Best Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling
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Masters in Addiction Counseling
Addiction and substance abuse counselors use their expertise to help those in need. Certified substance abuse counselors typically hold a bachelor's degree in substance abuse counseling and work with people living with drug and alcohol abuse challenges. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the the field will grow 22% from 2018-2028.
If this seems like the right job for you, a master's in substance abuse counseling can help you take the next step in your career. For those interested in studying this subject online, there are plenty of online programs in the field. Read on for our list of the best online master's in substance abuse counseling programs in the United States.
Featured Online Master's in Substance Abuse Counseling Programs
The Best Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling Programs
Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling Programs Ranking Guidelines
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What Is an Online Master's in Substance Abuse Counseling Degree?
Online master's in substance abuse counseling programs are tailored to counseling students interested in helping people who are living with drug and alcohol abuse challenges. To prepare for this area of counseling, learners develop skills in cultural sensitivity, critical thinking, and substance abuse counseling ethics. Aspiring counselors learn to design and conduct treatment plans to help patients overcome drug and alcohol abuse challenges.
Many substance abuse roles only require a bachelor's degree, but students who earn a master's can specialize and seek more advanced roles. This degree also attracts established counselors looking to bolster their credentials or switch specialties.
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Choosing an Online Program
When shopping for a program that suits your unique goals and needs, consider enrollment options, curriculum requirements, and how each program aligns with relevant certifications. You can find tips about choosing an online master's in substance abuse counseling at the link below.
What Else Can I Expect From a Master's in Substance Abuse Counseling Program?
A master's in substance abuse counseling prepares you for licensed counselor work and an addiction counselor's specialized responsibilities. Coursework for this degree typically covers addiction in diverse populations, addictive family counseling, and legal and ethical issues. Some degree tracks may award you a certificate in substance abuse counseling upon graduation.
Substance Abuse Counseling Curriculum
- Legal and Ethical Issues in Addiction Treatment: This course covers the laws and regulations that govern substance abuse counseling, such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, especially as they relate to confidentiality, informed consent, and mandated protection. The course also covers ethics issues, such as responsibility to the client, value conflicts, and counselor-client relationships.
- Substance Abuse and Addiction in Diverse Populations: This course explores how multicultural and socioeconomic issues influence treatment approaches for drug use and abuse among diverse populations. Students leave the course with cultural sensitivity skills they can use to create effective, individualized treatment plans in multicultural settings.
- Addictive Family Systems: In this course, learners investigate traditional and contemporary theories of family counseling as they relate to the treatment of addictive families. Students receive a better understanding of the dynamic roles that family members play in the cycle of addiction and examine appropriate practices for intervention and treatment.
Certificates and Licenses
Becoming an independent counselor in most specializations begins with pursuing licensure. Once licensed, you can start the process of earning optional certifications in specialties like addictions or substance abuse counseling.
Private practice substance abuse counselors must be licensed, and the number of required clinical hours for licensure vary by state, ranging from 1,000-6,000 hours. Most states also require substance abuse counselors to pass a state exam for licensure — either the National Counselor Examination (NCE) or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination, administered by the National Board of Certified Counselors.
After licensure, you can then earn optional certifications, such as a master addictions counselor (MAC) certification, or additional certifications from the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals, like nicotine dependence specialist.
State reciprocity generally guarantees that an established professional moving from another state can gain licensure by endorsement, though actual agreements vary by state, and less-established applicants may need to fill in gaps in clinical hours or education requirements.
Substance Abuse Counseling Careers
Earning a master's in substance abuse counseling opens the door to careers helping people overcome addiction challenges and achieve independence. Some graduates transition directly into substance abuse counseling work, while others branch off into other mental health roles, like rehabilitation counseling or social work.
The following list touches on some career choices applicable to substance abuse counseling graduates, though there are many other career options also available.
|Median Annual Salary: $46,240||Projected Job Growth: 22%|
Substance abuse counselors provide treatment for people facing alcohol and drug use challenges. These counselors must have at least bachelor's degrees and must obtain licensure to work in private practice as professional counselors. Many also earn specialized credentials relating to substance abuse counseling, such as MAC certification.
This career path usually appeals to people with strong listening skills, empathy, and willingness to work with underserved populations. Some substance abuse counselors gravitate toward the field because they have personally known people with addiction challenges or faced them personally.
|Median Annual Salary: $50,470||Projected Job Growth: 11%|
Social workers help people with everyday social issues, including facing the effects of drug and alcohol abuse. Some social work roles only require a bachelor's degree, but you usually need at least a master's degree to work in a clinical setting. Not all states explicitly require social workers to hold licensure, but many employers expect it.
Social workers need strong interpersonal skills and an interest in working with low-income populations. A master's in substance abuse counseling might lead you toward working as a clinical social worker who provides individual and group therapy to people with addiction challenges.
|Median Annual Salary: $35,950||Projected Job Growth: 10%|
Rehabilitation counselors help people with mental, developmental, and physical challenges to achieve independence. Like most counselors, a rehabilitation counselor needs a master's degree and must obtain professional counseling licensure to work independently. Certifications can also help counselors specialize in rehabilitation work.
Rehabilitation counselors work with people who have experienced personal setbacks, injuries, disabilities, or medical issues, which can sometimes be related to drug and alcohol abuse. This environment requires workers with patience, empathy, and strong interpersonal skills.
Popular Asked Questions
How Long Does It Take to Complete a Master's in Substance Abuse Counseling Program?
It typically takes two years to complete a master's in substance abuse counseling, depending on part- or full-time enrollment. Some colleges also offer accelerated degree tracks.
What Can I Do With a Master's in Substance Abuse Counseling?
A master's in substance abuse counseling prepares you for general and specialized counseling work and other careers dedicated to helping people who are facing addiction challenges.
How Much Do You Make as a Substance Abuse Counselor?
According to PayScale, the bottom 10th percentile of substance abuse counselors earn an annual salary of $30,000, while those in the 90th percentile take home about $52,000 annually. The median salary is $39,540.
What Is Substance Abuse Counseling?
Substance abuse counseling is a specialized area of counseling devoted to treating, advising, and rehabilitating people living with drug and alcohol abuse challenges. Note that substance abuse counseling is not the same as rehabilitation counseling, which focuses on helping people with injuries or disabilities.
What Is a Master's in Substance Abuse Counseling?
A master's in substance abuse counseling differs from a master's in counseling through its specialized curriculum, which prepares students for certification as addiction and substance abuse specialists.
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