Potential Avg. Salary

$45,080 Based on the latest government data.* See the Best Ways to get there →

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A bachelor of science in substance abuse counseling is a psychology degree that’s focused on educating students in treating addiction, chemical dependency, and substance abuse. You’ll learn about the different types of substance disorders, understand how to coach addicts to recovery, gain intervention expertise, and learn about family dynamics in addict’s households in order to counsel family members of addicts.

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What is a Degree in Substance Abuse Counseling What is a Degree in Substance Abuse Counseling


If you’re interested in pursuing a career helping people overcome addiction and substance abuse, a bachelor of science in substance abuse counseling may be right for you. In a substance abuse degree program, you’ll gain the education and skills needed to become licensed to provide substance abuse counseling to addicts and their family members. Students study basic psychological concepts, understand what factors drive addiction, and learn how to conduct interventions and treatment counseling.

In some states, a bachelor’s degree is sufficient for earning a license as a substance abuse counselor, but in other states a master’s degree is required. It’s important to review the requirements of your state before choosing a program. However, even without becoming licensed as a counselor, there are many ways graduates can put their knowledge and skills to use. Some work in rehab clinics as clinical assistants and support staff, and others work for non-profits supporting the families of addicts.

What Courses Would I Take For a Major in Substance Abuse Counseling?

  • Introduction to Counseling Theories
  • Foundations of Addiction and Substance Abuse Disorders
  • Group Interventions and Communications
  • Crisis Intervention Skills for Addiction
  • Relapse Prevention in Addiction Treatment
  • Family Dynamics in Substance Abuse Households
  • Trauma, Addiction, and Substance Use Disorders
  • Treatment of Addiction and Substance Use Disorders

How hard is it to get a Job with a Degree in Substance Abuse Counseling

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is expected to see significant growth in the coming decade. Growth is expected to be driven by the fact that many health insurance companies are now providing coverage for mental health treatment. Additionally, growth in the field will also be driven by state governments seeking to treat offenders through counseling and rehab services rather than sending them to jail for minor crimes.

How Long does it take to Get

A bachelors in Substance Abuse Counseling will have a typical length of 4 years in a full time schedule. That said, there are many ways to speed up the timeframe by either taking more units via online coursework, community college, or taking free classes at OnlineDegree.com that could transfer to universities in the US.

*All salary and growth data is based on the recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics data published at BLS.gov for a Mental Health Counselor

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What Will a bachelors Cost? What Will a bachelors Cost?

The cost of a bachelors degree in Substance Abuse Counseling will vary depending on what school you decide to attend, whether you live in-state or out of state, if the program is online, and what scholarships are available.

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Things That Can Affect Cost

  • If You Live In-State or Out-of-State from the University
  • The University You Choose
  • Online Courses vs. Traditional Classroom
  • Taking Courses That Could Earn Credit Towards Your University to Save Money
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How to save time and money How to save time and money

Would you pay 50k a year in tuition and assume student debt to your eyeballs if you didn't need to? Of course not. Do you need to take off work for 4 to 5 years to get the degree you need? Probably not. Huge amounts of student debt can be a heavy burden many years after graduating. Below are some things you can do to speed up the time frame and save money, while maintaining your current job or lifestyle.

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Opt For Online Courses

By choosing an online university program you can potentially save a ton of money. The schedules are usually more flexible so you can keep your current job and lifestyle. Plus, you don't have to move to a new place and assume the additional student housing and living expenses.

Get Scholarships and Discounts

We’ve organized discounts and scholarships at accredited universities across the country. These could make you instantly eligible to save thousands of dollars by registering for free at OnlineDegree.com, and get you the best tuition possible for a major in Substance Abuse Counseling or related Human & Social Sciences degree.

Find a Combined BS and MS Program

If your state requires you to have both a bachelor of science and master of science to earn licensure as a substance abuse counselor or therapist, you may want to look for a degree program that allows you to earn both at the same time. A combined BS and MS program usually only requires five years of study and awards both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Earned separately, these two degrees usually require six years of study, so students can shave a year of their education by entering a combined program.

Best Careers for Substance Abuse Counseling Degrees Best Careers for Substance Abuse Counseling Degrees

Graduates of bachelor’s degree programs in substance abuse counseling can find work in a variety of counseling and support roles. You may find work as an addiction counselor in a variety of settings, including rehab clinics, private practices, church organizations, and mental health centers. Additionally, some graduates open their own private practices and work as both counselors and small business owners.

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Can I get accepted for a Degree in Substance Abuse Counseling? Can I get accepted for a Degree in Substance Abuse Counseling?

Yes! There’s A Right Fit For Everyone. We’ll Help You Find It.

Every university has different requirements for admittance, but there are certain things that can help determine your chances to get that Bachelors. No matter what though, there is a right fit for everyone!

  • Universities will have different acceptance rates based on various factors. Try our acceptance calculator to estimate where you might get accepted
  • At many universities, transfer students have higher rates of acceptance vs freshman enrolling out of high school. That means earning units at a community college or through OnlineDegree.com can potentially increase your odds of getting into the school you want.


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