Best Online Addiction Studies Degree Programs of 2022

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

Addiction studies is the scientific study of addiction, its causes, and its treatment. Addiction studies degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in the field of addiction, including addiction counseling, social work, and addiction medicine.

Addiction studies degrees offer a broad overview of addiction, covering topics such as the biology of addiction, the psychology of addiction, and the sociology of addiction. Students in addiction studies degree programs learn about the different theories of addiction, and how to apply those theories to the treatment of addiction.

How to Choose the Right Addiction Studies Program

When choosing an addiction studies degree 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 highest standards for addiction studies education.

Other important factors to consider include the cost of the program, the length of the program, and the location of the program. Many addiction studies programs are offered online, which can be a more affordable option for students. However, online programs may not be as comprehensive as in-person programs, so students should make sure that the program they choose will meet their needs.

Prospective students should also research the curriculum of the programs they are considering. Addiction studies programs should offer coursework in topics like psychology, sociology, and biology. Students should make sure that the program they choose offers the courses they need to complete their degree.

Finally, students should consider their career goals when choosing an addiction studies program. Some programs offer specializations in areas like substance abuse counseling or social work. Students should choose a program that offers the courses and specialization they need to pursue their desired career.

Best Online Bachelor’s in Addiction Studies Programs

The best online programs for Addiction Studies 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
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 4
Alvernia University
Reading, PA

The Bachelor of Arts in Addictions and Mental Health Treatment online degree from Alvernia University prepares students for a career in the field of behavioral healthcare. The program provides students with the academic credentials required to take the certified alcohol and drug counselor (CADC) certification. The program is flexible and can be completed entirely online. Students will learn from experienced faculty and gain practical, real-world skills that will help them work with the intervention, prevention, treatment and recovery from addiction and other mental illnesses.

Rank 5
University of South Dakota
Vermillion, SD

The Bachelor of Science in Addiction Counseling and Prevention from University of South Dakota is a program that will teach students how to provide the highest quality counseling to individuals experiencing substance abuse or substance dependence. On-campus students will gain hands-on experiences alongside future practitioners in a variety of disciplines.

Rank 6
Purdue University Global
West Lafayette, IN

The Bachelor of Science in Psychology in Addictions degree from Purdue University Global focuses on the scientific approach to problem solving and applying psychological principles to personal, social, and organizational issues. Students will study the process of addiction, pharmacology, the recovery process, prevention, and case-management skills. The degree is offered online and is accredited by the National Association of Addiction Professionals.

Rank 7
Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Natchitoches, LA

The Bachelor of Science in Addiction Studies from Northwestern State University of Louisiana offers an understanding of the human mind, addictive behaviors, and advances in addiction counseling. The program provides training for students entering the workforce or going on to a doctoral program.

Rank 8
Washburn University
Topeka, KS

The Bachelor of Science in Family & Human Services – Addiction Counseling degree from Washburn University is designed to prepare students for a career as an addiction counselor. The program is flexible, with students able to complete the degree online or through a mix of online and on-campus courses. The program is also designed to be completed in a fast-track schedule, with full-time and part-time options available. The program includes two internships, allowing students to gain real-world experience in the field.

Rank 9
Southern New Hampshire University
Manchester, NH

The Bachelor of Arts in Human Services with a concentration in Substance Abuse from Southern New Hampshire University is an online program that prepares students for a career in substance abuse counseling. The program provides students with the knowledge and skills necessary to help those with substance use disorders on the road to recovery. The program includes coursework in social work, psychology, and human services. The program also includes a practicum in which students gain hands-on experience working with clients.

Rank 10
Liberty University
Lynchburg, VA

Liberty University’s Bachelor of Science in Addictions and Recovery Psychology degree is designed to help students learn how to assess, diagnose, and develop treatment plans for those struggling with addiction. The program is 100% online and can be completed in 3.5 years. Courses cover topics such as social psychology, the integration of psychology and Christianity, and the assessment and treatment of substance abuse.

What to Expect From an Online Bachelor’s in Addiction Studies Program

The coursework for an online bachelor’s in addiction studies program focuses on the causes, effects, and treatment of addiction. Students learn about different types of addiction, risk factors, and how to provide support to those struggling with addiction. The program also covers topics like psychology, sociology, and human development.

Most programs require around 120 credits and can be completed in four years. Many programs offer specializations, such as substance abuse counseling or prevention, to allow students to tailor the degree to their specific interests.

To succeed in an online bachelor’s in addiction studies program, students need to be self-motivated and able to manage their time effectively. The program requires strong reading and writing skills, as well as the ability to interact with others in an online environment.

Common Addiction Studies Courses

Addiction studies degree programs prepare students for work in the field of addiction counseling. Classes typically cover topics like the following.


This course covers the causes, effects, and treatment of alcoholism. Emphasis is placed on the physical, psychological, and sociological aspects of alcoholism and its impact on the individual, family, and society. Upon completion, students should be able to describe the causes and effects of alcoholism and its impact on the individual, family, and society, and apply treatment modalities to individuals with alcoholism.

Basic Pharmacology

This course covers the study of how drugs work in the body, how they are metabolized, and how they interact with other substances. Topics include an overview of the body’s systems, an introduction to pharmacology terminology, the types of drugs used to treat addiction, and the effects of drugs on the brain and body. Upon completion, students should be able to understand the basic principles of pharmacology and how they apply to the treatment of addiction.

Ethics in Substance Abuse Counseling

This course examines the ethical and professional issues faced by counselors working in the field of substance abuse. Emphasis is placed on the development of ethical decision-making skills, application of professional codes of ethics, and integration of ethical principles into counseling practice. Upon completion, students should be able to apply ethical decision-making skills to resolve ethical dilemmas, apply professional codes of ethics to substance abuse counseling practice, and integrate ethical principles into counseling relationships.

Foundations of Group Work

This course covers the professional and ethical foundations of group work with a focus on the helping relationship, group development, and group process. Emphasis is placed on the dynamics of group interaction, group facilitation skills, and group counseling methods. Upon completion, students should be able to apply group counseling methods to a variety of settings and populations.

Assessment and Treatment Planning

This course covers the process of assessment and treatment planning with clients who have Substance Use Disorders (SUDs). Students will learn how to administer and interpret a variety of assessment tools, as well as how to use the information gathered to develop an individualized treatment plan that takes into account the client’s unique circumstances. The course will also cover the importance of involving the client in the treatment planning process, as well as how to involve the client’s family and support system. Upon completion, students should be able to administer and interpret a variety of assessment tools, develop an individualized treatment plan, and involve the client and their support system in the treatment planning process.

Career Options for Addiction Studies Graduates

Graduates of addiction studies programs work in a variety of fields and industries, including addiction counseling, social work, and psychology. They may also work in fields such as substance abuse treatment, criminal justice, and public health.

Alcohol and Drug Counselor

Alcohol and drug counselors work with individuals who have problems with alcohol or drug abuse. As a counselor, you would help patients understand the nature of their addiction, develop coping and recovery strategies, and set goals for sobriety. You might also provide referrals for other services, such as medical care or housing. Counselors typically work in outpatient settings, such as community mental health centers, but they may also work in hospitals, residential treatment facilities, or private practices.

Case Manager

Case managers work with individuals and families to connect them with the resources they need to improve their lives. This can involve everything from providing referrals for medical or mental health services to helping clients find housing or employment. Case managers also work to ensure that clients are making progress and meeting their goals, which can require regular check-ins, documenting progress, and connecting clients with additional resources as needed.

Health Educator

Health educators teach people about healthy lifestyles. They develop and implement strategies to improve the health of individuals and communities. Health educators work in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, clinics, community centers, and businesses. They may develop educational materials, lead groups or classes, and provide one-on-one counseling.

Correctional Program Therapist

Correctional program therapists work in prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities to provide mental health and substance abuse treatment to inmates. They develop individualized treatment plans, provide counseling and therapy, and collaborate with other members of the inmate’s treatment team. Correctional program therapists may also provide crisis intervention, anger management training, and other programs designed to help inmates successfully reenter society after their release.

Recovery Coach

Recovery coaches work with people who are in the process of recovering from addiction. They provide support and guidance as their clients navigate the often-difficult road to sobriety. In some cases, recovery coaches may also be responsible for connecting their clients to resources like housing, employment, and healthcare. Recovery coaches typically have personal experience with addiction and recovery, and they use that experience to help their clients.

Insights From an Addiction Studies Graduate

Brandon Le is a Case Manager at the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation. He has a bachelor’s degree in addiction studies from the University of Minnesota. Brandon has over 7 years of experience working in the addiction and recovery field.

ClimbtheLadder: What would you recommend that students do in addition to their degree program, in order to stand out to employers?

Brandon Le: I would recommend that students get involved in as many internships and/or volunteer opportunities as possible. Employers want to see that you have experience working in the field and that you are passionate about helping others.

In addition, I would recommend that students get involved in professional organizations related to their field of study. This is a great way to network with other professionals and to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in the field.

ClimbtheLadder: What type of person is successful and thrives in an Addiction Studies career?

Brandon Le: I would say that a successful person in an Addiction Studies career is someone who is passionate about helping others and who is also very patient. This field can be very challenging and frustrating at times, so it is important to be able to have a lot of patience. It is also important to be able to be very flexible because things can change very quickly in this field.

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

Brandon Le: I didn’t expect the program to be as difficult as it was. I thought it would be a lot of common sense, but there was a lot of science and research that went into it. I also didn’t realize how much the program would focus on the 12-step program.


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