Drug Counseling Certificate and Certification Programs

Learn about certificate programs in drug counseling. Discover education prerequisites and coursework related to these programs and get information on certification and career options.

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Essential Information

Drug counselors are certified professionals who help others overcome addiction and substance abuse issues. Individuals who earn a Certificate of Completion in Substance Abuse Counseling can sometimes work for hospitals, rehabilitation centers, mental health facilities, nonprofit organizations and other related agencies. Certificate programs can be completed separately or as part of an associate's, bachelor's, master's or doctoral program.

While most drug counselors need to be licensed or certified in their respective states, educational requirements for these credentials vary. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), not all states require a specific degree, but most expect aspiring counselors to pass a credentialing exam. Examples include the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) or the Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor (LDAC) tests.

Education Prerequisites

In most states, students must complete at least two semesters of coursework before taking the exam. Some states expect students to obtain a master's degree in counseling with an emphasis in addiction or substance abuse.

Program Coursework

Students in a substance abuse certification program develop strategic planning and empathic listening skills. Courses in interpersonal relations are incorporated into the curriculum, as well as classes covering:

  • Psychopharmacology of addiction disorders
  • History and legal developments in drug abuse
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Relapse prevention
  • Case management
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Treatment models

Salary and Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was $38,520 as of May 2012. Substance abuse counselors may work full-time, part-time, evenings, weekends and days.

Continuing Education Information

The initial license, such as the CDAC or LDAC, will expire without additional coursework and professional practice. It may be beneficial to obtain a master's degree and additional counseling licensing. Licensed social workers, marriage and family therapists or clinical psychologists with the additional CADC or LDAC license have an increased potential for higher pay and advanced licensing.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics