited programs are not.
Prospective students may look up accrediting agencies on the Council for Higher Education Accreditation’s website, but most programs will cite their accrediting agency on their own websites. Keep in mind that some employers are unable to accept applicants who did not graduate from a regionally accredited institution, so it is important for students to research this information before choosing a program.
Online Master’s in Addiction and Recovery Careers
Individuals who have earned their master’s in addiction counseling online have a variety of career opportunities available to them in a field with a steady growth rate. As indicated below, most careers are focused on providing advice, treatment, and care to individuals suffering from different types of disorders and addictions.
Substance abuse counselors provide advice and guidance to individuals who suffer from alcoholism, eating disorders, drug addiction, and behavioral problems. They recommend and provide treatment to help patients overcome addiction and mental issues. Substance abuse counselors often work in private practices, community health centers, and prisons.
Rehabilitation counselors care for and guide individuals with mental, physical, emotional, or developmental disabilities. They help patients learn how to live independently and overcome negative impacts of living with their disability. Rehabilitation counselors work in rehabilitation centers, youth guidance organizations, and senior centers.
Social workers help patients cope with everyday problems, and they diagnose and provide treatment for individuals who suffer from emotional, mental, and behavioral issues. Social workers work in mental health clinics, settlement houses, human service agencies, hospitals, and private practices.
Professional Organizations for Addiction and Recovery
Professional organizations are valuable to individuals in the addiction and recovery field for networking, sharing ideas, and further developing their careers.
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