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Substance Abuse Counseling Associate Degree Programs

Get details about associate's-level studies in substance abuse counseling. Read about admissions requirements and what topics are addressed in program coursework. Find information about continuing education and career options.

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Essential Information

The substance abuse counseling associate's degree program prepares students to provide counseling, career advice and therapeutic services to substance abusers and their families. The program includes training in drug, alcohol and crisis intervention, along with courses in psychology and communication. Most of these programs take about two years to complete, and clinical experiences may be required. Depending on the state, graduation from an associate's program in substance abuse counseling may prepare students for licensure in the field, though it's important for students to check with their respective state boards for details.

Educational Prerequisites

In order to enter into an associate's degree program in substance abuse counseling, students must have a high school diploma and a strong GPA. Many programs in this field have competitive entry; as a result, extracurricular activities and community involvement are viewed as positive points in the application process.

Program Coursework

The courses offered in this associate's degree program focus mainly on the social sciences, with a secondary concentration on medical knowledge. Some of the topics covered may include:

  • Counseling theories
  • Case management
  • Psychology
  • Communication
  • Multicultural counseling

Popular Career Options

In some states, an associate's degree in substance abuse counseling can prepare students for licensure or certification as substance abuse counselors. In fact, some states may only require a high school diploma along with on-the-job training. However, substance abuse counselors who open private practices in most states must hold a master's degree and have completed 2,000-4,000 hours of clinical experience. Students should check their state's regulations for more information. Some job titles for graduates of associate's programs may include:

  • Human services assistant
  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Adolescent counselor
  • Half-way house director

Continuing Education

The next step on the educational path for a graduate of the associate's program in substance abuse counseling is decidedly a bachelor's degree. There are several types of bachelor's degrees offered in this area of interest, including fields such as counseling, psychology, social work and psychology. A bachelor's degree will reward students with higher levels of responsibility in their jobs.

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Popular Schools

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Indiana (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Indiana Wesleyan University include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Clinical Laboratory Science Professions
      • Health and Fitness
      • Medical and Health Preparatory Sciences
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Mental Health Services
        • Community Health Services
        • Marriage and Family Counseling
        • Substance Abuse Counseling
      • Nursing Professions
      • Therapeutic and Rehabilitation Professions
  • School locations:
    • Oklahoma (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Oklahoma State University include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Medical and Health Professions
      • Medical Administrative Services
      • Medical Assisting
      • Medical Diagnostic and Treatment Professions
      • Mental Health Services
        • Substance Abuse Counseling
      • Nursing Professions
      • Public Health and Safety

Popular Schools

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics