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The Top 9 Low-Cost Online Master’s Degrees in Addiction Counseling

Best Counseling Degrees - Top Online Programs-01

By BCD Staff
August 2018

The accredited online programs listed here will allow students interested in careers in the field of substance abuse and addictions counseling to gain the educational experience necessary to work towards professional licensure following graduation. These programs will provide students with a solid understanding of the issues facing individuals, couples, and families struggling with the disease of addiction. Graduates will be prepared to provide effective assessment, diagnosis, and treatment to clients battling addiction.

Methodology: This ranking was by compiled by gathering a list of schools from the Institute of Education Sciences' College Navigator that offer graduate degrees in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling online. Each school's programs were searched to confirm that they did offer a counseling degree with an addiction counseling focus in an online format. Schools were then sorted by affordability, ranking from high to low based on the cost per credit hour as listed on the schools' websites.

This ranking is part of our series on Online Degrees in Substance Abuse and Addictions Counseling.

#9 Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies

Center City, MN

Online Masters in Addiction Studies: Integrated Recovery for Co-Occurring Disorders

hazelden-betty-ford-graduate-school-of-addiction-studies-center-city-mn-online-masters-in-addiction-studies-integrated-recovery-for-co-occurring-disordersAn online Masters in Addiction Studies: Integrated Recovery for Co-Occurring Disorders is available at the Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Studies. This 60 credit degree can be completed in 24 months of full-time study or students can choose to take classes at a part-time pace. The program is designed to be flexible and convenient for students with multiple start dates offered throughout the year, and with opportunities for students to customize their degree based on the internship sites they choose and the elective courses they select. Unique electives are offered covering topics such as Clinical Supervision; Human Sexuality; Advanced Motivational Interviewing; Advanced Twelve Step Facilitation; and Eating Disorders and Nutrition.

Courses include: Introduction to Professional Co-Occurring Disorders Counseling; Etiology, Screening and Assessment of Co-Occurring Disorders; Ethics and Professionalism; Advanced Assessment and Diagnosis for Co-Occurring Disorders; Medical Issues, Psychopharmacology, and Medication Management; Lifespan Development; Treatment and Recovery Planning for Co-Occurring Disorders; Research and Clinical Practice; Culturally-Responsive Co-Occurring Disorders Counseling; and Family Psychoeducation and Counseling for Co-Occurring Disorders.

  • Cost: $776 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60

#8 Ottawa University-Online

Ottawa, KS

Online Master of Arts in Counseling – Addictions Counseling

ottawa-university-online-ottawa-ks-online-master-of-arts-in-counseling-addictions-counselingOttawa University offers an online Master of Arts in Counseling- Addiction Counseling. This online graduate program is accredited by the California Association for Alcohol/Drug Educators. Program coursework prepares graduates to successfully complete the certification examination for credentialing as a Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor in the state of California. The program meets the educational requirements for students to apply for licensure or certification as an addictions counselor in most states, however, applicants should consult their home state licensing board to determine individual state requirements.

Courses include: Graduate Seminar: Clinical and Addiction Foundations; Introduction to Addictions; Multicultural Concerns in Addictions Counseling; Law and Ethics in Addictions Counseling; Theories and Practices of Groups in Addictions Counseling; Methods and Models of Research in Addictions Counseling; Appraisal, Assessment, and Treatment Planning in Addictions Counseling; Psychopharmacology and Addictions Counseling; Co-occurring disorders; Fundamentals of Treatment of Trauma, Abuse, and Deprivation; and Addictions Counseling in Family Systems.

  • Cost: $635 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 87

#7 Liberty University

Lynchburg, VA

Online Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling

liberty-university-lynchburg-va-online-master-of-arts-in-addiction-counselingA Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling is offered online at Liberty University. This 48 credit program can be completed 100% online in two years with optional on-campus intensives. The program is designed to meet the standards of national and state board organizations so that graduates can pursue certification as an addiction counselor. Students in the program have the opportunity to work with faculty who have a depth of experience with the field of substance abuse and addiction counseling. Graduates will have the foundational skills in counseling theory and techniques, assessment, treatment, and interventions to support individuals and family across the lifespan impacted by the disease of addiction.

Courses include: Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling; Multicultural Counseling; Counseling Techniques and the Helping Relationship; Integration of Spirituality and Counseling; Theories of Counseling; Group Counseling; Research and Program Evaluation; Assessment Techniques in Counseling; Marriage and Family Counseling; Psychopathology and Counseling; Addiction and the Recovery Process; and Biological Aspects of Addiction and Recovery.

  • Cost: $565 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 48

#6 Capella University

Minneapolis, MN

Online Master of Science in Addiction Studies

capella-university-minneapolis-mn-online-master-of-science-in-addiction-studiesThe School of Counseling and Human Services at Capella University offers a Master of Science in Addiction Studies online. Students will learn to treat the disease of addiction based on the current research in order to help their clients to successfully engage in and complete treatment. Capella University strives to offer flexible online programming so that students can start the program when they are ready and move through the coursework in a way that feels manageable while still accomplishing goals. There is a 10% tuition discount for active-duty military service members and their spouses.

Courses include: Survey of Research in Human Development for Addiction Professionals; Assessment of Addiction; Principles of Integrated Addiction and Mental Health Treatment; Ethical and Legal Issues in Addiction Treatment; Group Therapy in Addiction Treatment; Theories and Models of Addiction Treatment; Interventions in Addiction Treatment; Foundations and Current Issues in Addiction Treatment; Implications of Addiction Treatment with Diverse Populations; Supervision and Program Management in Addiction Treatment.

  • Cost: $531 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 48

#5 Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, AZ

Online Master of Science in Addiction Counseling

grand-canyon-university-phoenix-az-online-master-of-science-in-addiction-counselingA Master of Science in Addiction Counseling is available online through the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Grand Canyon University. The program focuses on exploring the many aspects of the disease of addiction from how to assess and treat the disease to important considerations in ethics, as well as social and cultural diversity. Students in this online graduate program will complete coursework along with supervised practicum and internship experiences. Graduates will have the training to work professionally as an addiction counselor in a variety of settings such as private practice, residential treatment centers, and hospitals.

Courses include: Introduction to Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences; Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethics; Introduction to Addictions and Substance Use Disorders; Group Counseling Theory and Practice; Social and Cultural Diversity Issues in Counseling; Psychopharmacology and Addictions; Co-Occurring Disorders; Family Issues and Addictive Disorders; Diagnostics, Assessment, and Treatment; Counseling Chemical Dependency Adolescents; and Practicum/Internship.

  • Cost: $515 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 36

#4 Washburn University

Topeka, KS

Online Master of Arts in Human Services
Emphasis in Addiction Counseling

washburn-university-topeka-ks-online-master-of-arts-in-human-services-emphasis-in-addiction-counselingA Master of Arts in Human Services with an emphasis in Addiction Counseling is available at Washburn University. Students can complete the 36 credit program and required practicum experiences in two years. This program is approved by the NAADAC and the Kansas Behavioral Sciences Regulatory Board. Graduates will be prepared to pursue professional licensure as an Addiction Counselor. Students who plan to practice outside the state of Kansas should consult their home state licensing board to evaluate individual state requirements for licensure.

Courses include: Integrative Human Services; Advanced Methods of Group Counseling; Professional Ethics and Practice; Advanced Pharmacology and Substance Use Disorders; Diagnosis of Substance Use Disorders; Clinical Supervision; Integrative Approaches and Treatment of Dual Disorders; Addiction and Recovery Services; Lifespan Development; and Narrative Practices.

  • Cost: $493 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 36

#3 University of South Dakota

Vermillion, SD

Online Master of Arts in Addiction Studies

university-of-south-dakota-vermillion-sd-online-master-of-arts-in-addiction-studiesAn Online Master of Arts in Addiction Studies is offered at the University of South Dakota. Two different tracks of study are offered, the Standard Track (45 credits) and the Advanced Track (33 credits) based on if a student is entering the program with education in addiction studies through certification, licensure, or previous coursework. The program is designed for students to complete core coursework with the opportunity to complete an optional co-occurring specialization course as well as to choose from a variety of unique and relevant elective courses. Electives cover topics such as: Working with Families on Alcohol and Drug Issues; Native Americans and Substance Use and Abuse; Gambling and Process Addiction; and Public Policy and Addiction.

Courses include: Comprehensive Alcohol and Drug Education; Alcohol and Drug Continuum; Psychopharmacology of Alcohol and Drugs; Alcohol and Drug Counseling Theories; Advanced Legal/Ethical Issues and the Addiction Profession; Addiction Studies Research; Addiction Professional Supervision; Case Management and Assessment of Co-Occurring Disorders; Psychopathology and Addiction; and Relapse Prevention.

  • Cost: $451 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 33 – 45

#2 Union College

Barbourville, KY

OnlineMaster of Science in Substance Abuse

union-college-barbourville-ky-onlinemaster-of-science-in-substance-abuseA Master of Science in Substance Abuse is available 100% online at Union College through the Department of Psychology. This 60 credit program has designed the curriculum to meet licensure requirements for substance abuse counselors, applicants should consult the licensure board for the state they plan to practice in to confirm that program requirements match state requirements. Students entering the program with substance abuse counseling experience and/or specific certifications may be eligible to count this work towards their master's degree at Union College.

Courses include: Introduction to Psychology Graduate Studies; Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy; Techniques of Counseling and Psychotherapy; Advanced Developmental Psychology; Social and Community Psychology; Diagnosing and Treatment Planning; Psychology of Addiction; Recovery and Relapse; Multicultural and Diversity Issues; Statistics for Mental Health Professionals; Personality Theories; Health Psychology; Family Systems Theory; and Ethics and Professional Practice.

  • Cost: $400 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60

#1 Governors State University

University Park, IL

Online Master of Health Science in Addictions Studies

governors-state-university-university-park-il-online-master-of-health-science-in-addictions-studiesThe College of Health and Human Services at Governors State University offers a Master of Health Science in Addictions Studies online. Students can choose the course of study that best meets their individual interests and needs with opportunities to complete the program in a traditional class setting, as a hybrid program with 50% of the coursework available online, or complete the entire program fully online. This program emphasizes the use of evidence-based approaches to treating addictions. Graduates of the program will have the critical skills grounded in research and counseling theory to provide therapeutic services to culturally diverse individuals and families struggling with the disease of addiction.

Courses include: Psychopharmacology; Planning, Managing and Evaluating Substance Abuse Programs; Substance Abuse Prevention; Etiology and Epidemiology of Substance Abuse Counseling; Group Techniques; Clinical Models of Addiction; Treating Coexisting Disorders; Seminar in Substance Abuse; Comprehensive Examination; and Internship.

  • Cost: $353 / Credit Hour
  • Credits Required: 60