Master of Science in Counseling: Addictions Counseling

The Master of Science in Addictions Counseling program prepares graduates with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to be successful in providing substance use and process addictions counseling. The 100% online program for adults is designed to allow students to develop clinical proficiencies through academic courses and a 300 hours internship experience at a time and setting convenient to their schedule. Some synchronous meeting times will be required.

This degree is a fit for individuals who have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and now seek a graduate counseling education.  A background in Psychology is helpful, though not required.

The 42 semester hours program can be completed in five semesters of full-time continuous enrollment.

Graduates of the program will help to meet a critical societal need. Job growth for substance abuse, behavioral health, and mental health counselors is anticipated to reach 25% between 2019 and 2029 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). Growth will be driven by increased need for addiction and mental health counseling due to COVID-19 and related factors.

Key Program Features

Gain knowledge of professional, ethical, and legal standards of counseling practice

Classes are led by faculty with professional career experience

Learn the foundations of addictions counseling including current theories and models of addictions, case conceptualization and treatment, and assessments specific to psychoactive substances and process addictions

Develop clinical proficiencies through intensive course work and supervised 300 hours addictions counseling internship

Learn the contextual dimensions of addictions counseling including potential for effects of other mental illnesses, risk and resilient factors associated substance use disorders, effects of various systems in treatment and recovery, and roles and responsibilities of licensed addictions counselors

Learn the practice of addictions including use of assessment instruments to make diagnoses, application of techniques and interventions, evaluate and plan strategies to reduce harmful use and to interface with the legal system and courts

Pathway towards licensure to practice as an addictions counselor (individual states and licensure boards may vary with regard to requirements)

Program Details

  • Students benefit from small classes led by professors with clinical experience
  • Internship experience focuses on direct supervised clinical experience with individuals, couples, and families as required by most counseling license boards
  • No GRE or other test scores required
  • Students do NOT need undergraduate degrees in Psychology or Psychology-related field
  • Program can be completed in 5 semesters of continuous enrollment

The program is designed to meet substance abuse curricula and supervised internship requirements by most state boards. Because state boards vary in their licensure requirements, graduates are encouraged to seek out information from the board in the state where they plan to practice.

Graduates who meet their state requirements for licensure will demonstrate the Twelve Core Functions:  screening,  intake, orientation, assessment, treatment planning, counseling, case management, crisis intervention, client education, report and record keeping, consultation, and referral. Addiction counselors will often collaborate with other professionals including psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses, school counselors, program managers.

As a part of the Master of Science in Counseling: Addictions Counseling, applicants will be required to:

  • Submit response to two personal statements to include the following (250 word minimum for each question):
    1.  How does the Masters of Science in Counseling: Addictions Counseling program support your professional goals?  And, why is this graduate degree in counseling the right one for this season of your life?
    2.  Describe a time when you received feedback that was difficult to hear in the moment.  How did you respond?  How did the experience impact you directly?  How did the experience influence immediate relationships (person(s) who gave the feedback, others connected to the situation)?
  • Bachelors degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum of 3.0 GPA. 2.5-3.0 will be considered based on submission of the personal statement. Official transcript required.
  • Invitation to participate in a pre-admissions interview conducted by program faculty. Invitation to interview does not guarantee acceptance into the Program.
  • Online new student orientation is required prior to the start of the program.
  • GRE or GMAT are not required.

As you prepare for starting courses in one of our Master of Science in Counseling degrees, we wanted you to be aware of two possible fees that will be required as part of your professional experiences courses (practicum and internship) that occur approximately mid-way through your program.

  1. Registration for Travera data system- a one-time, lifetime fee of $215 will be required when enrolling in COUN 500. This will allow you lifetime access to an online platform that will allow you to manage all of your clinical and licensure information. You will be able to track your progress and begin to build your professional identity through this rea-time activity tracker.
  2. Liability Insurance- this will be required to participate in your professional experiences courses. The liability insurance can be obtained at a student rate of approximately $105 through the American Counseling Association. Obtaining a membership in this organization will allow you to utilize liability insurance.
  3. Criminal Background Check- this requirement is agency specific and some but not all agency’s require this before you will be eligible to complete your practicum and internship. The average cost is $50 or less.

More Information

Graduate Degree Sheets
  • Public Settings, i.e., state, local, federal mental health and psychiatric facilities
  • Private Practice
  • Public and Private Hospitals
  • Legal and Correction Systems i.e., prison, probation, and parole
  • Juvenile Detention Centers
  • Detox Centers
  • In-patient and Out-patient Substance Abuse Treatment Centers
  • Active Duty Military
  • Veteran Administration, VA hospitals, VA clinics
  • Mental Health Centers
  • Public and Private Colleges and Universities
  • Family Resource Centers
  • Agency Employee Assistance Programs
  • Halfway houses