What Degree Levels Are Available?
To achieve your full potential as an addiction counselor, you have to obtain master’s degree qualification. There are plenty of certificate courses for the substance abuse counselor field that will aid you through your career path when you’re just starting. Substance abuse counselor certificates are normally provided by various community colleges and numerous other schools that provide career training. You can utilize the certificate course in two different ways:
- one is as an introductory program before you enrol in a course for an associate’s degree;
- as a means to solidify your proficiency in the field after you master your studies through a master’s degree.
Associate’s Degree Program
Going to a drug and substance abuse school to pursue an associate’s degree is an exceptional form of introducing yourself to the career. This is because you can get the gist of what to expect on the job and make a decision before investing a lot of time and cash.
This program will educate you on the basics of working with addicts and their relatives. Liberal arts teaching is also included. Before you enrol for an associate’s degree course, however, make sure that you take a look at the regulations of your state. You might have to earn an advanced degree, depending on where you live.
Bachelor’s Degree Program
A psychology undergraduate degree covers the psychology history, human conduct, and psychological tendencies. Other than this, certain psychological institutions will let you pick a specialization such as drug abuse counseling. As you make your way through the 4-year program, your coursework will move towards that direction.
Below is an example of a course outline for an undergraduate program in psychology, majoring on substance abuse:
- Introduction to Psychology
- Psychology History
- Development of Personality
- General Biology
- Clinical Psychology
- Case Management
- Prevention and Treatment of Substance Abuse.
A bachelor’s degree course in psychology also involves the study of fundamental programs like history & humanities and college composition.
Master’s Degree Program
If you are to be an accredited substance abuse counselor, you must complete a postgraduate Master’s degree in social work or psychology. Some of the choices are Master’s in Social Work (MSW), or MA. Other masters degree programs will also let you concentrate your studies on drug abuse counseling if there’s no option of taking a certificate course after graduation. By doing that you’ll automatically become a qualified substance abuse counselor.
Your lessons will be focused on various counseling tactics, fieldwork, and research techniques. There are also programs that will train you for the business side of the field.
An example of coursework on what to expect in a Master’s degree course includes:
- Orientation to Addiction
- Human Growth and Development
- Behavioral and Psychopathology Sicknesses
- Developing Your Ultimate Private Practice
- Sociocultural Counseling Foundations.
What Certification Do You Require?
The NBCC (National Board for Certified Counselors) administers examinations for substance abuse counselor certification. In a couple of states, it’s a stage towards the procedure of licensing. On the other hand, to be nationally certified, you must fulfill the following conditions:
For a Master’s Degree
3,000 hrs counseling experience plus 100 hrs of supervision for 2 years after getting a master’s degree.
Qualifying Examination Score
As a person seeking to be a counselor, you can take an examination to certify your specialization. NBCC provides the Master Addictions Counselor accreditation.
How Long Does It Take?
The duration of time it will take to finish your course differs for the various programs:
- Associate’s degrees normally take 2 years
- Bachelor’s degrees basically takes 4 years
- Master’s takes roughly 2-3 years.
Remember for you to be approved by NBCC, you will have to tack on an extra 2 years after master’s to acquire overseen clinical experience.
Are There Certified Online Programs for Substance Abuse Counselor Courses?
Yes, there are numerous schools online offering certificate and degree programs for substance abuse counseling. In online programs, you can take classes from wherever you are, whenever you feel like. They are flexible. Some of them will also allow you to finish your degree course faster.
How Much Will the Education Cost?
Depending on the institution you attend, the cost of degree programs will vary. As per the 2017-2018 College Board’s Trends in College Pricing, for a 4-year program in a public institution, the typical yearly cost of in-state tuition is about $10,000 while out-of-state tuition is roughly $25,000. On the other hand, you’ll spend about 16,000 for a private for-profit school, while a private non-profit school will cost you a little over $34,000.
For a master’s degree program at an in-state public institution, the average cost is close to $9,000 yearly, whereas PhD will cost you slightly more at about $11,000 annually. You can get financial help if you attend an accredited institution.
Note: The costs above are for tuition only. Additional fees on rooms, books, and boarding are not reflected.
With all this information, we are confident that you are ready to start following this fulfilling career path to make a positive impact on your life and the lives of others in the community.