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Best Online Addiction Counseling Programs of 2022

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Best Online Addiction Counseling Programs

Many online addiction counseling programs offer an asynchronous course structure. This can allow you to earn a degree while gaining clinical experience. Here are our 10 favorite shows.

Addiction and behavioral disorders counselors support patients struggling with problems such as gambling, substance abuse, and alcoholism.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that all 50 states require a full license for counselors in private practice, including substance abuse and behavioral disorders specialists. The requirements for addiction counselors outside of private practice vary by state. Some states require a college degree and/or passing a licensing or certification exam for addiction counselors.

An online addiction counseling degree helps students develop the foundational knowledge and skills needed to enter the workforce. The best online programs also prepare prospective consultants to meet their state’s licensing requirements, including the exam. The online format is ideal for students who need to balance schoolwork with other commitments such as childcare or work.

Learn what to expect and what you can do with an addiction counseling degree online in this comprehensive guide.

What Can I Expect from an Online Course in Addiction Counseling?

In the Online Addiction Counseling courses, students acquire basic knowledge of psychopharmacology, case management and addiction treatment. They also develop interpersonal skills such as empathy, communication, and listening.

Most undergraduate addiction and substance use disorder counseling programs require students to complete about 120 credits. Students can complete a four-year full-time course. However, online students may take longer if they enroll part-time. Most programs combine core courses with research and internship opportunities to gain experience in the field.

Most addiction majors are concentrations within larger programs in areas such as psychology counseling, or sociology. As a result, these courses usually do not offer any further specialization options.

Which Courses Do I Take in an Online Course in Addiction Counseling?

Case Management

In this course, participants will learn collaborative patient case management through assessment, planning, and monitoring to determine treatment options. The coursework prepares students for entry-level roles as case managers.

Basics of Addiction

Topics covered in this course include the definition of addiction, chemical dependency, medical and psychiatric complications, and family implications. Students also delve into evaluation and diagnosis, intervention, treatment approaches, and ethical issues in addiction counseling.

Behavioral Disorders

In this course, students examine behavioral disorders from psychological, cultural, and sociological perspectives. Applicants often complete this course in one of their first semesters.

Group Counseling Dynamics

During this course, students will delve into the principles underlying the group counseling process, including trauma-informed care and communication techniques.

Psychopharmacology

Psychopharmacology is the study of the use of drugs to treat mental disorders. In this course, students learn about pharmacodynamics, or what recreational and prescription drugs do to the body, and pharmacokinetics, or what the body does to drugs.

What are the Admission Requirements for an Online Course in Addiction Counseling?

Acceptance rates for online and in-person addiction counseling degree programs tend to be the same. Below we go into the general admission requirements.

Application

For the admissions process, students must submit their personal details along with information about their previous education and work experience. Some majors require the student to simultaneously submit a Free Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) Application to qualify for financial aid.

Test Scores

While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many colleges to waive SAT and ACT score requirements, some schools still require prospective students to submit standardized test scores to demonstrate math, verbal, analytical, and written skills. Admissions departments use these tests to screen applicants and determine course placement.

Letter of Recommendation

Many colleges also require 1-3 letters of recommendation. Students can request these letters from teachers, school counselors, or even pastors and church leaders. Be sure to ask your referees at least a few months in advance so they have plenty of time to write.

Essays

Although not all colleges require an essay, they generally serve two purposes: to learn more about you and to test your writing skills. Be sure to respect all parameters, including the number of words.

Official Transcripts

Most colleges require official transcripts from all previous schools, including the colleges you attended. If you are transferring from a community college, your new school will use these documents to determine how many transfer credits it will award you.

What Can I Do With an Online Substance Abuse Counseling Degree?

Career Prospect

In general, the nation is more aware than ever of the importance of mental health and counseling. Between 2020 and 2030, the BLS predicts a 23 percent job growth for behavioral disorders, substance abuse, and mental health counselors. This rate is nearly triple the projected average job growth rate for all occupations (8%). These professionals earned an average annual salary of $47,660 in May 2020.

Career Paths

Substance Use Disorder Counselor

Addiction counselors play a key role in treating and counseling people with alcohol, drug, or other addiction problems. They work in a variety of settings, including psychiatric and community health centers, private facilities, and correctional facilities.

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Many states require addiction counselors to be licensed or to work under the direction of another licensed counselor.

Average annual salary: $47,660

Social Services Coordinator

Human service coordinators administer and supervise programs and organizations that support public welfare. They typically work for non-profit organizations, private companies, and sometimes government agencies. In some cases, they may work directly with individuals and groups in a counseling setting.

Average annual salary: $69,600

Health Advisor

A health counselor often speaks about substance abuse to educate clients and groups about health and wellness in general. They offer individual and group counseling and typically work full time for a nonprofit organization, government organization, or private health or medical group.

Average annual salary: $47,660

Correctional Treatment Specialist

Correctional treatment specialists often work in prisons or other law enforcement agencies, helping offenders overcome substance abuse, mental illness, and other factors that may have influenced or triggered criminal behavior.

Most positions require a license, and depending on their role, prosecution specialists may be required to pass a background check and receive law enforcement training.

Average annual salary: $55,690

Continuous Education

Many states require a certain number of continuing education credits for an addiction counselor to maintain her license. Most consultants who wish to move into administrative or management positions must obtain at least a master’s degree.

Before continuing with education, prospective students should explore the best addiction counseling programs to select the option that best suits their needs.

How Do I Choose an Online Bachelor’s in Addiction Counseling Program?

Cost

Before choosing a school, students should consider the actual costs of the program beyond tuition, including living expenses, housing, and books. Distance students can save money on their education by avoiding certain campus fees and transportation costs. Students can often make the biggest savings by attending in-state public colleges rather than out-of-state private schools.

Program Format

Distance learners must determine whether they want to take courses synchronously or asynchronously. Synchronous programs require students to participate in scheduled live online sessions. Asynchronous programs provide additional flexibility by allowing students to meet deadlines around their schedule.

Location

Students often struggle with the decision to take classes online rather than in person. There are pros and cons for each. For instance, if you enroll at a local university and take online courses, students can arrange their schedules to include attending some important courses in person. In addition, some online programs contain elements that are required on campus.

Second, some counseling programs require internships. It is often easier to find internships if you live close to the campus.

Accreditation

Accreditation gives students and prospective employers’ confidence that they meet professional training standards. Although there are over 40,000 colleges in the United States, not all are accredited. You should only enroll in schools that are regionally accredited, as you cannot receive federal financial aid at non-accredited colleges.

Student Support

Supporting students makes a huge difference in student success and outcomes, particularly for distance learners. Many programs offer internship opportunities and additional student services such as career counseling.

Distance learners can also access online tutoring and tutoring through their school’s student services.

2022 Best Accredited Online Bachelor in Addiction Counseling Programs

How We Rate Schools

We believe that a college education is one of the most important investments you can make. We aim to help you navigate the college selection process by providing you with a transparent, inclusive and relevant school ranking.

Our rankings are based on a few guiding principles and use the latest available statistical data from trusted sources. We hope our approach helps you find the best school for you.

#1 Online College in Kansas

Ottawa University-Online

School Information

Location: Ottawa, Kansas

Institution Type: Private

Accreditation: Yes

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit

In State | $399

Out of State | $399

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | No

Based in Kansas, OU administers a fully online Bachelor of Science in Substance Abuse Counseling. Enrollers explore addiction research and theory. Aspiring counselors learn to screen and assess clients, plan their treatment, and provide addiction treatment services. The program examines crisis intervention and group search counseling.

An internship component provides hands-on experience. Students use eight-week semesters to complete the degree faster. Admission to the Bachelor of Substance Abuse Counseling requires a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Learn more about this program

#2 Online College in Indiana

Indiana Wesleyan University

School Information

Location: Marion, Indiana

Graduation Rate: 38%

Institution Type: Private

Accreditation: Yes

Percent Online Enrollment: 97%

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit

In State | $392

Out of State | $392

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Credits to Graduate: 120

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | Yes

The Bachelor of Science in Addiction Counseling at the IWU is a degree program. Students complete 48 credits online in 22 months. They examine personality theories, addiction theories, and explore the relationship between family life and substance abuse.

Students develop addiction counseling skills and learn to practice with groups. Participants complete 350 hours of training at an accredited facility. At least 60 credits and all university certificates are required for admission to the Addiction Counseling Bachelor’s degree.

Learn more about this program

#3 Online College in New Hampshire

Southern New Hampshire University

School Information

Location: Manchester, New Hampshire

Admission Rate: 88%

Graduation Rate: 44%

Institution Type: Private

Accreditation: Yes

Percent Online Enrollment: 94%

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit

In State | $350

Out of State | $350

Credits to Graduate: 120 credits

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | No

SNHU offers a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a focus on substance abuse. The 120-credit program gives students a solid foundation in psychology. Students study concepts such as the development of life and abnormal psychology. An integrated Certificate in Data Literacy in Psychology teaches students how to synthesize and disseminate theory and data.

The 12-credit concentration addresses current addiction issues. Participants learn the counseling process and techniques. Students can transfer up to 90 credits to this online bachelor’s degree in substance abuse counseling. A high school diploma or GED certificate is required for admission.

Learn more about this program

#4 Online College in Pennsylvania

Alvernia University

School Information

Location: Reading, Pennsylvania

Admission Rate: 64%

Graduation Rate: 63%

Institution Type: Private

Accreditation: Yes

Percent Online Enrollment: 27%

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit

In State | $515

Out of State | $515

Credits to Graduate: 123

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | No

Alvernia offers one of the nation’s oldest undergraduate programs in substance abuse counseling through a 31-55 credit liberal arts core. Students can complete the Bachelor of Arts in Mental Health and Addiction Treatment online in 2 to 4 years. The degree prepares students for certification as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor.

The specialty teaches how to recognize and manage crisis situations using counseling techniques. Specialized courses cover topics such as case management and treatment planning. Students complete an internship that includes 400 agency hours on site. Admission requires a high school diploma or GED scores and at least a 2.0 GPA.

Learn more about this program

#5 Online College in Minnesota

Crown College

School Information

Location: Saint Bonifacius, Minnesota

Admission Rate: 50%

Graduation Rate: 50%

Institution Type: Private

Accreditation: Yes

Percent Online Enrollment: 68%

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit

In State | $425

Out of State | $425

Credits to Graduate: 125

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | Yes

Program Information
Degree Completion Program | Yes

Crown’s Bachelor of Science in Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counseling can lead to licensing as an addiction counselor. The full online program requires Christian study and a general education core. The specialty explores topics in abnormal psychology and psychopharmacology. Students learn case management, counseling methods, and treatment assessment and planning skills.

Participants complete 880 hours of internship in a clinical setting. The degree meets the eligibility requirements to be a licensed alcohol and drug counselor in Minnesota and other states. Students may apply for credit toward the Bachelor of Substance Abuse Counseling. Admission requires a high school diploma or GED certificate and a minimum GPA of 2.0.

Learn more about this program

#6 Online College in Indiana

Purdue University Global

School Information

Location: West Lafayette, Indiana

Graduation Rate: 27%

Accreditation: Yes

Percent Online Enrollment: 99%

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit

In State | $371/credit

Out of State | $371/credit

Credits to Graduate: 120

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | No

Program Accreditation | National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission

The Bachelor of Science in Addiction Psychology offers a nationally recognized curriculum. In four years, students complete 120 semester assignments entirely online. Participants explore addiction, prevention, and the recovery process. The degree meets the educational requirements to pass the National Certified Addiction Counselor Level I and II exams.

Purdue Global offers a generous referral policy. Multiple start dates provide flexibility when signing up. Admission to the Bachelor of Substance Abuse Counseling requires a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Learn more about this program

#7 Online College in Pennsylvania

Clarks Summit University

School Information

Location: South Abington Township, Pennsylvania

Admission Rate: 41%

Graduation Rate: 88%

Institution Type: Private

Accreditation: Yes

Percent Online Enrollment: 64%

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit

In State | $880

Out of State | $880

Credits to Graduate: 120

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | No

Clarks Summit University offers a Bachelor of Science in Substance Abuse Counseling online. Students explore counseling theories and techniques from a biblical worldview and are trained to work in addiction treatment centers and as lay counselors. Candidates study behavioral addictions, substance addictions, and crisis counseling.

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All students take a course on the dynamics of discipleship. Students use 21 elective points to tailor their addiction counseling degree. Admission requirements include SAT or ACT scores and a high school GPA of at least 2.0.

Learn more about this program

#8 Online College in Ohio

University of Cincinnati

School Information

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Admission Rate: 77%

Graduation Rate: 71%

Accreditation: Yes

Percent Online Enrollment: 49%

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit

In State | $455

Out of State | $455

Credits to Graduate: 60-120

The Bachelor of Science in Addiction Counseling at UC enrolls both freshman and transfer students. The fully online program incorporates the latest research and best practices. The degree prepares students for Ohio Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor qualifications II and III.

Students can graduate in two years if they transfer 60 credits. The Addiction Counseling Bachelor’s degree offers full-time and part-time enrollment. Admission requires a minimum GPA of 2.7 in high school and a minimum GPA of 2.0 for transfer students.

Learn more about this program

#9 Online College in Massachusetts

Springfield College

School Information

Location: Springfield, Massachusetts

Institution Type: Private

Accreditation: Yes

Percent Online Enrollment: 86%

100% Online or Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit

In State | $500

Out of State | $500

Credits to Graduate: 120

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | No

Springfield’s Bachelor of Science in Human Services includes a concentration in addiction studies. Registrants complete 120 credits entirely online or in a hybrid format. The major examines social and political issues in substance abuse and addiction counseling. Students use electives to learn skills in case management and crisis intervention.

An elective examines public health policies related to obesity and binge eating. Students can earn up to 75 credits for this bachelor’s degree in addiction counseling. Admission requires a high school diploma or GED certificate and transcripts.

Learn more about this program

#10 Online College in New York

SUNY Empire State College

School Information

Location: Saratoga Springs, New York

Graduation Rate: 25%

Accreditation: Yes

Percent Online Enrollment: 66%

100% Online or Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Average Cost per Credit

In State | $295

Out of State | $353

Credits to Graduate: 124

Program Information

Degree Completion Program | No

At SUNY Empire State College, students can earn a Bachelor of Science in Addiction Studies. Students complete 124 credits entirely online or in a blended format. The program helps meet the New York State Board Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor exam requirements.

Students explore case management and crisis intervention. All students acquire help and advice skills. They examine the use of interventions for substance abuse. Admission to the online bachelor’s degree in addiction counseling requires a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Learn more about this program

FAQ About the Addiction Counseling Course

Is It Worth Studying Addiction Counseling?

Yes, a bachelor’s degree in addiction counseling offers graduates employment opportunities in high-demand fields. In the United States, more than ever, people are aware of the importance of mental health and the dangers of substance abuse. Graduates can fill a great need.

What Can I Do With an Addiction Counseling Degree?

After earning their license, graduates can pursue careers as drug and addiction counselors. They may also work as social services coordinators and correctional treatment specialists.

Are Addiction Counseling Specializations in High Demand?

Yes, between 2020 and 2030, the BLS forecasts 23% job growth for addiction, behavior and mental health counselors. This means more than 75,000 new jobs in this area during this period. For comparison, the projected average growth rate for all occupations over this period is 8%.

How Much Money Can I Make With an Addiction Counseling Degree?

According to BLS, mental health, behavioral and substance abuse counselors earned a median annual salary of $47,660 as of May 2020. Those who worked for the government earned the highest average annual salary at $54,070.

Potential salary depends on employer, location, title, and experience. The industry’s top 10% made an average annual salary of more than $78,700 as of May 2020, while the bottom 10% made less than $30,590.

What are the Highest Paying Jobs With Bachelors in Addiction Counseling?

Graduates who can advance to social and community service administrators can earn the highest salaries. According to the BLS, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $69,600 as of May 2020. Please note that these positions require significant professional experience in addition to a relevant bachelor’s degree.

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