Online Degrees for Drug and Alcohol Counselors: Program Options
Aspiring drug and alcohol counselors can earn an online bachelor's degree that provides the training and education needed to succeed in the field. These programs prepare students for certification and employment in alcohol and drug recovery settings. Read on to learn more.
Overview of an Online Drug and Alcohol Counseling Bachelor's Degree Program
In an online alcohol and drug abuse counseling bachelor's degree programs students examine intervention, prevention and treatment options in counseling. Programs are designed to meet state licensure requirements. Applicants must typically submit proof of a high school diploma or its equivalent, and ACT or SAT scores.
Program Information and Requirements
Students in online programs complete about four years of coursework consisting of approximately 128 credit hours. The classes are all available online and they provide the same education as on-campus programs using the Internet and virtual learning tools. There are no in-person requirements in these programs.
Some schools use an educational delivery system such as Blackboard. These systems provide access to class announcements, course documents, staff information, discussion boards, assignments, grades, resources and virtual classrooms. Students should have access to a modern computer with a high-speed Internet connection.
List of Common Courses
Bachelor's degree-level coursework in alcohol and drug counseling includes studies in the assessment, prevention, dynamics, family systems and cultural issues related to addiction. General education and elective coursework are also required. Some of the typical classes are listed below.
Study of Alcoholism Course
This class focuses on the use and abuse of alcohol. Topics include sociological, moral, behavioral, medical, psychological and physiological effects of the disease. Students also learn current diagnostic tools and therapeutic care methods to treat this addiction.
Drug Abuse Course
This class focuses on facts, studies, treatment approaches and prevention methods related to legal and illegal drug use and abuse. Causes, predispositions and effects of chemical dependency on both the user and their family are topics of examination.
Counseling the Family Course
Participants in this class learn about family dynamics, roles and dysfunctions related to alcohol and drug abuse. The class concentrates on effective methods of counseling all family members in the progression, prevention and treatment of chemical dependency.
Career Information for Graduates
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported substance abuse and behavioral disorder counseling employment was expected to grow by 21% between 2008 and 2018. The projected rise is due to increased awareness about addiction, and the fact that drug offenders are increasingly being sentenced to treatment programs instead of jail (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Master's degree and Ph.D. programs are available in counseling for those who wish to pursue further education. These programs are primarily offered on-campus and include hours of supervised practicum in a counseling setting.
The National Board for Certified Counselors offers voluntary certification in the addiction counseling specialty. To achieve the Master Addictions Counselor (MAC) designation, counselors must have 12 semester hours of graduate-level coursework, three years of experience in the field and pass the MAC examination.
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