Substance Abuse Counselor Masters Degree Programs

Substance abuse counselors work with people who have drug, alcohol or other addictions. A master's degree in substance abuse counseling is generally the minimum educational requirement for licensure in the field.

Essential Information

Master of Science (M.S.) in Substance Abuse Counseling programs focus on basic skills and practical techniques of counseling, as well as theory and research in substance abuse.

  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree and a minimum GRE score.
  • Other Requirements: Clinical internship
  • Program Specializations: Some options include alcohol abuse, drug abuse or clinical counseling.

Substance Abuse Counselor Masters Degree Program

Substance abuse counseling master's degree programs often provide study in treatment and prevention methods for substance abusers. Most programs include an internship, in addition to classes such as the following:

  • Group counseling techniques
  • Treatment methods for drug and alcohol abuse
  • Advanced individual counseling, assessment and diagnosis
  • Role of the family in rehabilitation
  • Contemporary issues in drug and alcohol abuse

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor prospects were expected to exhibit faster than average growth from 2012 to 2022, increasing by 31%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( The median salary for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was $39,270 in May 2014. The bottom ten percent made $25,310 or less per year in 2014, per the BLS.

Continuing Education

M.S. in Substance Abuse Counseling graduates should be eligible for certification or licensure, the requirements of which vary by state. Graduates who wish to further their education can pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Rehabilitation Counseling and Administration with a concentration in substance or clinical counseling. A Ph.D. could lead to career advancement opportunities.

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