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PhD in Addictions Counseling: Info on Doctorate Degrees

Read about Ph.D. programs in addictions counseling and examine the educational prerequisites. See popular career choices as well as the employment outlook and salary statistics for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors.

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Essential Information

Unlike 2-year graduate programs in addictions counseling, doctoral programs related to addiction aren't designed to train counselors to work with afflicted individuals. Instead, programs such as a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Addictions Counseling provide scholars with a comprehensive understanding of the social and cultural causes behind addiction.

Ph.D. programs in addiction counseling are ideal for those individuals who are already educated and licensed counselors, particularly those who have professional experience in the field of addiction studies. Bachelor's and master's degrees are necessary for admission.

Enrolled students learn how to conduct research in the field of addiction studies by means of data collection, experimental design and data analysis. A Ph.D. program in addictions counseling also allows students to research which methods of counseling are most effective for individuals suffering from addiction. Most such doctoral programs take between 5-7 years to complete and require the additional completion of a dissertation.

Education Prerequisites

Students interested in enrolling in a Ph.D. program in addictions counseling must typically first have completed a bachelor's and master's degree program. Some schools also strongly encourage doctoral students to have some professional experience working as counselors. Incoming doctoral students are often expected to have a solid understanding of which area of addictions counseling and addictions studies they would like to focus.

Program Coursework

As with most doctoral programs, the curriculum included in a Ph.D. program in addiction counseling is highly individualized based on each doctoral candidate's chosen field of study. However, some common seminar courses might include:

  • Epidemiology of drug and substance abuse
  • History of addiction and human behavior
  • Relationship between chemical dependency and intimacy dysfunction
  • Addiction counselor clinical supervision
  • Group psychotherapy techniques and treatment methods
  • Prevention of chemical abuse in childhood
  • Alcoholism and guilt
  • Data gathering and interpretation
  • Research methods

Popular Career Choices

The majority of students who complete a Ph.D. program in a particular field go on to work in research or academia. Some additional choices available to graduates of a doctoral program in addiction counseling are listed below:

  • Counseling facility director
  • Addictions researcher
  • Addictions counseling professor
  • Addictions specialist
  • Substance abuse counselor

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The projected growth rate for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was 27% from 2010-2020, which was faster than average. The mean annual wages for these workers were $40,920 in May 2012.

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