Drug Counselor Undergraduate Program Overviews

Undergraduate students can find certificate programs in substance abuse counseling that often complement a related associate's or bachelor's degree program. These certificate programs can range from 3-10 courses and often take a year or two to complete.

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Essential Information

Drug counselor undergraduate programs not only cover drug counseling, but also other addictive behaviors, such as gambling, eating or compulsive spending. However, even with this additional undergraduate training, a master's degree could be required to obtain state licensure as a counselor. Program prerequisites vary according to the degree level of the human services or counseling programs.

Drug Counselor Undergraduate Programs

Students who pursue a certificate in drug counseling do so in conjunction with their current enrollment in either a human services or counseling program. Consequently certificate programs indirectly have the same requirements as their parent degree programs, whether an associate's degree or bachelor's degree. Typically, it takes students between one and two years to complete the coursework, which covers a range of topics related to addiction and proper counseling technique. It is common for classes to utilize guest speakers, which may be counselors or patients, to help illustrate concepts with real-world examples. Common courses include:

  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Group dynamics
  • Modalities of treatment
  • Counseling techniques
  • Community resources

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted that employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors would grow 22% between 2014 and 2024, which is much faster than average. The lowest-paid substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors made less $25,860 per year, as of May 2015, while the top-paid earned more than $63,030 annually (

Individuals enrolled in an undergraduate human services or counseling program may seek additional training to obtain a certificate in substance abuse counseling.

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