Online Addiction Counseling Certification and Certificate Program Info

Essential Information

Several schools offer fully online certificate programs in addiction/substance abuse counseling. Many of these programs are open only to students with master's degrees and experience in other areas of counseling, while other programs will take students who are in graduate school or who have a bachelor's degree.

These programs consist of just a few courses, all available online at the student's convenience. Courses give students a general overview of counseling theory and practices, as well as information about substance abuse counseling specifically. Students learn about drug abuse prevention techniques and treatment methods for alcohol and drug addictions. They will also participate in discussions on contemporary issues in the field.

Students will need relevant work experience depending on which degree level they are completing. These online programs also require students to have a CD ROM drive, Windows XP or Mac OS X.

Addiction Counseling Certificate Program

Addictions and substance abuse counselors work with individuals who have issues with drugs, alcohol or gambling, among other addictions. An online graduate certificate in addiction counseling prepares students with the skills needed to provide healthcare services to people with addictions. Students learn about general theories in counseling, along with the counseling techniques used to treat patients.

Program Information and Requirements

Many certificate programs require a master's degree and prior professional experience as a prerequisite. Other programs are available to students with only an undergraduate degree or to those who are working towards their graduate degree.

Students will also need access to a computer with Internet access, and may need to meet minimum hardware and software requirements, such as Windows XP or Mac OS X, in addition to having a CD-ROM drive.

Popular Certificate-Level Courses

Coursework in a certificate program can be completed entirely online. Students learn about counseling theories and treatment protocol. Students access lectures and assignments through the school's choice of courseware, such as WebCT or Distance2Learn.

Addiction Recovery

This course focuses on theories of addiction and recovery and teaches students about the issues found in addictions counseling and different behavioral syndromes. Topics cover assessment, treatment, documentation, group counseling and working with specific addictions.


Psychopathology is the study of various mental and emotional disorders, along with their causes and treatments. Students also learn about preventative measures and making assessments using the DSM IV profiling tool.

Treating Addictions

This course in addiction treatment covers the major theories and standard practices used to treat addictions and compulsions. Students also learn to develop their own their own approaches to established treatment protocols.


The psychopharmacology course focuses on the classification of commonly used pharmaceutical drugs. Students learn about the effects, proper uses and side effects of various medications.

Family Counseling

A course in family counseling explores the ways the family system can affect addiction and recovery. Students learn how to combine a family systems approach with their knowledge of addiction.

Career Information

All states require that substance abuse counselors in private practice be licensed. The minimum requirements are a master's degree and 2,000 hours of clinical experience. Counselors must pass a competency exam and complete annual continuing education courses. Regulations for counselors not in private practice vary by state, but many require passing an examination. Students should check with their states to see if a certificate program complies with licensing and certification requirements.

Continuing Education Information

Requirements for substance abuse counseling certification vary by state. These requirements are usually satisfied by completing a minimum number of credit hours, along with clinical hours, in addition to taking an exam.

Students interested in addiction counseling can complete an online certificate program to learn about addiction recovery, treating addictions, and other counseling theories. These programs are fully online and can be completed at your own pace.

Next: View Schools
Created with Sketch. Link to this page

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?