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Substance Abuse Counselor Masters Degree Programs

In order to work as a substance abuse counselor, a Master of Science (M.S.) in Substance Abuse Counseling is needed. Students in this program learn techniques and tools to help people overcome various addictions such as alcohol.

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Essential Information

Master of Science (M.S.) in Substance Abuse Counseling programs focus on basic skills and practical techniques of counseling individuals, groups and families, as well as theory and research in substance abuse. Students can also choose specializations for this program such as alcohol abuse, drug abuse or clinical counseling. In order to get accepted into this graduate program, an acceptable GRE score is necessary.


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Substance Abuse Counselor Master's Degree Program

Substance abuse counseling master's degree programs teach methods of treating substance abuse among adolescents and adults as well as substance abuse prevention strategies. Most programs include a clinical internship so students will gain necessary experience in addition to core classes. Possible course topics include:

  • Group counseling techniques
  • Treating drug and alcohol abuse
  • Advanced individual counseling, assessment and diagnosis
  • Role of the family in rehabilitation
  • Contemporary issues in drug and alcohol abuse
  • Preventing substance abuse

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor prospects were expected to exhibit faster than average growth from 2014 to 2024, increasing by 22%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The mean salary for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was $42,920 in May 2015. The bottom ten percent made $25,860 or less per year in 2015, and the top ten percent earned $63,030, according to the BLS.

Continuing Education

Master's in substance abuse counseling graduates should be eligible for certification or licensure, the requirements of which vary by state. Those wishing 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 doctoral degree could lead to additional career advancement opportunities.

Students who are interested in becoming a substance abuse counselor must obtain a M.S. in Substance Abuse Counseling and complete clinical hours. Upon completing the program, students must be licensed in their state to practice and help individuals who are addicted to substances.

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