Substance Abuse Counselor Masters Degree Programs

Substance abuse counselors work with people who have drug, alcohol or other addictions. They can find employment in a number of public or private areas, including drug and alcohol education, rehabilitation and social work. A master's degree in substance abuse counseling is generally the minimum educational requirement for licensure in the field.

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Master of Science in Substance Abuse Counseling Program

Master of Science (M.S.) in Substance Abuse Counseling programs commonly feature areas of concentration, such as alcohol abuse or clinical counseling. Programs focus on basic skills and practical techniques of counseling, as well as theory and research in substance abuse. Graduate students also are trained in treatment and prevention methods.

Educational Prerequisites

Admission requirements for a master's degree program in substance abuse counseling typically include a bachelor's degree and a minimum GRE score. Some programs also require prior undergraduate or graduate coursework in areas such as social sciences, counseling, research and statistics.

Program Coursework

Substance abuse counseling master's degree programs often include an internship, in addition to classes such as the following:

  • Group counseling techniques
  • Treatment methods for drug and alcohol abuse
  • Advanced individual counseling, assessment and diagnosis
  • Role of the family in rehabilitation
  • Contemporary issues in drug and alcohol abuse

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor prospects were expected to exhibit faster than average growth from 2010 to 2020, increasing by 27%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The median salary for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was $38,520 in May 2012. The bottom ten percent made $25,140 or less per year in 2012, per the BLS.

Continuing Education

M.S. in Substance Abuse Counseling graduates should be eligible for certification or licensure, the requirements of which vary by state. Graduates who wish to further their education can pursue a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Rehabilitation Counseling and Administration with a concentration in substance or clinical counseling. A Ph.D. could lead to career advancement opportunities.

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