What is substance abuse counseling? We use alcohol, drugs and other substances for a variety of legitimate or social reasons. But when that use becomes an over-use or addictive disorder, then it is classified as “substance abuse”. Substance abuse counselors (also called behavioral disorder counselors) help people who have problems with alcohol, drugs, substance abuse and eating disorders.
With the national and international rate of substance abuse continuously rising. The need for people who understand the special needs of individuals who are caught in an abusive cycle is constantly growing. While the number of counselors in this specialized field continues to grow, the specific needs of people who are drug, alcohol or other substance dependent has created a requirement for more alcohol and substance abuse counselors who have studied the problem at an advanced level and gained a substance abuse masters.
This page has information on what it mean to be a substance abuse counselor, where to find suitable programs, and more …
Educational requirements for alcohol and substance abuse counselor careers
The masters degree provides counselors with advanced intervention skills for their clients, the patients families and other stakeholders like rehabilitation abuse facilities. It is usually the minimum requirement to be a licensed substance abuse counselor and practice in most States of the USA. The modules studied by counselors provide instruction in subjects such as pharmacology, group and individual counseling, prevention and treatment resources, as well as applicable laws and regulations.
Professional and ethical courses are required in student studies, which educates interested candidates as they pursue an education in the medical field. These courses of study will educate students and prepare them for the professional field of counseling, and the ethical standards required in this demanding medical practice.
Courses provided at this level, offer students case studies with evidence based scenarios to assist them to present the latest research and proven successful skills to students. This approach enables students to return to their practices prepared to meet the changing needs of their clients in modern society. The courses are designed to produce counselors who can provide leadership and creativity where they are employed, whether in private practice or in institutions, schools or medical facilities.
College courses in drug and alcohol abuse counseling are available in all States of the USA, and in many countries around the world. Courses can be studied online or in conventional training environment in a University or College. They usually require a commitment of two years, depending on whether the courses are studied part time or full time. Students study modules and engage in field practice as part of the requirements. In the USA, the courses are designed under the guidelines of the National Board for Certified Counselors and provide the National Certified Counselor Credential (NCCC).
Prerequisites for the masters include a bachelors degree and a minimum GRE (Graduate Record Examination). Some programs also require undergraduate or post graduate course work in a related field. In the USA, completion of a masters in substance abuse is a prerequisite for licensing in many of the individual States. Once a student successfully completes the academic requirements they can apply for licensing to become a drug and alcohol abuse counselor in a state of the students choosing.
What are the prospects for graduates?
The current pay scale for Counselors ranges from $24,500 to $60,000 a year depending on experience and qualifications. Faster than average increase in new counselors required continues to create great demand for licensed counselors. Recent research suggests that 5,000 new counselors are required every year to meet the growing demand for counseling services across all sectors providing client services.
There are options for continuing substance abuse education after the completion of academic college courses, with many counselors electing to pursue a PhD in Rehabilitation Counseling and Administration. Students may choose to focus their career advancement in private or public practice.
List of substance abuse masters schools and programs
Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education. Eligible students can receive college credit for prior military experience and coursework—up to 75 percent of the credit needed for a Kaplan University undergraduate degree.*
- MS in Psychology - Addictions
- MS in Psychology - Applied Behavior Analysis Specialization
- MS in Psychology - General Psychology
- And more...
Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose. Our 20,000 alumni, from more than 110 countries, are changing the world as accomplished professionals. Named a top-15 school nationally for online bachelor's programs (U.S. News & World Report, 2015), Regent is among the most affordable undergraduate Christian colleges (CCCU 2015). Fully accredited, challenging programs are available online and on campus. New classes begin every eight weeks.
- Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling
- Master of Science in General Psychology
For over 35 years, Keiser University has maintained a practical, hands-on approach to career education to help our students achieve their personal and professional goals. Our student-centered approach remains at the foundation of the Keiser University mission and continues to attract students who prefer a more personal learning experience.
- Master of Science in Psychology
Welcome to Argosy University
Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges: College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education, College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.
- Counseling Psychology (MA)
The Chicago School is a not-for-profit, regionally accredited institution with more than 4,285 students at campuses across the country (Chicago, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.) and online. TCSPP has been an innovator in the field of psychology and related behavioral science for more than 30 years. TCSPP offers more than 20 degree programs and a wealth of opportunities for international experiences.
- M.A. Counseling Psychology
- M.S. Applied Behavior Analysis
Be a part of the world’s premier institution for humanistic studies at Saybrook University. Pursue an advanced degree in psychology, mind-body medicine, organizational systems, and human science.
- M.A. Psychology, Counseling Specialization
Brenau Adult and Graduate Studies: Designed with You in Mind
If you are a busy, working adult, Brenau offers professionally focused undergraduate and graduate degrees and professional certification programs in flexible, convenient formats that meet your goals and fit your schedule. Brenau has a rich history of 135 years, with more than 35 years of experience in delivering programs for adults. As a Brenau student, you can schedule your classes in a format that is convenient to you. Many of our programs can be completed 100% online.
- Clinical Counseling Psychology (M.S.)
Concordia University, Nebraska offers accredited Master of Education and Master of Science degree programs online to help advance your career and become a transformative leader. Our M.Ed. and M.S. programs offer the knowledge and skills required in today’s competitive marketplace. These graduate degree programs are also practitioner-based: study real world solutions in class you can also apply to your current job. A reliable online learning system allows you to learn with other adult students, around your own schedule, and wherever you connect online.
- Master of Human Services - Community Health
- Master of Public Health - Community Health Education
- MS Psychology
- MS Psychology - Child & Developmental Psych
- MS Psychology - Industrial & Org'l Psych
- And more...
- Master of Science in Conflict Management