Best Addiction Counseling Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Addiction Counseling programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Addiction counseling is the process of helping people who are struggling with addiction to overcome their addiction and to lead healthy, productive lives. Addiction counselors work with people who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, gambling, and other substances and behaviors.

Addiction counseling is a growing field, as more and more people are struggling with addiction. Addiction counselors are in demand in a wide variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, and private practice.

Addiction counseling degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in addiction counseling, including clinical social work, marriage and family therapy, and family therapy. Students in addiction counseling degree programs learn about the different theories and techniques of addiction counseling, and how to apply those techniques to help people overcome their addiction.

How to Choose the Right Addiction Counseling Program

When choosing an addiction counseling program, there are many things to consider. The most important factor is whether the program is accredited by the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC). This ensures that the program meets the high standards set by the profession. Other important factors to consider include the program’s curriculum, faculty, cost, and location.

The curriculum is important because it will determine what you learn and how you will be prepared for your career. Make sure the program you choose covers the topics you are interested in and provides the opportunity to gain the skills you need. The faculty is also important. Look for instructors who are experienced in the field and who can provide you with the guidance and support you need.

Cost is another important consideration. Make sure you understand the tuition and fees associated with the program and whether you will be able to afford it. Location is also important. Consider whether you want to study in a rural or urban area and whether you are willing to relocate.

Choosing the right addiction counseling program is an important decision. Make sure you do your research and choose a program that meets your needs.

Best Bachelor’s in Addiction Counseling Programs

The best programs for Addiction Counseling ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion
Marion, IN

The Bachelor of Science in Addiction Counseling from Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion is a 22-month program that provides an in-depth education from a Christian perspective for persons who desire to understand and/or serve addicted persons and their families. Most coursework is completed online, with practicums offered at mutually agreed-upon sites. The program is designed to provide students with an understanding of addiction counseling from a Christian perspective, as well as the skills necessary to work with addicted persons and their families.

Rank 2
Springfield College
Springfield, MA

The Bachelor of Science in Human Services With Concentration in Addiction Studies degree from Springfield College is designed to prepare students to become effective addiction professionals. The program provides students with the skills, knowledge, and competencies needed to work in addiction-focused health care organizations. The multidisciplinary approach to addictions in the program gives students a well-rounded education in the field. Students can expect to take courses on topics such as substance abuse, addictions counseling, and crisis intervention.

Rank 3
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN

The Bachelor of Science in Human Services – Addiction Studies degree from Purdue University is designed for students interested in pursuing a career in addiction counseling. The program is carefully aligned with the requirements of Indiana’s bachelor’s-level, pre-supervision license in the field of addiction counseling.

Rank 4
University of Cincinnati
Cincinnati, OH

The University of Cincinnati offers a Bachelor of Science in Substance Abuse Counseling that is 100% online and designed to be completed in 2-4 years. The program is transfer-friendly and offers start dates in the spring, summer, and fall. The degree is designed to help students gain the knowledge, competencies, and skills needed to begin a career working with addicted persons or to advance their professional credentials. The program is accredited and meets the academic requirements for licensure. Financial aid is available for those who qualify.

Rank 5
Bay Path University
Longmeadow, MA

Bay Path University’s Bachelor of Arts in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling is a great choice for students interested in exploring the causes of substance abuse disorders and developing the skills to assess, diagnose, and treat people with substance disorders. The program includes an intensive 300-hour internship to help students develop and refine their counseling skills in a supervised, clinical environment. Students in the program will also take courses such as Drugs and Behavior, Addictions and Intervention, and Counseling Diverse Populations.

Rank 6
Saint Cloud State University
Saint Cloud, MN

The Bachelor of Arts in Addiction Counseling from Saint Cloud State University is a program that prepares students to work with individuals who have addiction problems. The program focuses on a person-centered and individualized approach to treating addiction, which includes both traditional abstinence-based treatment and harm reduction. The curriculum incorporates cross-cultural competency throughout coursework and includes education and training opportunities to work with a variety of specialized populations.

Rank 7
Frostburg State University
Frostburg, MD

The Bachelor of Science in Addictions Counseling from Frostburg State University is designed to meet the education requirements for Maryland certification in counseling. The program emphasizes modern, research-based techniques and requires 33 credit hours of specific courses in alcohol and drug counselor training. The degree program also includes a supervised field experience, which is a requirement of the Maryland State Addiction Counselor license.

Rank 8
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM

The Bachelor of Science in Basics in Addiction Counseling from University of New Mexico is a concentration within the Psychology Major that provides academic coursework and applied clinical experience to help prepare students for careers in the addiction counseling field.

Psychology graduates with the BAC concentration will have completed all coursework requirements to become a Licensed Substance Abuse Associate (LSAA) and Licensed Alcohol/Drug Abuse Counselor (LADAC), pending approval by the NM Counseling and Therapy Practice Board. The program emphasizes clinical practice based in scientific knowledge, informed by a commitment to provide services to persons in need, and adherence to the highest of ethical standards.

Rank 9
Texas Tech University
Lubbock, TX

The Counseling and Addiction Recovery Sciences (CARS) degree at Texas Tech University prepares students for a career in Human Services and provides a strong foundation for graduate coursework in counseling, couple, marriage, and family therapy, addiction counseling, and other helping fields. Students can choose to complete an optional concentration in Applied Relational Counseling or Addictive Disorders and Recovery Studies.

Rank 10
Fort Hays State University
Hays, KS

The Bachelor of Arts in Addictions Counseling from Fort Hays State University is a degree that allows students to become a licensed addictions counselor in the State of Kansas. The degree is focused on providing students with the knowledge and skills necessary to work with individuals and groups in a variety of settings who are dealing with addiction. The degree consists of core sociology courses, addictions counseling track courses, and general education program courses/elective courses. The addictions counseling track courses will provide students with an understanding of addiction, how to counsel individuals and groups dealing with addiction, and how to manage addiction clients.

What to Expect From a Bachelor’s in Addiction Counseling Program

A bachelor’s in addiction counseling is designed to prepare students for careers working with individuals and families affected by substance abuse and addiction. The program typically requires 120 credits, including general education coursework, major classes, and an internship.

Courses cover topics like human development, psychopathology, and crisis intervention. Students also learn about the stages of addiction, treatment methods, and how to create individualized treatment plans. Most programs include a practicum or internship, which gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with clients.

To succeed in a bachelor’s in addiction counseling program, students need to be self-motivated and disciplined. They should also have strong time management and communication skills.

Common Addiction Counseling Courses

Addiction counseling degree programs typically offer a mix of classroom instruction and clinical experience. The courses below are some examples of what students might take while working toward an addiction counseling degree.


This course covers the major types of mental disorders and the psychological, social, and biological factors that contribute to their development and maintenance. The course also covers the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders. Upon completion, students should be able to understand the major types of mental disorders, the factors that contribute to their development and maintenance, and the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of mental disorders.

Pharmacology of Substance Abuse

This course covers the basic mechanisms of action, effects, and side effects of drugs of abuse. Topics include the physiology of drug action, the relationship of drug action to drug dependence and abuse, and the use of drugs in the treatment of substance abuse disorders. Upon completion, students should be able to explain how drugs work in the body, how different drugs produce different effects, and how drug abuse can lead to dependence and addiction.

Ethics in Substance Abuse Counseling

This course covers the ethical and professional issues faced by counselors in the field of substance abuse. Emphasis is placed on the American Counseling Association’s (ACA) Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, as well as the ethical codes of other professional organizations. Topics include professional identity, values, and relationships; confidentiality and privileged communication; legal and professional liability; diagnosis and treatment; research and publication; and professional development. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the ACA Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice to ethical decision-making in substance abuse counseling, and identify other ethical codes that may apply to their professional practice.

Assessment and Treatment Planning

This course provides an overview of the assessment and treatment planning process for clients with substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders. Emphasis is placed on the use of the diagnostic process, the development of treatment goals and objectives, and the selection of treatment modalities. Upon completion, students should be able to apply the assessment and treatment planning process to clients with substance abuse and co-occurring mental health disorders.

Group Counseling for Addiction Recovery

This course covers group counseling methods and techniques for addiction recovery. Topics include group process, group dynamics, group development, group structure, group leadership, and group facilitation. Emphasis is placed on the application of group counseling methods and techniques to addiction counseling. Upon completion, students should be able to apply group counseling methods and techniques to addiction counseling.

Career Options for Addiction Counseling Graduates

Addiction counselors work in a variety of settings, including treatment centers, rehabilitation facilities, and social service agencies. They help people struggling with addiction to overcome their challenges and lead healthy, productive lives.

Substance Abuse Counselor

Substance abuse counselors work with patients who suffer from addiction and help them make changes to their lifestyle in order to recover. In this role, you would provide individual and group counseling, develop treatment plans, and offer support to patients as they work to overcome addiction. You would also keep records of patients’ progress and collaborate with other members of the treatment team, which may include doctors, nurses, and social workers.

Health Educator

Health educators teach people about healthy lifestyles and help them make choices that promote wellness. They work in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, community centers, and businesses. Health educators typically have a bachelor’s degree in health education, public health, or a related field. Some states have certification programs for health educators, and many employers prefer to hire certified health educators.

Prevention Specialist

Prevention specialists work in a variety of settings, including schools, community organizations, and government agencies, to develop and implement programs aimed at preventing substance abuse, violence, and other risky behaviors. They often work with at-risk populations, such as youth, and use a variety of methods, including education, counseling, and peer mentoring, to prevent risky behaviors before they start. Prevention specialists typically have a background in social work, psychology, or a related field.

Outreach Coordinator

Outreach coordinators develop and implement strategies to raise awareness about a cause, product, or service. They also build relationships with potential customers, clients, or donors. Outreach coordinators typically work in the marketing or communications department of a company or organization and often have a background in marketing, communications, or public relations. Their day-to-day work might include creating and managing social media campaigns, planning and executing events, writing and distributing press releases, and developing marketing materials.

Correctional Program Therapist

Correctional program therapists work with individuals who have been convicted of crimes and are serving time in prison or jail, or who are on probation or parole. They provide a variety of services to help these individuals reintegrate into society, including individual and group therapy, anger management classes, and substance abuse counseling. Correctional program therapists also develop treatment plans, track progress, and collaborate with other members of the correctional team, such as probation officers.

Insights From an Addiction Counseling Graduate

Zachery Solis is a Licensed Professional Counselor at The Council on Alcohol and Drugs. He has a bachelor’s degree in addiction counseling from the University of South Florida. Zachery has over 7 years of experience in the counseling and mental health field.

ClimbtheLadder: How did you make the most of your Addiction Counseling degree program so that it prepared you for post-graduation jobs?

Zachery Solis: I made the most of my degree program by completing an internship in my field of interest. I also took advantage of the opportunity to study abroad. I believe that these two experiences helped me to stand out when applying for jobs after graduation.

ClimbtheLadder: What are the most rewarding aspects of your career? What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

Zachery Solis: The most rewarding aspect of my career is being able to help people through some of the most difficult times in their lives. It is very gratifying to see people make progress in their treatment and eventually recover from their addiction.

The most challenging aspect of my career is dealing with the high relapse rate among people with addiction. It can be very discouraging to see people make progress in treatment and then relapse.

ClimbtheLadder: Was there anything about your Addiction Counseling program that you didn’t expect or anticipate?

Zachery Solis: I think the biggest thing I didn’t expect was how much I would learn about myself. It’s not just about the addiction counseling program or the clients you work with, it’s also about your journey and how it has led you to this point in your life.

You learn a lot about the field of addiction counseling, but you also learn a lot about yourself and how to be a better counselor. I think that’s something that you can’t really learn in any other way.


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