If you are thinking of pursuing a career that involves helping people, then addiction or substance abuse counseling is the way to go. Addiction counseling is a great field to work in because it combines the ability to help people with addiction while providing them with the resources they need to lead healthy lives. The demand for addiction counsellors is on the rise due to the increasing number of people who are struggling with addiction. This demand has led to an increase in the salaries that addiction counsellors can earn, and has also led to an increase in the number of schools that are offering addiction counseling degrees.
What is an Addiction Counselor
An addiction or substance abuse counsellor is a mental health professional who helps people with substance use disorders. Substance use disorders are when someone has an intense desire or need for drugs or alcohol, but their use of them causes problems in their life, including problems with relationships and jobs.
Substance abuse or addiction counsellors can help you identify if you have a problem with drugs and alcohol and then work with you to find the best way to manage your addiction and live a healthy life. They can also help you get treatment if needed.
Online Degrees in Addiction Counseling
Some important factors to consider when choosing an online addiction counseling program include:
- The program’s scope of services.
- The quality of the program’s faculty.
- The program accreditation.
An Addiction Counseling program needs to be accredited by a recognized institution such as NASAC (National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission). This ensures that graduates from these programs are prepared for their respective states’ licensing and certifying exams.
Here is an overview of available online addiction counseling programs
|Associate’s Degree||Upto 70 credit hours/ 2 Years||high school diploma or GED|
|Bachelor’s Degree||120 credit hours/2-4 year||high school diploma or GED|
|Master’s Degree||35-45 credits/2-3 years||A bachelor’s in psychology, counseling, Minimum GPA 3.0 (may vary), Internship hours (may vary)|
15 most affordable online Associate and Bachelor’s degrees in Addiction Counseling
1. University of Providence
Program: Addictions Counseling Associate of Arts
Tuition: $324/credit hour
Credits: 70 credit hours
The Addictions Counseling Associate of Arts Degree program at the University of Providence is designed to prepare graduates for careers in the field of Addictions Counseling. This program focuses on teaching students about treatment and intervention for those with chemical and/or gambling use or abuse issues.
The online Associate’s degree in addiction counseling program is structured to meet Montana state licensure requirements after completing 1,000 hours of supervised Addiction counseling experience and passing the state addictions counseling competency examination.
Regional accreditation at the University of Providence is by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and ranks at #23 of 102 best regional colleges West.
2. Camden County College
Program: Associate in Applied Science Addictions Counseling
Credits: 60 credit hours
The Associate in Applied Science Addictions Counseling program at Camden County College is designed to teach students to analyze contemporary preventative treatment and assessment strategies for substance abuse and to model evidence of professional and ethical behaviour in the field of addictions counseling. It also teaches students how to explain and use elements of effective working relationships that encompass ideals of positive communication, empathy, and active listening. Upon completion of the program, graduates may go ahead and sit for the written portion of the N.J. certification exams.
A.A.S. addiction counsellor program is accredited by The Addictions Professional Certification Board of N.J., I.N.C. Regional accreditation of the school is by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and ranks at #5 of the 30 Most Popular Online Associate Degree in Mental & Social Health Services.
3. Northcentral Technical College
Program: Substance Use Disorder Counseling Associates Degree
Tuition: $10,475 for the entire program
Credits: 61 credit hours
The Substance Use Disorder Counseling Associates Degree at Northcentral Technical College is a program that educates students on the diagnosis and treatment of substance use disorders and helps them develop the knowledge required to manage clients involved in drug or alcohol abuse effectively.
Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible for Wisconsin licensure as Substance Abuse Counselors (In Training), qualifying them for entry-level positions.
Regional accreditation of the school is by the Higher Learning Commission and ranks at #36 of 326 Best Online Colleges in America
4. NHTI – Concord’s Community College
Program: Addiction Counseling Associate in Science
Credits: 61 credit hours
The Addiction Counseling Associate in Science online program at NHTI is designed to train students to support prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts in various settings. The courses in this program are taught by instructors with practical experience in the field of addiction counseling.
Regional accreditation of the school is by the New England Commission of Higher Education and ranks at #235 of 845 Best Community Colleges in America.
5. University of St. Thomas
Program: Associate of Applied Science in Drug and Alcohol Counseling
Tuition: $12,000 for the entire program
Credits: 60 credit hours
In this Associate of Applied Science in Drug and Alcohol Counseling online program, students learn how to administer drug and alcohol counseling to individuals, communities, and families. The program is designed to provide content knowledge and practical experience with partnership sites in an addiction setting.
Regional accreditation of the school is by SACSCOC and ranks at #158 of 1,652 Best Colleges in America
6. Hilbert College Global
Program: Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling (A.A.)
Tuition: $450/credit hour
Credits: 60 credit hours
The Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling (A.A.) program at Hilbert prepares students to meet the competencies highlighted by the (OASAS) N.Y.S. Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services in partial completion of the (CASAC) Certified Alcoholism & Substance Abuse Counselor credential. Graduates of the program are eligible to apply for the CASAC-T certification through OASAS, a requirement for most entry-level positions.
Regional accreditation of the school is by Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
7. Ashland University
Program: Associate of Arts with a Concentration in Addictions
Tuition: $395/credit hour
Credits: 27 out of 60 credit hours required for an Associate of Arts Degree
The Associate of Arts with a Concentration in Addictions program fulfils the requirements for licensure as an (LCDC II) Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor II, which is earned through the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board. To gain licensure, graduates will also require counseling-related work experience and pass the minimum score on the A.D.C. exam. The program also allows students the chance to obtain hands-on experience with an internship as part of their curriculum.
Regional accreditation of the school is by the Higher Learning Commission. Ashland University ranks #35 of 157 Regional Universities Midwest
8. Grand Canyon University
Program: Bachelor of Science in Counseling with an Emphasis in Addiction, Chemical Dependency, and Substance Abuse
Tuition: $485 per credit
Credits: 120 credit hours
G.C.U.’s B.S. in substance abuse and addiction counseling provides students with a solid academic foundation in the counseling field. Students learn a blend of applied skills and theoretical knowledge, including practical learning experiences. Upon completing the program, students will have the necessary skills in screening, assessment, intake, planning treatment, and case management. Graduates of this program are eligible to pursue professional credentials, e.g. (LSAT) Licensed Substance Abuse Technician.
Regional accreditation of the school is by the Higher Learning Commission. Grand Canyon University ranks #116 of 1,675 Best Value Best Bachelor’s Degree College in America by College Factual.
9. University Of Cincinnati
Program: Bachelor of Science in Substance Abuse Counseling
Credits: 120 credit hours
UCO’s Bachelor of Science in Substance Abuse Counseling offers a proven hands-on course content and is designed to help students learn how to become qualified clinicians. The degree is designed to help students gain the knowledge, skills, and competencies required to begin a career working with addicted people or advance their professional credentials. Graduates will meet the academic requirements to earn a chemical dependency license in Ohio.
Regional accreditation of the school is by the Higher Learning Commission. The University Of Cincinnati is ranked #143 of 191 Best Value Schools in America.
10. Ottawa University
Program: Bachelor of Science in Addiction Counseling
Tuition: $399/credit hour
The accelerated Bachelor of Science in Addiction Counseling Online program is focused on the integration of research and theories of addiction plus counseling theories. Students attain an understanding of the factors that influence addiction counseling services. Students also learn how to help addicted individuals get long-term recovery through a curriculum surrounding cultural competence, intake, screening, assessment, treatment planning, orientation, case management, client education, referral, and documentation.
The BS in Addiction counseling program is accredited by NASAC- National Addiction Studies, Accreditation Commission. Regional accreditation of the school is by the Higher Learning Commission. The University Of Cincinnati is ranked #50 of 87 Best Regional Colleges Midwest
11. Midwestern State University Texas
Program: Substance Abuse Counseling, B.S.E.
Credits: 120 credit hours
Substance Abuse Counseling, B.S.E. at M.S.U. Texas is a program that prepares students for careers as substance abuse counsellors and prevention specialists in mental health and public health settings. The program includes counseling techniques, clinical supervision, and case management courses. Students will learn to assess clients’ needs and implement effective treatment strategies.
Regional accreditation of the school is by SACSCOC. M.S.U. Texas is ranked #23 of 82 Best Value Schools in Texas.
12. University of South Dakota
Program: Addiction Counseling and Prevention (B.S.)
Tuition: $354.75/credit hour
Credits: 120 credit hours
The online Addiction Counseling and Prevention (B.S.) at the University of South Dakota provides students with theoretical knowledge regarding the nature, prevention, aetiology, and treatment of substance abuse issues. Graduates qualify for addiction counseling and prevention credentialing through SDBAPP- the South Dakota Board of Addiction & Prevention Professionals.
The program is accredited by (NASAC)- National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission. Regional accreditation of the school is by the Higher Learning Commission.
13. Crown College
Program: B.S. Alcohol + Drug Counseling
Tuition: $425/credit hour
Credits: 125 credit hours
The B.S. Alcohol and Drug Counseling program allow students to develop their knowledge base by examining the effects of substance abuse and addiction on individuals and families. The program focuses on the emotional, cultural, cognitive, financial, professional, and spiritual consequences of addiction. Graduates will have access to internships which will prepare them for state licensure.
Regional accreditation of the school is by the Higher Learning Commission. Crown College is ranked #119-157 in Best Regional Universities Midwest
14. Indiana Wesleyan University
Program: Bachelor of Science with a major in Addictions Counseling
Tuition: $392/credit hour
Credits: Credits: 120 credit hours
At Indiana Wesleyan University, the Bachelor of Science with a major in Addictions Counseling online program is designed for students who want to work with people struggling with addiction and mental health issues. The program offers an in-depth understanding of the psychology behind addiction from a Christian perspective. Students learn how to treat people struggling with addiction and how to help them recover from their addiction.
Regional accreditation of the school is by the Higher Learning Commission. Indiana Wesleyan University has an intelligent score of 95.35 and a Best Addictions Focus Award by Intelligent.com.
15. Midway University
Program: Bachelor in Psychology with an Alcohol and Drug Counseling concentration
Tuition: $12,250 per semester
Credits: 120 credit hours
The Bachelor in Psychology with an Alcohol and Drug Counseling concentration at Indiana Midway University will provide students with a broad education in the field of Alcohol and Drug Counseling. Courses in the program cover treatment planning, case management, crisis intervention, client education and more elements which are covered in addiction counseling. This program aims to help students acquire the necessary Training for the required practice experience needed for certification.
Regional accreditation of the school is by SACSCOC. Midway University ranks #32 of 50 Top Online Bachelor of Psychology Degree Programs.
How long Does It Take To Be An Addiction Counselor?
The path to becoming a licensed addiction counsellor can take up to 4 years or more.
Before beginning your career path to becoming an addiction counsellor, you need to research your state’s licensing requirements, as the educational requirements vary depending on the state in which you reside. In some states, associate-level degree holders can earn certification after obtaining supervised counseling experience and passing a state exam. However, most states require addiction counsellors to hold a bachelor’s degree and at least 2,000 hours of supervised work experience.
Bachelor’s degree holders cannot open their own private practice without having at least a Master’s degree. To become a licensed and certified addiction counsellor, you typically need to earn a graduate-level degree in addiction counseling.
Below is an overview of popular addiction counseling degree requirements by employers based on job postings from Zippia
What is the Salary for Addiction Counselors?
Addiction counsellors typically earn a salary in the mid-to-high range of the mental health professions. There are several factors that go into determining an addiction counsellor’s salary, including experience, qualifications, and region.
Here is an overview of the median salary for addiction counsellors in the top hiring industries
Is there a need for substance abuse counsellors?
The need for addiction counsellors is growing. With the increasing number of people who struggle with substance use disorder and mental health disorders, it’s no wonder this field offers a wide variety of job opportunities. The high demand for addiction counsellors is also influenced by the decision of most states to seek counseling services rather than jail time for individuals with addictions. The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that the demand for treatment services will increase by 23% -faster than the national average through 2030.
Here is a look at the top occupations for addiction counsellor degrees.
|Occupation||Median Annual Salary|
|Addiction Counselor||$48,520 per year|
|Rehabilitation Director||$38,560 per year|
|Mental Health Therapist||$48,375 per year|
|Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)||$60,240 per year|
|Case Manager||$42,850 per year|
|Social Worker||$50,161 per year|
Useful Certifications For Addiction Counselors
On top of your degree, you may want to earn additional certifications that will give you a competitive advantage over other candidates for positions in the field. National certification is also a great way to increase your expertise as an addiction counsellor.
Here is an overview of the top 5 certifications that are important for drug addiction counsellors.
- National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level I (NCAC I)– Requires more than two years of education after high school and three years of work experience. It can be earned by credentialed or licensed professionals.
- National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level II (NCAC II)– Bachelor’s degree or higher plus three years of work experience. This certification is available for credentialed or licensed professionals.
- Master Addiction Counselor (MAC)– Master’s degree or higher plus three years full time work experience. Candidates must have a current credential or license as an addiction counsellor or related field.
- Certified Chemical Dependency Counselor- Requires more than two years of education and training/work experience after high school.
- Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) – Requires more than two years of education and training/work experience after high school.
Top Skills for an Addiction Counselor
The most important skills for an addiction counsellor are patience, compassion, and empathy. A counsellor needs these skills to understand how difficult it is for people to overcome their addictions—and how much courage it takes. The best counsellors also have an instinct for knowing when someone is in danger of becoming addicted again if they don’t get support.
A good addiction counsellor will also have a good understanding of trauma theory, so they can better understand how trauma affects people’s behaviour patterns and mental health.
To sum up, addiction counseling is a tough field, but it’s also among the most rewarding. If you’re passionate about helping people who are struggling with addiction and want to do something that makes a difference in the world, then addiction counseling is the path for you.