Recently, the U.S. has seen a greater demand for substance abuse counseling. This largely due to the criminal justice system placing more emphasis on rehabilitation and treatment for drug and alcohol offenders. Subsequently, the national total of substance abuse counselors is projected to grow by 25% through 2029, according to projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Substance abuse and alcohol counselors play an integral role in helping people who need guidance and treatment. In 2017, only about 19% of the 20.7 million people who needed treatment for substance abuse disorder sought help.
Individuals aspiring to enter this profession should earn a bachelor’s or master’s degree in counseling or psychology. They can also choose to pursue substance abuse counselor certification, which can help them specialize in the area and prepare them for licensure. These programs require anywhere from 15-45 college credits and can last up to one year.
For many students, pursuing a substance abuse counselor certification online offers convenience and flexibility. Online substance abuse classes allow distance learners to log on, watch lectures, and complete assignments at their own convenience. You can learn more about the top online programs through the list below.
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Best Online Certificate Programs in Substance Abuse and Addictions Counseling
Featured Online Programs
Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.
Based in Toms River, OCC offers a certificate of completion in addictions counseling that helps students become credentialed as a certified alcohol and drug counselor in New Jersey. Emphasizing ethics and legal conduct, the program prepares students to meet the psychological and physiological challenges involved with treating addiction disorders.
The State of New Jersey Board of Marriage and Family Therapy Examiner's Alcohol and Drug Counseling Committee and Addictions Professional Certification Board of New Jersey approved the specialized courses for the required 270 education hours.
The curriculum trains students to treat substance abuse disorders and provide resources and support to all stakeholders involved. Participants also learn the importance of documentation and ethical aspects of addiction counseling, as well as legal conduct. Graduates can work in positions as counselor interns in community treatment settings.
- General Psychology
- Addictions Disorders and Recovery Supports
- Addiction Counseling Skills
- Addiction Counseling Methodology
- Assessing Addictive Disorders
- Cost: $175 per credit (in-county) / $193 per credit (out-of-county) / $270 per credit (in-state)
- Credits Required: 24 credits
- Accreditation: Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
Applying to a Substance Abuse and Addictions Counseling Certificate
The admissions requirements for substance abuse and addiction certificates vary. Some certification programs allow individuals to apply with just a high school diploma, whereas other certificates require a certain number of college credits. Higher-level certification programs can require a bachelor’s or master’s degree.
Certification programs consider candidate’s GPAs, but students do not necessarily need to meet a minimum GPA requirement. Certificates sometimes require previous work experience in the field, with higher certification levels typically requiring more experience. The top-level certification programs require counselors to possess licensure, but not all certificates do.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a license and a certificate?
Substance abuse and addictions counselors need licensure in order to legally work and apply for their license from a state government agency or board. In contrast, these professionals do not necessarily need a certificate in order to work; however, it can boost their credentials and chances of employment. Additionally, certifications usually come from a professional association or a university, rather than a government agency.
What is accreditation and why is it important?
Accreditation ensures that academic programs meet nationally recognized quality standards established for the counseling profession. Students should be wary of enrolling in unaccredited programs and should understand that employers typically prefer graduates from accredited institutions. In addition, counselors need an accredited degree in order to qualify for licensure and certification.
What degree do you need to apply to a substance abuse and addictions counseling certificate?
In order to apply for substance abuse counselor certification, you need a bachelor’s or master’s degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field. Some programs accept applicants with 60 hours of college credit or an associate degree, and undergraduate certification programs consider students with high school diplomas, as well. For this specific certification, students should also choose a degree specialization in substance abuse and addiction.
What can I do with a substance abuse and addictions counseling certificate?
This certificate allows professionals to find jobs as certified drug and alcohol counselors or certified substance abuse and addictions counselors. The certification adds a degree of credibility to your professional qualifications, which can boost your employment prospects and potentially bring in more clients.