Substance Abuse Counseling Associate Degree Programs

The substance abuse counseling associate's degree program prepares students to provide counseling, career advice and therapeutic services to substance abusers and their families. The program includes training in drug, alcohol and crisis intervention, along with courses in psychology and communication.

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Essential Information

Most of these programs take about two years to complete, and clinical experience may be required. Depending on the state, graduation from an associate's program in substance abuse counseling may prepare students for licensure in the field, though it's important for students to check with their respective state boards for details.

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Associate's Degree in Substance Abuse Counseling

In order to enter into an associate's degree program in substance abuse counseling, students must have a high school diploma and a strong GPA. Many programs in this field have competitive entry; as a result, extracurricular activities and community involvement are viewed as positive points in the application process. The courses offered in this associate's degree program focus mainly on the social sciences, with a secondary concentration on medical knowledge. Common courses may include:

  • Counseling theories
  • Case management
  • Psychology
  • Communication
  • Multicultural counseling

Popular Career Options

In some states, an associate's degree in substance abuse counseling can prepare students for licensure or certification as substance abuse counselors. In fact, some states may only require a high school diploma along with on-the-job training. However, substance abuse counselors who open private practices in most states must hold a master's degree and have completed 2,000-4,000 hours of clinical experience. Students should check their state's regulations for more information. Some job titles for graduates of associate's programs may include:

  • Human services assistant
  • Substance abuse counselor
  • Adolescent counselor
  • Halfway house director

Continuing Education

The next step on the educational path for a graduate of the associate's program in substance abuse counseling is decidedly a bachelor's degree. There are several types of bachelor's degrees offered in this area of interest, including fields such as counseling, psychology and social work.

Substance abuse counseling is administered at the associate's degree level with courses on things like counseling theory, communication, and psychology. For employment, potential counselors will need clinical experience.

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