Substance Abuse Counselor Masters Degree Programs

Substance abuse counselors work with people who have drug, alcohol or other addictions and their families. 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 individuals, groups and families, as well as theory and research in substance abuse.

  • Prerequisites: Bachelor's degree and an acceptable GRE score.
  • Other Requirements: Clinical internship
  • Program Specializations: Alcohol abuse, drug abuse, clinical counseling.

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 an internship as well as classes such:

  • 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 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, and the top ten percent earned $61,420, 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.

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