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Online Substance Abuse Counseling Courses and Classes

Online coursework in substance abuse counseling can be taken as part of a bachelor's or master's degree program or to gain professional certification.

Online Courses in Substance Abuse Counseling

The following descriptions are for some commonly offered online substance abuse counseling courses.

  • Individual Substance Abuse Counseling Course: Students learn how to assess, diagnose and treat substance abusers in a one-on-one setting. They gain an understanding of how to recognize substance abuse and develop treatment plans for recovery.
  • Group Substance Abuse Counseling Course: Group facilitation and the understanding of small group dynamics are skills learned in this course. Students learn the importance of active counseling and how it is a necessary factor to help with the growth and recovery process of group members.
  • Substance Abuse Case Management Course: This course addresses the basic skills needed to effectively manage substance abuse client caseloads, including conducting intake interviews and making initial assessments. Students learn how to organize information and develop an individual plan of action for each client.
  • Prevention and Recovery of Substance Abuse Course: In this course, students learn how to deal with relapses in their clients. They learn about the factors that increase an abuser's desire for drugs and alcohol, as well as how to assist abusers in recognizing and preventing these triggers.
  • Health and Social Problems of Substance Abuse: In this course, students gain an understanding of the correlation between the high-risk behavior of substance abusers and infectious diseases. Students learn the history of health and social problems related to substance abuse and how diseases are transmitted. Strategies for prevention are also discussed.
  • Law, Ethics and Communicable Disease Course:Students enrolled in this course learn the basics of patient privacy laws and the Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPPA), and they also touch on topics such as STDs, sexual harassment and boundaries. Students also learn about legal issues as they relate to addiction and the criminal justice client.
  • Counseling Theory and Special Populations Course: In this course, students will cover the various strategies for treating drug and alcohol abusers. Topics include peer pressure, norms in society, stereotypes and special populations like disabled persons, prisoners and those in the LGBTQIA community.
  • Pharmacology and Mental Health Course: In this course, students will address the pharmacological aspects of drug addiction, including the history of drugs. Emphasis is also placed on areas of study like patterns of addiction, drug prevention, therapy and treatment.

Program Information

Students enrolled in online substance abuse counseling courses study counseling skills and the general theories needed to assist people in the process of substance abuse recovery. Most programs require some undergraduate or master's-level coursework prior to admission. In addition, some programs also require actual work experience in the field. Internships are mandatory for some online substance abuse counseling programs. These programs are offered via undergraduate and graduate certificates, in addition to bachelor's and master's degrees.

Online substance abuse counseling coursework prepares students for various human services careers, including positions as substance abuse counselors, mental health professionals, social workers, clergy members and police officers. Introductory-level courses can help students seeking the basic training for work in human services assistant roles.

Interested students can study online substance abuse counseling courses through undergraduate and graduate certificates, and bachelor's and master's degrees. Course topics include group counseling, pharmacology and mental health.


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