Substance Abuse Counseling Degree Programs

For individuals seeking a career that fulfills their need to be a integral piece of society, counseling is a field to look into. There are different areas of counseling that can make a profound difference in the lives of individuals.

There is one field, in particular, that goes beyond the call of duty. Substance abuse counselors help those suffering from addiction change their lives so that they can beat the disease that inhibits their ability to be proactive members of society.

Consider a Featured Online Counseling Program

School and Program Information Online Program? Entry Requirements Course Information
Northwestern University
Online MA in Counseling
CACREP Accredited Programs CACREP Accredited
check_circle Online GRE Scores Not Required 24 Courses (standard program for those with counseling experience) or 27 courses (bridge program, for those with no counseling experience)
New York University
Online Master of Arts in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness
MPCAC Accredited Programs MPCAC Accredited
check_circle Online GRE scores are not required for admission. Weekly live classes taught by distinguished NYU Steinhardt faculty.
University of Denver
Online MA in School Counseling
CACREP Accredited Programs Designed to adhere to CACREP standards
check_circle Online No GRE required. Learn from doctoral-level faculty in live classes and gain experience through mock counseling and in-field training.
Vanderbilt University
Online Master's with School Counseling Specialization
SACSCOC Accredited
check_circle Online Bachelor's Required Live, online classes every week led by Vanderbilt faculty
University of Southern California
Online Master of Education (ME) in School Counseling
Can be completed in less than 2 years.
check_circle Online No GRE requirement Classes led by USC Rossier faculty who are experts in school counseling, educational leadership and family therapy.

info For detailed degree information, view the guides to:
Online CACREP Accredited programs | Online MPCAC Accredited programs

Substance Abuse Counseling Degrees

These counselors work one on one with people suffering from addiction in an attempt to guide them to a better lifestyle.

These professionals can be found in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, or even community outreach centers. As a substance abuse counselor, individuals will find that they work that they do contributes to a better society overall.

Undergraduate Substance Abuse Counseling Degrees

Educationally, a licensed substance abuse counselor must first obtain a bachelor's degree from an accredited university. These degrees can typically be obtained in 4 years. As a side note, a graduate degree, master's or doctoral, must be obtained before applying for a license to practice.

An interesting fact about substance abuse counseling is that some jobs can be obtained at only an associate degree level. Counselors at this level would only provide minimal support to those in need, but would be a priceless asset to those seeking freedom from addiction.

Beginning at the undergraduate level, these students will be introduced to psychology in both scientific and social aspects. Touching on courses such as abnormal psychology, addiction psychology, and social psychology will prepare undergraduate learners for the graduate curriculum that lies ahead.

It is important that future students choose a degree program that is related to their graduate degree program, so that there is maximum exposure to the psychological and social aspects that go into studying substance abuse counseling.

Graduate Level Substance Abuse Counseling Degrees

In all states, those that desire to become licensed substance abuse counselors must first graduate with a graduate level degree from an accredited university.

Length of Graduate Counseling Programs
A Master's degree in Substance Abuse Counseling can be completed in 2-3 years, depending on a student's rate of study. A doctoral degree takes 4-5 years to complete.

For graduate learners, the curriculum is much more major-oriented, introducing students to the different therapeutic aspects of substance abuse counseling in classroom and laboratory settings. The experience gained through graduate studies and supervised practicum provides future professionals with real-world practice in the field.

The Research Project
As a requirement of most licensure programs, students must take part in a certain number of practicum hours, most of the time being 300 hours or more.

At the end of the graduate program, students are required to submit a research project for their master's degree. This project carries heavy weight in the program and tests the abilities of graduates in counseling techniques.

Most professionals choose to stop at the master's degree level, since this is the minimum requirement for each state for licensure.

Gathering Professional Counseling Experience

After completing the appropriate graduate degree program, graduates will continue on to supervised work experience. Students must locate a willing observer through college resources, state departments, or private referral.

These observers will report supervised hours to the state department in order to count towards an individual’s 2 years of on the job training. Once this is completed, applicants are administered a state board exam in their field.

Only when all of the preceding components are complete will a graduate be eligible to be licensed to practice in their state. After licensure, there are continuing educational requirements and license renewal requirements that professionals must keep in mind throughout their career.

What Does a Substance Abuse Counselor Do?

Working as a substance abuse counselor is one of the most rewarding positions available. Watching as individuals grow from struggling addicts to prosperous and productive citizens can provide a great sense of pride within professionals.

Drug and Alcohol Counseling

Drug and alcohol abuse are some of the leading problems in the United States. The more substance abuse counselors that are available to treat people and keep people informed of the dangers of these addictions, the better.

As a substance abuse counselor in the United States, professionals can estimate their earnings to be about $41,870. These wages allow for financial stability in counselors working in this field. The job outlook for this profession is excellent.

Youth Prevention Programs

Substance abuse counselors provide a helping hand in several different settings. In educational settings, these counselors provide important information to the youth.

These programs are designed to help children stay away from a life of addiction. This informative process is an attempt to lower the number of recorded substance abusers per year in the United States.

Rehabilitation Settings

In rehabilitation settings, substance abuse counselors assist addicts with resources to help them gain control over their lives. They are given the tools and techniques to help those suffering from addiction beat the disease in which they suffer.

Regardless of which sub-field is chosen, the work done plays a large role in the betterment of society as a whole.

There are 231 different substance abuse counseling degree programs in our directory, with the Associate’s and Bachelor’s degrees being the most widely offered across the United States.

Counseling Degrees by State

List of Substance Abuse Counseling Programs

Concordia University

Bachelor of Arts in Psychology
HLC Accredited

University of West Alabama

Online Bachelor of Psychology
SACSCC Accredited

University of West Alabama

Online Counseling and Psychology Degrees
SACSCC Accredited

NYU Steinhardt

Online MA in Counseling and Guidance
MPCAC Accredited

Regis College

MS in Applied Behavior Analysis
NECHE Accredited

Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College

Online Master’s with School Counseling Specialization
SACSCOC Accredited

NYU Steinhardt

Online MA in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness
MPCAC Accredited

St. Joseph's University

Online Behavior Analysis Degrees and Certificates
MSCHE Accredited
Counseling Career Guide

Still Looking for a Counseling Degree?

Here are some of the most popular online counseling programs. On each page you will find a detailed writeup of the program, specific courses, and schools that offer that program that are currently accepting applicants.