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If you are con­sid­er­ing pur­su­ing an addic­tion coun­sel­ing bach­e­lor’s degree, then it might be worth look­ing into an accel­er­at­ed addic­tion coun­sel­ing degree. There are sev­er­al advan­tages to pur­su­ing an accel­er­at­ed addic­tion coun­sel­ing degree, such as time, mon­ey, and the ben­e­fit of hav­ing more degree options. In many cas­es, accel­er­at­ed pro­grams are not only able to be com­plet­ed more quick­ly, but they also save time for oth­er course options for those enrolled in four-year pro­grams. It isn’t uncom­mon for grad­u­ates who enroll in accel­er­at­ed pro­grams to com­plete their school­ing with dual degrees.

Accel­er­at­ed cours­es also result in less trav­el time, class time, and many of these pro­grams require less mate­r­i­al expense. That also does­n’t include the fuel cost and food cost for any­one who dri­ves to a class or cam­pus. In addi­tion to sav­ing time and mon­ey, and the afore­men­tioned pos­si­bil­i­ty of dual degrees or spe­cial­ized stud­ies becomes more avail­able. Anoth­er advan­tage of tak­ing accel­er­at­ed class­es isn’t about sav­ing time or mon­ey, it is about being smart. This is the case for those who either already have a degree or who want to enhance their degree.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Accelerated Addiction Counseling Degree Programs

Bachelor’s Degree Cen­ter edi­tors know speed isn’t every­thing, so we start with accred­it­ed, rep­utable pro­grams that offer legit­i­mate ways to speed up a degree. From there, we rank pro­grams by their cost, stu­dent reviews, and salary poten­tial, using cur­rent IPEDS and Niche data.

1. Grand Canyon University

Grand Canyon Uni­ver­si­ty offers an accel­er­at­ed addic­tion coun­sel­ing degree that accepts up to 90 trans­ferred cred­its. This BS in coun­sel­ing addic­tion con­cen­trates on the impact of addic­tion, which tears apart fam­i­lies and harms whole com­mu­ni­ties. stu­dents learn what they need to know to become abuse coun­selors. Top­ics stud­ied include chem­i­cal depen­den­cy, sub­stance abuse and coun­sel­ing. This pro­gram pre­pares grad­u­ates to serve as coun­selors to indi­vid­u­als and families.

GCU offers more than 200 aca­d­e­m­ic majors, with 75% of them avail­able online. This large insti­tu­tion has 21,000 under­grad­u­ate stu­dents and offers online cours­es to 75,000 students.

What We Like: At 99%, almost all stu­dents receive some sort of finan­cial aid.

Degree: BS in Coun­sel­ing — Addiction

Grand Canyon Uni­ver­si­ty BS in Coun­sel­ing — Addiction

2. Eastern Kentucky University

East­ern Ken­tucky Uni­ver­si­ty has an accel­er­at­ed addic­tion coun­sel­ing degree which allows stu­dents to trans­fer up to 80 cred­its. the school offers a bac­calau­re­ate degree in psy­chol­o­gy focus­ing on addic­tion coun­sel­ing. The pro­gram pro­vides the skills need­ed for grad­u­ates to obtain entry-lev­el posi­tions in social ser­vices careers. Com­plet­ing this degree helps stu­dents pre­pare for the Psy­chi­atric Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Prac­ti­tion­er (CPRP) certification.

EKU accepts 94% of stu­dents who apply, mean­ing that those who want to attend have a fair shot at doing so. This mid­size school has 10,000 under­grad­u­ate stu­dents and is locat­ed in the Lex­ing­ton area. Among its many pop­u­lar majors, some stu­dents choose nurs­ing, crim­i­nal jus­tice and lib­er­al arts.

What We Like: The school’s 94% accep­tance rate com­bined with a finan­cial aid rate of 98% make EKU an attrac­tive choice for those seek­ing an accel­er­at­ed addic­tion coun­sel­ing degree.

Degree: BS in Psy­chol­o­gy — Addic­tion Counseling

East­ern Ken­tucky Uni­ver­si­ty BS in Psy­chol­o­gy — Addic­tion Counseling

3. Alvernia University

Stu­dents can com­plete the accel­er­at­ed addic­tion coun­sel­ing degree at Alver­nia Uni­ver­si­ty in two years. This online degree pro­gram focus­es on prepar­ing stu­dents to com­plete the cer­ti­fied alco­hol and drug coun­selor (CADC) cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. Stu­dents learn how to offer impact­ful lead­er­ship in the field of addic­tion, child wel­fare, crim­i­nal jus­tice and men­tal health. Alver­nia has turned out thought­ful grad­u­ates for 40 years and is one of the old­est and best online schools.

Alver­nia Uni­ver­si­ty was found­ed by the Fran­cis­can sect and now has a diverse stu­dent body of 3,000 stu­dents from 14 coun­tries and 25 states. The school is locat­ed near Read­ing, PA, on a beau­ti­ful cam­pus with­in com­mut­ing dis­tance of urban areas. It also offers more than 50 majors and minors to students.

What We Like: Alver­nia Uni­ver­si­ty accepts 64% of stu­dents who apply. Although it’s dif­fi­cult to get into the school, 100% of stu­dents receive some form of finan­cial aid.

Degree: BA in Addic­tions and Men­tal Health Treatment

Alver­nia Uni­ver­si­ty BA in Addic­tions and Men­tal Health Treatment

4. Liberty University

Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty has an accel­er­at­ed addic­tion coun­sel­ing degree that allows stu­dents to trans­fer up to 75% of cred­its earned else­where. This gen­er­ous trans­fer pol­i­cy makes this one of the most flex­i­ble accel­er­at­ed addic­tion pro­grams stu­dents can take online. Most stu­dents com­plete the pro­gram with­in 3.5 years and choose their own study sched­ule and venue.

At Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty, stu­dents can choose from 300 under­grad­u­ate and grad­u­ate pro­grams. The school offers many schol­ar­ships and oppor­tu­ni­ties for finan­cial aid and also hosts 20 NCAA Divi­sion 1 sports teams. Lib­er­ty strives to set stu­dents up for suc­cess in local, nation­al or inter­na­tion­al careers.

What We Like: Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty ranks num­ber six among the coun­try’s best online colleges.

Degree: BS in Psy­chol­o­gy – Addic­tions and Recovery

Lib­er­ty Uni­ver­si­ty BS in Psy­chol­o­gy – Addic­tions and Recovery

5. Walden University

Walden Uni­ver­si­ty accepts up to 135 trans­fer cred­its for its unique accel­er­at­ed addic­tion coun­sel­ing degree. This online pro­gram teach­es stu­dents about the many forms that addic­tion can take. The course­work lays a foun­da­tion for coun­selors who help indi­vid­u­als deal with drug and alco­hol sub­stance use dis­or­ders, process addic­tions such as gam­bling, drugs and pornog­ra­phy, and oth­er men­tal health dis­or­ders. Research holds the key to learn­ing the inter­nal and exter­nal fac­tors that influ­ence addic­tion. Stu­dents focus on sub­stance abuse edu­ca­tion, work­ing with indi­vid­u­als and fur­ther­ing treat­ment research and methodology.

Walden Uni­ver­si­ty accepts 100% of stu­dents who apply. Of stu­dents sur­veyed, 90% said they could get the class­es that they want­ed eas­i­ly and 80% thought the work­load was man­age­able. This is good news for stu­dents who need to jug­gle their school­work with jobs and fam­i­ly obligations.

What We Like: All stu­dents who attend Walden Uni­ver­si­ty receive some sort of finan­cial aid. Addi­tion­al­ly, 83% of stu­dents felt con­fi­dent they could get jobs in the field with­in six months of graduation.

Degree: BS in Psy­chol­o­gy — Addic­tion Coun­sel­ing or BS in Human Ser­vices — Addictions

Walden Uni­ver­si­ty BS in Psy­chol­o­gy — Addic­tion Coun­sel­ing or BS in Human Ser­vices — Addictions

6. Ottawa University

Many stu­dents choose Ottawa University’s accel­er­at­ed online addic­tion coun­sel­ing degree. Stu­dents earn their degree from the com­fort of home. This flex­i­bil­i­ty gives stu­dents the oppor­tu­ni­ty to decide when and where they can com­plete their online course­work in addic­tion coun­sel­ing. Cours­es include a wide vari­ety of top­ics includ­ing alco­hol and sub­stance abuse dis­or­ders, addic­tion, chem­i­cal depen­den­cy, harm reduc­tion and dual diag­no­sis. Dual diag­no­sis focus­es on both addic­tion and under­ly­ing men­tal health dis­or­ders that influ­ence depen­den­cy and recovery.

Ottawa Uni­ver­si­ty is a pri­vate Chris­t­ian col­lege. It’s locat­ed in Ottawa, Kansas, and, with just 700 under­grad­u­ate stu­dents, the school is extreme­ly selec­tive about which stu­dents it will admit. It has an accep­tance rate of just 15% of those who apply. Nonethe­less, there are sev­er­al pop­u­lar majors such as kine­si­ol­o­gy and psychology.

What We Like: All stu­dents who attend Ottawa Uni­ver­si­ty receive some form of finan­cial aid.

Degree: BS in Addic­tions Counseling

Ottawa Uni­ver­si­ty BS in Addic­tions Counseling

7. Southern New Hampshire University

The accel­er­at­ed addic­tion coun­sel­ing degree at South­ern New Hamp­shire Uni­ver­si­ty allows up to 90 trans­fer cred­its. This ful­ly online degree allows stu­dents to pur­sue their pas­sion to help oth­ers while con­tin­u­ing to work to sup­port their fam­i­lies. While the online envi­ron­ment pos­es unique chal­lenges, it gives stu­dents who wish to become drug and alco­hol coun­selors an oppor­tu­ni­ty to do so in remote loca­tions. Stu­dents receive tools and train­ing need­ed to help those liv­ing with alco­hol and sub­stance use dis­or­ders. Grad­u­ates become coun­selors who endeav­or to help those wish­ing to make amends and live pro­duc­tive lives.

SNHU has edu­cat­ed stu­dents for near­ly 90 years. There are over 300 majors avail­able at the grad­u­ate and under­grad­u­ate lev­els, giv­ing stu­dents access to the infor­ma­tion need­ed to com­plete their under­grad­u­ate degree. The school has been rec­og­nized as a most inno­v­a­tive region­al uni­ver­si­ty, accord­ing to U.S. News and World Report.

What We Like: South­ern New Hamp­shire Uni­ver­si­ty is the 5th rank­ing best col­lege in the state.

Degree: BA in Human Ser­vices — Sub­stance Abuse

South­ern New Hamp­shire Uni­ver­si­ty Ser­vices — Sub­stance Abuse

8. Crown College

Crown Col­lege also offers an accel­er­at­ed addic­tion coun­sel­ing degree. This online pro­gram gives stu­dents the knowl­edge and skills need­ed to help those with sub­stance use dis­or­ders. Stu­dents take a close look at the effects of sub­stance abuse on sev­er­al lay­ers of soci­ety, includ­ing indi­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies, and the entire com­mu­ni­ty. The sci­ence-based part of the cur­ricu­lum focus­es on the emo­tion­al, cul­tur­al, and finan­cial con­se­quences of addic­tion. Grad­u­ates emerge pre­pared to com­plete the require­ments to become Licensed Alco­hol and Drug Coun­selors (LADC).

Crown Col­lege is equipped to help stu­dents become part of the work­force while retain­ing their Chris­t­ian val­ues. The school offers numer­ous advan­tages such as the bib­li­cal world­view, small class sizes and a long his­to­ry of edu­cat­ing stu­dents since its found­ing in 1916.

What We Like: Stu­dents who attend Crown Col­lege typ­i­cal­ly receive some sort of finan­cial aid. In fact, 97% of stu­dents receive some form of finan­cial assistance.

Degree: BS in Alco­hol and Drug Counseling

Crown Col­lege BS in Alco­hol and Drug Counseling

9. Aspen University

Full-time stu­dents can com­plete Aspen University’s accel­er­at­ed addic­tion coun­sel­ing degree with­in three years online. The school offers a Bach­e­lor of Arts degree in psy­chol­o­gy and addic­tion stud­ies designed to help stu­dents who wish to become addic­tion coun­selors. Grad­u­ates suc­cess­ful­ly mas­ter essen­tial con­cepts in soci­ol­o­gy, addic­tion the­o­ry, and psy­chol­o­gy. They typ­i­cal­ly require more train­ing to pre­pare for their licens­ing exams and oth­er credentials.

This above-aver­age uni­ver­si­ty is locat­ed in the Den­ver area and enrolls under 1,000 stu­dents. Aspen has a gen­er­ous accep­tance pol­i­cy, invit­ing 100% of those who apply to become students.

What We Like: Of those sur­veyed, four out of five stu­dents say it’s easy to get the class­es they want and that they have a man­age­able workload.

Degree: BA in Psy­chol­o­gy and Addic­tion Studies

Aspen Uni­ver­si­ty BA in Psy­chol­o­gy and Addic­tion Studies

10. CSU Global

CSU Glob­al offers a BS in Human Ser­vices that con­cen­trates on addic­tion stud­ies. This accel­er­at­ed addic­tion coun­sel­ing degree can be com­plet­ed online and is geared for those who want to find a career in addic­tion ther­a­py. Stu­dents study key con­cepts in a mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary pro­gram that includes soci­ol­o­gy, psy­chol­o­gy and addic­tion treat­ment con­cepts. In order to pre­pare for state licen­sure, stu­dents often require addi­tion­al prepa­ra­tion. How­ev­er, this pro­gram gives them a wide back­ground in alco­hol and drug use dis­or­der treatment.

CSU Glob­al is a ful­ly-online mem­ber of the Col­orado State Uni­ver­si­ty sys­tem and one of the first insti­tu­tions of its kind — a ded­i­cat­ed, online pub­lic uni­ver­si­ty. The school’s flex­i­ble for­mat pro­vides a num­ber of ben­e­fits to stu­dents who live in remote areas or need flex­i­bil­i­ty due to work and fam­i­ly obligations.

What We Like: The school has a gen­er­ous accep­tance pol­i­cy of 99%, mean­ing that almost every stu­dent who applies gets the green light to attend the university.

Degree: Human Ser­vices BS

CSU Glob­al BS in Human Services

What If I Already Have a Bachelor’s?

For those who already have a bachelor’s degree, either in a relat­ed or affil­i­at­ed field or course of study, accel­er­ate pro­grams are smart options for sev­er­al rea­sons. For many addic­tion coun­sel­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions, the com­ple­tion of a bachelor’s degree in a vari­ety of fields com­bined with an online sub­stance abuse coun­sel­ing cer­tifi­cate online meets the requirements.

What that means for many stu­dents is that it doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly require an addic­tion coun­sel­ing bachelor’s degree to become an addic­tion coun­selor. An online abuse coun­sel­ing cer­tifi­cate from an accred­it­ed pro­gram in cor­re­la­tion with a bachelor’s degree in a field such as Arts and Human­i­ties or Social Sci­ences will qual­i­fy most graduates.

The most impor­tant aspect of adding an online sub­stance abuse coun­sel­ing cer­tifi­cate is the accred­i­ta­tion aspect. Any accred­it­ed cer­tifi­cate in addic­tion coun­sel­ing online will typ­i­cal­ly suf­fice and deem a can­di­date with a bachelor’s in a relat­ed field as qual­i­fied. This aspect of any addic­tion coun­sel­ing cer­tifi­cate online is impor­tant for sev­er­al reasons.

Accred­i­ta­tion of a sub­stance abuse coun­sel­ing cer­tifi­cate online ver­i­fies that the pro­gram is approved by the nec­es­sary and appro­pri­ate gov­ern­ing boards and or com­mit­tees. These are most often war­rant­ed from orga­ni­za­tions on either the state or gov­ern­ment level.

Earn­ing an accred­it­ed addic­tion coun­sel­ing cer­tifi­cate online also ensures that your cre­den­tials will be rec­og­nized. This is a vital aspect and advan­tage of hav­ing an accred­it­ed online sub­stance abuse coun­sel­ing cer­tifi­cate. Even with the most respect­ed and hon­ored degree, most addic­tion coun­sel­ing roles require an accred­it­ed sub­stance abuse coun­sel­ing certificate.

The oth­er impor­tant aspect of earn­ing an accred­it­ed addic­tion coun­sel­ing cer­tifi­cate, aside from the con­ve­nience and flex­i­bil­i­ty of course options, is the oppor­tu­ni­ties it will avail. Becom­ing a cer­ti­fied addic­tion coun­selor means step­ping into more than a job but also a very impor­tant and some­times even life-sav­ing role.

Beyond cer­tifi­cate pro­grams, social work­ers and men­tal health coun­selors who want to go into sub­stance coun­sel­ing can get an online mas­ter or doc­tor­ate in that spe­cial­iza­tion. A master’s degree pro­gram may also accept work expe­ri­ence for cred­it hours, mak­ing the enroll­ment process more stream­lined. There may be no need for a practicum for a grad­u­ate degree either if you have men­tal health coun­sel­ing experience.

If you have an asso­ciate degree, high school diplo­ma, or GED, the edu­ca­tion­al require­ments for online sub­stance abuse coun­sel­ing degrees vary. Online require­ments are usu­al­ly less than on-cam­pus, but may include a high GPA, let­ters of rec­om­men­da­tion, and oth­er credentials.

What Does a Substance Abuse Counselor Do?

The sub­stance abuse coun­sel­ing job descrip­tion only defines in part the role of the posi­tion of sub­stance abuse coun­selor. While there are many defin­i­tive and com­mon aspects to most every sub­stance abuse coun­sel­ing job descrip­tion, there will always be variations.

Some of the sta­ples of the sub­stance abuse coun­sel­ing job descrip­tion include assess­ing clients, pro­vid­ing a vari­ety of ther­a­py ser­vices (e.g. psy­chother­a­py, dialec­tal, behav­ioral, etc.), coun­sel­ing, pro­vid­ing a sup­port sys­tem, and devel­op­ing recov­ery plans. These are com­mon traits and respon­si­bil­i­ties that are found in near­ly every sub­stance abuse coun­sel­ing job description.

Some tasks that addic­tion pro­fes­sion­als per­form include:

  • treat­ment planning
  • case man­age­ment
  • group coun­sel­ing
  • social work
  • cri­sis intervention
  • sub­stance abuse treatment
  • iden­ti­fy­ing addic­tive behaviors

Where the job details can get dra­mat­i­cal­ly diverse are with­in the type of facil­i­ty and the type of con­di­tions being treat­ed. The job descrip­tion for a coun­selor in pri­vate prac­tice, for exam­ple, may look far dif­fer­ent than the duties and job descrip­tion of a coun­selor work­ing in a busy clinic.

In anoth­er sce­nario, an addic­tion coun­selor treat­ing a client who is suf­fer­ing from sub­stance abuse will like­ly have a far dif­fer­ent set of client instruc­tions when treat­ing a client with sex addic­tion or an eat­ing dis­or­der. Coun­sel­ing is a per­son­al and often inti­mate process, and it is unlike almost any oth­er field or practice.

What is very much the same, how­ev­er, is that those who become addic­tion coun­selors make a dif­fer­ence in people’s lives. It might be that an accel­er­at­ed addic­tion coun­sel­ing pro­gram gets you into the busi­ness of help­ing peo­ple soon­er, or maybe it is just a smart move both pro­fes­sion­al­ly and finan­cial­ly? The Bureau of Labor Sta­tis­tics sees increas­ing need for sub­stance abuse coun­selors. What­ev­er the rea­son for choos­ing an accel­er­at­ed addic­tion coun­sel­ing pro­gram, it is a career path that makes sense and that can make a difference.

Relat­ed Rankings:

25 Best Bach­e­lor’s in Addic­tion Counseling

15 Best Online Bach­e­lor’s in Addic­tion Counseling

10 Most Afford­able Bach­e­lor’s in Addic­tion Counseling