Online Addiction Counseling Associates Degree Program Info
Addiction counseling is a field in which trained professionals provide treatment and support to those addicted to substances like drugs and alcohol. Associate's degree programs in addiction counseling can provide an educational foundation for further study in the field. This article provides an overview of the online learning methods used in an addictions counseling associate's degree program.
Those interested in pursuing full or partial online study of addiction counseling at the associate's degree level have a few options available to them, including an Associate of Applied Science in Human Services Technology with a concentration in substance abuse and an Associate of Science in Addictions Counseling. Addiction counseling associate's degree programs are generally available in a hybrid format, and some classes are available for distance learning; however, the bulk of the coursework takes place on campus. In cases where all the courses are delivered online, students may still usually have to participate in hands-on practical learning experiences at a specific site.
Students learn about addiction theories, psychology, group counseling and pharmacology. Some programs give individuals the training needed to apply for a credential as a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC) or a Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional (CCJP). However, associate's degree programs alone typically do not satisfy state licensure requirements for counselors; students may need to move on to a bachelor's degree program in the subject.
Related Degree Options
Online degree programs may be available in similar fields like drug and alcohol counseling, substance abuse, mental health or chemical dependency. Students can also find addiction counseling programs at the certificate and bachelor's degree levels. Possibilities include:
- Certificate in Addictions Counseling
- Associate of Science in Mental Health
- Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Addictions Counseling
Overview of Online Addiction Counseling Associate's Degrees
Though online associate's degree programs may not solely focus on addiction counseling, programs generally cover the fundamentals in addiction and counseling. Students should expect to learn about basics in communication, psychology, addiction science and human behavior.
Program Information and Requirements
The specific nature of online learning will vary among associate's degree programs. Some schools offer their courses through an online classroom where students can work on their own schedule as they access course materials. Other schools offer a blended style of online classroom and a series of live, broadcasted online discussions and lectures that must be attended at a specific time. Software like LearnLinc and Moodle may be used.
List of Common Addiction Counseling Courses
Classes in addiction counseling associate's degree programs guide students through basics relevant to understanding addiction and learning how to function as counselors. These classes can serve as an introduction to topics covered in bachelor's degrees programs or entry-level addiction counseling careers.
Anatomy and Physiology Course
In this introductory course, students learn about the human body. Different systems and organs are explored and discussed. This class is a basic survey of the body and does not include advanced medical topics.
Introduction to Counseling Course
Students are introduced to the fundamentals of counseling in this course. The different schools of therapy are covered. In addition to understanding counseling theory and history, students will learn counseling techniques.
Behavior Modification Course
With an emphasis on specific behavioral modification techniques, like cognitive-behavior therapy, this class focuses on the standard methods of changing behavior. Practical skills that can be used to change behaviors are emphasized.
Career Information for Graduates
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) an associate's degree alone may not be sufficient preparation for a career in counseling (www.bls.gov). The BLS says that most states require licensed counselors to hold a master's degree. However, the exact rules on what level of education is required for certain positions varies by position. Some associate's degree programs are designed specifically to prepare students in certain states for entry-level or internship positions related to addiction counseling.
Human and social services assistants generally work in clinics and hospitals, which can help future counselors gain experience in these environments and prepare for working with individuals who require addiction counseling. The average annual salary for these assistants was $30,100 in 2010, according to the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
Though some careers are available to those with associate's degrees in addiction counseling, further education may be necessary or desired. The associate's degree program can help students prepare to transfer to bachelor's degree programs in addiction counseling, psychology or related fields like social work. After completing a bachelor's degree, some students may then go on to earn master's degrees in relevant fields, as well as pursue professional licensure or certification.
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