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16 Most Affordable Master’s in Addiction Studies for 2020

In this ranking of the most affordable Master’s degrees in Addiction Studies for 2020, some of the degrees we will explore are:

  • MS in Addictions Counseling
  • MS in Counseling–Addiction and Substance Abuse
  • MHS in Addiction Studies
  • MS in Clinical and Counseling Psychology–Co-Occurring Disorders
  • Master of Science in Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

It’s no secret that an influx of substance abuse issues (and other addictive behaviors) is on the rise. Thus, the need for passionate and trained professionals in the field is in high demand. So advancing your education in the Addiction Studies field? It’s certainly wise. You’ll not only be able to really make a difference in the lives of individuals who struggle with addiction, but also in their families and surrounding communities. In this ranking, we explore the 16 best low-cost Master’s degrees in Addiction Studies. If you’re ready to advance your education (without breaking the bank!) and help people in the process, keep reading!

Rating and Ranking Methodology

To develop this ranking of the top affordable Master’s in Addiction Studies programs, our editors searched for schools that offered cheap graduate programs in Addiction Studies. To rate and rank these programs, we applied the methodology below, using information from Google, the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), Payscale.com, the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, and each program’s website. In cases of a tie, the more affordable school pulled the higher rank. If the information didn’t fit within the parameters, zero points were awarded for that category.

Tuition

  • Graduate Tuition Below $10,000: 4 points
  • Graduate Tuition Below $15,000: 3 points
  • Graduate Tuition Below $20,000: 2 points
  • Graduate Tuition Below $25,000: 1 point

Student to Faculty Ratio

  • Less than 20:1: 1 point
  • Less than 15: 1: 2 points
  • Less than 10: 1: 3 points

Return on Investment (ROI) According to Payscale.com

  • Top 500: 1 point
  • Top 300: 2 points
  • Top 150: 3 points

Student Support Network (faculty mentors/advisors, writing/technology support, etc.) – 1 point per item

Concentrations/Specializations – 1 point per item

Accreditation (School-Wide and Program-Specific) – 1 point per item

Campus Diversity Support Network – 1 point per item

“Wow” Factor – 1 point (anything that would mark a program as unique. Special qualities that make a program “stand out from the crowd”)

#16 Mid-America Christian University

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

MS in Counseling–Addiction and Substance Abuse

School Profile
Student-Faculty Ratio: 7:1
Graduate Enrollment: 476
Points: 9

Mid-America Christian University’s affordable Master’s in addiction studies program takes a different approach than others on this rankings list: the program will teach from a Christian perspective. The benefit?  Students can take spirituality into account as they learn to counsel clients, no matter the background or beliefs of their client. You’ll have maximum peer support through the school’s cohort-based program, which means you’ll walk through the coursework with like-minded students. Enrolled students can expect the curriculum to include topics like:

  • addiction in the family
  • pharmacology of drugs of abuse
  • advanced counseling and psychotherapy techniques

Upon graduation, you’ll be able to seek licensure as a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) or mental health counselor in Oklahoma. If you live in another state, check your requirements to see if this coursework will prepare you for licensure. Mid-America Christian University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Graduate Tuition: $11,070

#15 Kean University

Union, New Jersey

MA in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling

School Profile
Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Graduate Enrollment: 2,232
Points: 12

The inexpensive Master’s degree in Addiction Studies offering at Kean University is 48 credits in length. The degree will result in an MA in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling. Core coursework includes:

  • Multicultural Counseling
  • Research Methods in Counseling
  • Counseling in Human Development
  • Group Process in Counseling

Students will then take 12-credit hours in specialized addictions classes. In addition, all students will complete a practicum and two internships to put this knowledge into practice. The courses have been approved by the Certification Board (NJ) for the Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor, but it will depend on the student’s background whether or not that coursework will be enough. It’s possible you might need an additional 12-credits. Kean University is accredited by the Middles States Commission on Higher Education.

Graduate Tuition: $19,890

#14 Cambridge College

Boston, Massachusetts

Masters Degree in Mental Health Counseling–Addictions Counseling

School Profile
Student-Faculty Ratio: 11:1
Graduate Enrollment: 1,504
Points: 13

At Cambridge College, you can earn your low-cost Master’s degree in Addictions Studies in a customizable way. First, you will choose between two degrees:

  • Mental Health Counseling
  • School Adjustment & Mental Health Counseling

Next, you will add-on a concentration in Addictions Counseling. Sample classes include Psychopharmacology in Addictions and Mental Health Counseling, Family Treatment of Substance Abuse, and Addictive Disorders. Students of this program will complete the course work and field experience necessary for CADAC and/or LADC certification. Graduates will be ready for careers in various settings like public health agencies, youth services, residential treatment programs, hospitals, outpatient substance abuse programs, and homeless shelters. Cambridge College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Graduate Tuition: $14,240

#13 Grand Canyon University

Phoenix, Arizona

MS in Addiction Counseling

School Profile
Student-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Graduate Enrollment: 36,114
Points: 13

The low-cost Master’s in Addiction Studies offering at Grand Canyon University is an MS in Addictions Counseling. And if you’re looking for a quality graduate education, GCU might be right for you. You can expect a rigorous curriculum that will utilize evidence-based substance use disorder assessments and treatments. Core classes include:

  • Social and Cultural Diversity Issues in Counseling
  • Counseling Chemical Dependency Adolescents
  • Family Issues and Addictive Disorders
  • Psychopharmacology and Addictions

In addition, all students are required to participate in a practicum/internship to give a real-world experience. If taken on a full-time basis, you can complete your degree in just over 2.5 years. Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Graduate Tuition: $9,916

#12 The College of New Jersey

Ewing, New Jersey

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling–Addiction Studies

School Profile
Student-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Graduate Enrollment: 638
Points: 14

the-college-of-new-jersey

The College of New Jersey offers a low-cost Master’s degree in addiction studies through its MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Students can then choose an area of concentration in Addiction Studies. Enrolled students who complete their coursework will meet the educational requirements for licensure as both a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) and a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in New Jersey. Among the 60-credits in the program include common core counseling coursework like Multicultural counseling and Group Counseling. Courses in the specialization include Prevention Strategies for Schools and Communities, Treating Substance Abuse and Co-Occurring Disorders, and Substance Abuse and Addiction: Individual, Family, and Society. Graduates of the program will be ready to pursue careers in counseling and/or supervisory positions in community and government agencies, higher education, business, and substance abuse. The Master’s in Counseling program at TCNJ is CACREP-accredited.

Graduate Tuition: $21,972

#11 Coppin State University

Baltimore, Maryland

MS in Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling

School Profile
Student-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Graduate Enrollment: 376
Points: 14

Through the Department of Applied Psychology and Rehabilitation Counseling, Coppin State University’s cheap addiction studies Master’s degree comes by way of its MS in Alcohol and Substance Counseling. The customizable degree program is 39 credits in length, with 27 core credits and 12 hours of electives. In addition, students can choose between two degree paths, called Option I and Option II. In Option I, students will complete the Comprehensive Examination and a Research Paper. In Option II, students will pursue the Thesis path. Coursework includes Addiction Prevention Techniques for the Individual, the Family, the School, and the Community, Advanced Individual and Group; Counseling, Diagnosis and Assessment of the Addicted Client, and Management of Addiction Treatment Programs and Personnel. All students will complete an internship/fieldwork experience as well. Coppin State University is accredited by the Middles States Commission on Higher Education.

Graduate Tuition: $11,178

#10 Nova Southeastern University

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

MS in Counseling–Substance Abuse Counseling

School Profile
Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Graduate Enrollment: 15,531
Points: 15

Top 10 Colleges for an Online Degree in Miami, FL

Nova Southeastern University offers its low-cost Master’s degree in Addiction Studies by way of an MS in Counseling with a concentration in Substance Abuse Counseling and Education. You can choose a 48-credit hour program in Substance Abuse Counseling or a 60-credit hour Substance Abuse Counseling and Education degree path. The latter option might be best for students who eventually desire to teach. In addition, other options like mental health counseling, applied behavior analysis, and advanced applied behavior analysis are also available. Sample coursework includes Psychopharmacology of Illicit and Licit Drugs, Foundations of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Counseling in Community Settings, Psychological Testing for Individual Evaluation, and Diagnosis and Treatment of Adult Psychopathology. Nova Southeastern University is accredited by the SACSCC, and the Substance Abuse program is specially accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Graduate Tuition: $19,131

#9 Medaille College

Buffalo, New York

MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

School Profile
Student-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Graduate Enrollment: 635
Points: 15

easiest colleges to get into

Medaille College’s affordable Master’s in Addictions Studies will result in an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. You’ll be able to take this program at the Buffalo or Rochester campuses, as well as fully online. Note that if you opt for one of the campuses, you’ll be taking your classes on the weekends. In fact, your classes will only meet one weekend a month! This is a great option for busy, working professionals who desire to continue their education. Coursework includes Helping Relationships, Social & Cultural Diversity, and Psychopharmacology/Micro Skills. Next, students will participate in a 3-semester supervised internship. Three online classes are also required. Medaille College is accredited by the MSCHE.

Graduate Tuition: $17,190

#8 Emporia State University

Emporia, Kansas

MS in Clinical Counseling–Addictions Counseling

School Profile
Student-Faculty Ratio: 17:1
Graduate Enrollment: 2,227
Points: 16

Emporia State University offers a low-cost graduate degree in Addiction Studies that will result in an MS in Clinical Counseling. Students will then pursue an Addictions Counseling specialization. This 60-credit graduate program meets the educational standards set forth by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Related Programs (CACREP). Core coursework will include:

  • Co-Occurring Disorders
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Advanced Case Management
  • Relationship & Family Counseling

Students can also choose between a thesis option or a non-thesis option. All students will also participate in a 600-hour practicum experience. Emporia State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Graduate Tuition: $19,403

#7 Chestnut Hill College

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

MS in Clinical and Counseling Psychology–Co-Occurring Disorders

School Profile
Student-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Graduate Enrollment: 472
Points: 16

The affordable Master’s degree in Addiction Studies offering at Chestnut Hill College results in an MS in Clinical and Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Co-Occurring Disorders. This is a unique perspective because it won’t just focus on studying addictive behaviors, but how mental illness and substance abuse issues coincide. Core coursework includes:

  • Foundations of Addictive Behavior
  • Treatment Approaches to Substance Abuse
  • Intro to the Assessment & Treatment of Psychological Trauma
  • Assessment & Treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders

The curriculum meets educational requirements for licensure as a professional counselor in Pennsylvania, as well as many other states. Graduates will be ready to become practitioners in both outpatient and inpatient residential treatment centers. The M.S. in Clinical and Counseling Psychology is accredited by the Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council (MPCAC).

Graduate Tuition: $14,000

#6 Indiana Wesleyan University

Marion, Indiana

MA in Clinical Addictions Counseling

School Profile
Student-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Graduate Enrollment: 335
Points: 16

The affordable Masters in Addiction Studies at Indiana Wesleyan University is born out of the rising numbers of addicts coupled with the increasing need for trained counselors in the field. Offered through a Christian perspective, the program serves students who desire to “serve their communities in character, scholarship, and leadership.” In addition, students will be guided by professors with PhDs in their field. Indiana Wesleyan University is an Approved Education Provider of the National Association for Addiction Professionals, and the graduate addiction studies programs are also accredited through the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission. Students can complete the degree on the Marion campus, as well as the Indianapolis site. Or, for those that are looking for an online education, the degree can be completed fully online. Graduates will be qualified to pursue state licensure and/or national certification. Coursework includes Counseling Addicted Families, Theories and Techniques in the Helping Relationship, Issues in Addiction Recovery, and Integration of Christian Faith in Counseling.

Graduate Tuition: $13,104

#5 Ottawa University

Ottawa, Kansas

MS in Addictions Counseling

School Profile
Student-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Graduate Enrollment: 48
Points: 16

The cheap Master’s in Addiction Studies at Ottawa University offering results in an MS in Addictions Counseling. The curriculum will integrate theory, research, and practice. Enrolled students can expect classes like:

  • Multicultural Concerns in Addictions Counseling
  • Law and Ethics in Addictions Counseling
  • Appraisal, Assessment, and Treatment Planning in Addictions Counseling
  • Psychopharmacology and Addictions Counseling
  • Co-Occurring Disorders
  • Fundamentals of  Trauma, Abuse, and Deprivation

And when it comes to accreditations? Ottawa University has several, helping you feel confident about the validity of the program you are a part of! The school itself is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and the Master of Science in Addiction Counseling program is accredited by the California Association for Alcohol/Drug Educators (CAADE). Furthermore, the MS in Addiction Counseling program is also accredited by the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC) and an approved Academic Education Provider through the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC). These accreditations help you know that your investment will be well-spent.

Graduate Tuition: $11,430

#4 Governors State University

University Park, Illinois

MHS in Addiction Studies

School Profile
Student-Faculty Ratio: 10:1
Graduate Enrollment: 1,595
Points: 17

Governors State University offers a versatile and flexible low-cost Master’s degree in Addiction Studies. While you’re searching for on-campus options, keep in mind that at GSU you can customize your delivery format. Choose from fully online classes, on-campus, or a hybrid combination of both. Students will participate in a hands-on, real-world internship, teaching you how to transform your knowledge of research into practice. The bottom line? This program will guide you to become a leader in your field, to care about the people you are treating, but also those surrounding that individual. Just like the program’s motto says, at GSU, “you will change lives.” For students also interested in the criminal justice field, GSU would be a great option. Students can opt for an internship in the criminal justice field and can meet the requirements for the Certified Criminal Justice Addictions Professional as well. If you are interested in a career in Criminal Justice, check out some of the opportunities available in our article on the Highest Paying Criminal Justice Careers. Governors State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, and the MHS program is additionally accredited by the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association (IAODAPCA).

Graduate Tuition: $11,704

#3 Indiana University South Bend

South Bend, Indiana

Master of Science in Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

School Profile
Student-Faculty Ratio: 13:1
Graduate Enrollment: 507
Points: 18

Indiana University’s South Bend campus offers a cheap Master’s degree in Addiction Studies. The degree will result in a Master of Science in Education–Clinical Mental Health Counseling. The curriculum will consist of the common counseling core in addition to courses in the clinical mental health specialty. The program follows a cohort model, which will allow you to learn from like-minded peers. If taken on a full-time basis, you can complete this 60-credit hour program in 3 years (which also includes summer classes). Classes include Seminar in Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention, Crisis and Trauma Counseling, and Etiology, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Mental Health Disorders. All students will complete a practicum. IU-South Bend is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Graduate Tuition: $16,615

#2 Lewis and Clark College

Portland, Oregon

MA or MS in Professional Mental Health Counseling – Specialization in Addictions

School Profile
Student-Faculty Ratio: 12:1
Graduate Enrollment: 1,309
Points: 21

Lewis & Clark College offers a low-cost Master’s degree in Addictions Studies. Students can choose between a Master of Arts or a Master of Science degree option. The MS curriculum is best suited for students who are interested in psychological research. Next, students will choose a major in Professional Mental Health Counseling and choose an area of focus in Addictions. The program is 62 credits in length and can be completed on a full-time or part-time basis. Graduates are eligible to pursue licensing as professional counselors (LPC) in Oregon, as well as able to take the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and apply for status as a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). While the school is accredited by the NCCU, the Addictions program is specially accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) standards for Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs.

Graduate Tuition: $16,704

#1 St. Cloud State University

Saint Cloud, Minnesota

MS in Rehabilitation and Addictions Counseling

School Profile
Student-Faculty Ratio: 20:1
Graduate Enrollment: 1,800
Points: 21

cheap colleges

The affordable graduate degree in Addition Studies at St. Cloud State University stands out among the other schools for its dual purpose. Students who are interested in both addiction studies and counseling people with disabilities should take a good look at this program. Plus, you won’t have to wait to start helping people until you graduate. In fact, students have the opportunity to work with the on-campus Recovery Community, mentoring undergraduate students in recovery and mentor group sessions. And if you need help paying your tuition, take advantage of the school’s graduate assistantships or the opportunity to teach undergraduate students. Graduates of SCSU’s program will meet educational requirements to sit for the Certified Rehabilitation Counselor exam, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor exam, the Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor exam and the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor exam. St. Cloud State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Graduate Tuition: $12,116

What is an affordable Master’s degree in Addiction Studies?

If you’ve decided to get an affordable Master’s degree in Addiction Studies, then you’ve already got the heart for studying substance abuse issues and people with addictive behaviors. To pursue this degree path, you’ll already need to have a Bachelor’s degree in a related Psychology field, like Counseling, Mental Health, or Substance Abuse Counseling. While your studies at the undergrad level could focus on fundamental topics in the field like defining addiction or examining the causes of addiction, your graduate studies will dive deeper into the subject matter. Getting a Master’s degree in this field means that you will be taking graduate-level coursework related to Addiction Studies. These courses will closely examine advanced elements of the addiction and substance abuse field. The curriculum will explore the external, internal, social, cultural, and behavioral components that affect addictive behaviors, and how those behaviors can then affect the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of the person. You will extend your studies beyond the basics and really hone in on aspects like intervention, treatment, and prevention. You’ll research and, in most cases, gain real-world experience through internships and practicums. Depending on the coursework of your specific program, it is possible you’ll be ready to sit for your licensure or certification exams, getting you that much closer to becoming a licensed counselor!

What concentrations are available for a cheap Master’s degree in Addiction Studies?

Typically, we have found that there aren’t many concentrations available in this field because Addiction Studies seems to be a specialization in itself, as a part of a Psychology or Counseling degree. As a whole, the study of Addiction tends to be synonymous with drug/alcohol abuse. However, it is important to remember that those are not the only kinds of addictions you can study. Your elective coursework could include the study of addictions in general, which could address things like relational addictions or gambling addiction (or more). If you are interested in specializing in the Drug/Substance Abuse side of Addictions, you can find many programs that concentrate in this area.

A special note: if your program allows you to take any graduate level electives in your program, think about what would complement not only your degree but also your career goals. Think about choosing elective coursework in fields like criminal justice, psychology, sociology, counseling, etc.

What classes can I expect to take in my cheap Addiction Studies Master’s degree?

Coursework in your Master’s degree curriculum will vary from program to program. It might be important to look at the course listings before committing to a particular program, though. You’ll want to make sure you’re interested in those specific advanced topics. Generally speaking, you’ll take classes that address topics like ethics in addictions counseling, multicultural issues in addictions counseling, co-occurring disorders, legal issues in the addictions counseling field, trauma, acute crisis, and intervention, and psychopharmacology of addiction. In addition, you will take coursework rooted in research and in most cases, participate in a hands-on internship and/or practicum.

Common specific courses could include:

  • Psychopharmacology: the study of the effects that drugs have on an individual, including mood, sensation, thinking, and behavior.
  • Co-Occurring Disorders: examines mental health disorders and substance abuse disorders that occur simultaneously
  • Diagnosis and Treatment of Disorders: focuses on methods of both diagnosing addictions and substance abuse disorders, as well as various treatment plans

How will I get admitted to my Addiction Studies Program?

Every program will have a different admissions process with varying requirements. It is possible that you will need a minimum GPA in order to be accepted. Check the details of your program to see exactly what you need in order to apply. Pay close attention to application deadlines to ensure that you’re submitting your application on time! If your school requires a standardized test like the GRE or MAT for admission, make sure to give yourself enough time to take and re-take the test, if necessary.

Admissions Checklist:

  • Application
  • Transcripts
  • Bachelor’s Degree in a related field
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Entrance Essay
  • Minimum GPA
  • Standardized testing like GRE or the MAT
  • Professional Work Experience

Affordable Master’s degree in Addiction Studies FAQs

Q: Is getting a degree in Addiction Studies worth it?

If there’s one field that’s worth studying right now, it’s addiction studies. Not only are we as a society seeing a rise in the use of addictive substances, we have many more things to be addicted to, including technology. You are needed now more than ever. In addition, as awareness and acceptance for mental health issues continue to emerge, more people are willing to seek professional help, making the demand even that much greater. Getting a Master’s degree in this field will position you for licensure to become a certified addictions counselor, and you can start making a difference very soon. Don’t just take our word for it. Let’s look at the facts. Data presented by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics proves it’s a field worth getting into as well. Employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is projected to grow 22 percent from 2018 to 2028, much faster than the average for all occupations. The bottom line? The need for highly trained professionals in the mental health field is in high demand, and it would be wise to enter the profession now.

Q: How useful is my affordable Master’s degree in Addiction Studies?

The answer to this question has many possible answers.

  1. The extra schooling could help you complete the requirements you need to become a licensed counselor or to obtain the specific certifications you need for your aspiring career.
  2. Having a graduate degree under your belt can help you consistently earn more money throughout your career.
  3. But most importantly? It will give you a deeper knowledge of the subject matter, which in turn, will help you more effectively help prevent and treat people with addictions. You will be making a positive, real difference in the lives of struggling people, their loved ones, and their surrounding communities.

Q: How will I pay for my cheap graduate Addictions Studies degree?

Paying for graduate school can be a daunting task, especially if you’re still thinking about how you are going to pay for your Bachelor’s degree you’ve already earned. But, don’t fear. There’s some good news here. First, in our research, we have seen that graduate tuition is typically much cheaper than undergraduate tuition. So, right off the bat, you are in a good spot. Secondly, you can earn your Master’s degree much faster, so overall tuition will be less. Thirdly, many schools have graduate assistantships available, which means you could assist a professor or even teach undergraduate classes for a tuition-break. If you don’t get a graduate assistantship, think about getting another job on-campus to cut down on travel time to work and gas expenses. Lastly, you can always apply for special scholarships or grants, because this type of financial aid doesn’t have to be paid back.

Q: How long will it take to get my low-cost Master’s in Addiction Studies?

The answer to this question will depend on whether you take your classes on a full-time or a part-time basis. Many schools have both options. Generally speaking, if you are a full-time student, you can earn your Master’s degree in around 2 years! However, if you can find a 4 + 1 program at your school, you can earn a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in just 5 years total.

Q: Will I be able to take my classes part-time?

Yes, you will. Many of the programs we explored above mention that they offer the program part-time as well. Note that taking your classes on a part-time basis will lengthen the time it takes to get your degree, and quite significantly! (It can almost double the time!)

Q: Can I work while I get my affordable Master’s degree in Addiction Studies?

If you need to work while attending school, it’s definitely doable. However, keep in mind that your graduate level degree will take a lot of extra time (you’ll have research, writing, and possibly an internship). Try to find a job on-campus, as a graduate assistant, or a job that won’t take too much of your mental energy. You’ll need to reserve that for your advanced studies!

Q: What kind of on-campus support can I expect?

As an on-campus student, you’ll have an array of student support services to utilize. Some options could include:

  • Academic: services could include tutoring, career services, or writing centers.
  • Social: program-specific student organizations or clubs
  • Personal: multi-cultural support centers, programs to support those with disabilities or who identify in the LGBTQ community.

Q: When I graduate, will I be a licensed counselor?

No, you won’t be a licensed counselor when you graduate. Even if you’re enrolled in a program that fulfills all of your requirements, you’ll still be required to sit for your National Counselor Examination (or other pertinent exams) and gain licensure in your state to practice. So if becoming a counselor is what you want to do, you’ll need to find a program that fits your specific state’s requirements, and then look into the licensure process.

Q: How do I become a certified Substance Abuse Counselor?

This will depend on the state where you live and their specific licensing requirements. But typically, it will take these steps:

  • Work Experience: After getting a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, you will need to complete about 2,000 hours of supervised work experience. It’s possible that the hours you accrued during an internship or practicum (in your Bachelor’s and/or Master’s degree programs) could count, so choosing a program with that element could be wise.
  • Extra coursework: It’s possible that your state will require extra coursework beyond what your degree requires, so check your state’s requirements. To meet the extra requirements, you could take online courses or participate in workshops.
  • Licensure Testing: You’ll need to pass the National Counselor Examination.
  • Extra Industry Certifications: While this isn’t always necessary, you may want to pursue extra certifications in your professional field

Q: What knowledge and skills will I need to acquire to become a Substance Abuse Counselor?

If you plan to become a Substance Abuse Counselor, you’ll need more than just your education and certification; you’ll also need to master some skills and unique aspects to the job:

  • one-on-one counseling
  • group counseling
  • knowledge of co-occurring disorders
  • an understanding of the cultural, social, and behavioral influences that can impact addiction
  • family education and support
  • administrative skills
  • treatment planning

Q: Do I need to be sober to become a Drug Abuse or Addiction counselor?

The short answer to this question is: YES. Many people enter this profession as a way to turn personal struggle into a platform to help others. So, in order to effectively help others, you’ll need to be sober yourself. Typically, the recommended amount of time is 2 years of sobriety.

Q: How do I know if getting my degree in Addiction Studies is right for me?

We can help you with the facts and information, but ultimately this decision will be up to you! But before you take the plunge, doing a little due diligence will go a long way. First, do some research on what kinds of careers you can pursue with an affordable Master’s in Addiction Studies (or look at our information below). Take a detailed look at those jobs and read about what they would entail. Next, think about your passions and skills. Do they line up with what the job will require? If they do, you are probably making a wise decision. If your talents and skillset don’t really line up with the potential requirements of the career, you might want to put some more thought into it before you spend more money and time on graduate education in that area.

Q: Does my program need special accreditation?

Your program doesn’t have to have program-specific accreditation, but it’s worth looking into. Getting a graduate education from a specially accredited program might ensure your investment is well-spent, and it could even help you when you start searching for jobs!

In the counseling field, look for special program accreditation called Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. In fact, the CACREP claims that graduates of CACREP-accredited programs receive higher scores on the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification!

Addiction Studies Career Opportunities:

Q: What careers can I pursue with a low-cost Master’s degree in Addiction Studies?

Getting your Master’s degree in Addiction Studies will most definitely change the course of your career. First of all, you’ll most likely have the coursework necessary to become a licensed counselor (with the right credentials!). You’ll also be able to work in a variety of professional settings, including school settings, social service organizations, hospitals, prisons, private practices, and more. Generally, graduates with Master’s degrees in Addiction Studies will pursue counseling related careers, like Addictions Counselors, Mental Health Counselors, Social Service Managers, and School Counselors. Make the choice that best fits your passions and professional goals.

Q: What kind of salary can I expect in this field?

According to Payscale, you can expect the average salary in this field to be $59,000. However, it is important to note that the rate will vary from position to position.

When it comes to specific careers, you can expect salaries like (based on data from the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics):

*numbers reflect the mean annual wage from 2018

  • Addictions Counselor: $44,160
  • Mental Health Counselor: $46,050
  • Social Service Manager: $65,320 per year
  • School Counselor: $56,310 per year

Q: What professional organizations are available to professionals in the field of Addiction Studies?

It isn’t necessary to join a professional organization in your field, but it’s always wise. Not only will you stay up-to-date on When you join a professional organization in the Addiction and Substance Abuse field, but you will also stay up-to-date on current research and career trends as well as build your network of like-minded professionals.

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