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If you’ve been considering getting a degree and starting a career as an addictions counselor, you may have wondered, Why should I get my bachelor’s in Addiction or Substance Abuse Counseling online? And the chances are also good that those who are asking the questions are already working in the field or are considering an online substance abuse counseling degree. So why should people consider online addiction counseling degrees and what are the benefits of pursuing an online addictions counseling degree.

Like anything we invest our time, energy, and money into, it only makes sense to understand why we are doing it. The same is true for investing the time, energy, and finances into options like substance abuse counseling degrees online. That’s why Bachelor’s Degree Center has worked to rank the best online addictions counseling degree programs in the nation.

Methodology: Ranking the Best Addiction Counseling Online Degrees

For prospective students who want to earn their bachelor’s in addiction counseling online, BDC editors have focused on reputable, accredited colleges and universities offering fully online and hybrid programs. We rank programs according to cost, graduate salary, and student satisfaction.

1. Purdue University Global

Purdue University Global offers a BS in Psychology with an academic track in addictions that is ranked among the best online addictions counseling degree options. Purdue University Global’s degree in addiction counseling online offers multiple start dates throughout the year. These addiction counseling online degrees from Purdue have received accreditation from the NASAC – Nat. Addiction Studies Accrediting Commission. Classes for this undergraduate psychology degree include clinical psychology, psychopharmacology of alcohol & drugs, and case management in clinical settings, to name a few.

Purdue University Global was founded in 2018 and operates to serve adult learners by the purchase of Kaplan University. While the school primarily serves its 29,000 students online, there are four locations, including a law school.

What We Like: The physical learning locations are in Iowa, Maine, Indiana, and Nebraska.

Degree: BS in Psychology – Addictions

2. CSU Global

CSU Global offers a BS in Human Services that is ranked among Colorado’s most affordable online addictions counseling degree programs. Classes for CSU’s degree in addiction counseling online include the competency areas of human development, case management, and intervention methods, among others. Students graduating from CSU’s addiction counseling online degrees find rewarding careers as child advocates, behavioral manners, probation officers, and case workers, to name a few.

CSU Global was established in 2007 to serve nontraditional students and working learners outside the typical CSU location. This online school serves more than 20,000 students each year through its baccalaureate degree completion programs – allowing for previously earned credit and work experience.

What We Like: CSU Global has been recognized to be the first nonprofit online university in the nation that was statutorily defined by the state government.

Degree: Human Services BS

3. University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley offers a BS in Addiction Studies that is ranked among the top addiction counseling online degrees in Texas. TTU’s online addictions counseling degree program provides degree candidates a unique integration of leadership, program development, and financial management against a cultural competence backdrop. Graduates of UTRGV degree in addiction counseling online program are qualified to register with the state as a licensed Chemical dependency Counselor Intern.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley began in 2013 with the consolidation of two UT system schools. As the first major public university in the Texas for the 21st century, UTRGV is already the fourth-largest in the UT system and dedicated to service for students and the community.

What We Like: UTRGV is one of the largest Hispanic-serving universities in the US.

Degree: BS in Addiction Studies

4. Indiana Wesleyan University

Indiana Wesleyan University offers a BS in Addiction Counseling that can be completed entirely online. Indiana Wesleyan University’s online addictions counseling degree program can be completed in less than two years. Classes for IWU’s degree in addiction counseling online program include addictions theory, general psychology, theory of group counseling, and theories of personality, among others. Students enrolled in IWU’s addiction counseling online degrees are required to complete a related practicum to apply theories to real-world circumstances.

Founded in 1920, Indiana Wesleyan University is a private school that is affiliated with the Christian Wesleyan Evangelical Church. The suburban Marion campus of IWU is home to approximately 3,000 yearly students who are studying for the nearly 150 degrees offered by IWU.

What We Like: IWU’s Marion campus was initially a normal school for teacher training.

Degree: BS in Addictions Counseling

5. University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati offers a BS in Substance Abuse Counseling that offers four start dates each year. The University of Cincinnati’s online addictions counseling degree program requires 120 undergraduate semester units to graduate, and both full and part-time students may attend classes. The bestschools.org ranks UC’s addiction counseling online degrees among the top in the nation. Classes for Cincinnati’s degree in addiction counseling online program include assessment in substance abuse, foundations of cultural competence, and crisis intervention, to name a few.

The University of Cincinnati (UC) was founded as a college in 1819. The university also performs as a space-grant school with more than 46,250 students – making it the second-largest in the State of Ohio.

What We Like: The University of Cincinnati is a member of the state’s university system and the oldest school in the greater Cincinnati area.

Degree: BS in Substance Abuse Counseling

6. Washburn University

Washburn University offers a Bachelor of Applied Science in Family Health Sciences (BASFHS) degree program with an academic track Addiction Counseling that is among the best addiction counseling online degrees offered by a state university. Washburn’s degree in addiction counseling online program includes core classes in human development, family issues, group counseling, addictions treatment, substance use disorders, and mental health & addictions, to name a few. Additionally, students enrolled in Washburn University’s online addictions counseling degree program are required to complete two addictions-related practicums or internships.

Washburn University was established as Lincoln College – a public institution of higher education chartered by the state, in the mid-1860s. Bob Dole is one of the most famous alumni of Washburn University.

What We Like: Washburn University’s law school was the first to offer a clinic in which law students could actively practice.

Degree: AS in Addiction Counseling

7. Fort Hays State University

Fort Hays State University offers two of Kansas’ addiction counseling online degrees with its Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Sociology with an academic track in addiction counseling. Classes for FHSU’s degree in addiction counseling online program include group counseling in addiction, ethics in addictions counseling, pharmacology/high risk medical issues, and client management procedures, to name a few. Degree candidates enrolled in Fort Hays State University’s online addictions counseling degree program must also complete two addictions practicums to meet graduation requirements.

Fort Hays State University (Fort Hays) was established in 1902 as a state-run normal school that eventually become Emporia State University. The university’s main campus covers more than 180 acres and serves nearly 16,000 students each year.

What We Like: Fort Hays State University’s campus was entirely flooded by the 1951 great flood.

Degree: BA/BS in Sociology – Addiction Counseling

8. University of South Dakota

The University of South Dakota’s Dept of Addiction Counseling & Prevention offers a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) program in Addiction Counseling and Prevention (ACP) that is among South Dakota’s top Kansas’ addiction counseling online degrees. This degree in addiction counseling online program has been accredited by the NASAC. The University of South Dakota’s FHSU’s online addictions counseling degree program requires students to complete 120 credit units, with core classes in drug use and addiction, group addiction, evidence-based decision-making, and the psychopharmacology of addiction, plus a practicum and internship, among others.

The University of South Dakota (USD Vermillion) was established in the early 1860s but now operates as a space-grant research university nearly three decades prior to South Dakota reaching statehood. The university’s rural campus in Vermillion is home to nearly 10,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students.

What We Like: The medical and law school at USD, are the only options in the state of South Dakota.

Degree: BS in Addiction Counseling and Prevention

9. Brescia University

Brescia University offers a BS in Addiction Counseling that ranks among Kentucky’s top addiction counseling online degrees. This degree in addiction counseling online program is available to part and full-time students. Core coursework for Brescia University’s online addictions counseling degree program includes 42 credit hours in classes that include crisis and brief interventions in counseling, addiction, and the family, ethics and professional responsibility, recovery & relapse prevention, and two field placement practicums, to name a few.

Brescia University was established as a junior college for women but now operates coeducationally. The university is affiliated with the Catholic (Sister of Mount St. Joseph) and serves nearly 1,300 students each year.

What We Like: Brescia University’s athletes play as the ‘Bearcats’ in the River State Conference with the NAIA in a variety of men’s and women’s sports.

Degree: BS in Addiction Counseling

10. University of Central Arkansas

The University of Central Arkansas offers a BS in Addiction Studies that is the only degree in addiction counseling online program available in the state. UCA’s addiction counseling online degrees include classes in mental health, theory/practice of prevention, addictions assessment, and legal/ethical issues in addictions, to name a few. Graduates of the University of Central Arkansas’s online addictions counseling degree program are prepared for rewarding careers in hospitals, clinics, schools, and government agencies, to name a few.

The University of Central Arkansas (Central Arkansas) was established as the only normal school in Arkansas in 1907. The suburban campus (and distance learning platform) serves more than 11,250 undergraduate & graduate students.

What We Like: The University of Central Arkansas holds the distinction of being one of the state’s oldest institutions of higher education.

Degree: BS in Addiction Studies

11. Empire State College (SUNY)

Empire State College (SUNY) offers a BS in Addiction Studies that ranks among the top addiction counseling online degrees in New York. Empire State College’s degree in addiction counseling online program requires degree candidates to complete 124-semester units and is approved by the NYS Depart of Education. Classes for this online addictions counseling degree program from SUNY Empire State include interventions for addiction disorders, advocacy in human services, crisis intervention, addictions & dependency, and family intervention, to name a few.

Empire State College is a member of New York’s SUNY system with nearly three dozen locations throughout the state. The college campuses serve more than 10,250 students each year vying for the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s level degrees offered.

What We Like: Ten campuses of ESC are located in the downstate area, with the balance located in upstate and western New York.

Degree: BS in Addiction Studies

12. Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Northwestern State University of Louisiana’s Psychology Department offers a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) program in Addiction Studies that is considered among the top addiction counseling online degrees in Louisiana. Northwestern State University’s degree in addiction counseling online program includes classes like family dynamics, addiction counseling skills, pharmacology of addictions, and ethics for psychology/addiction, to name a few. Graduates of this online addictions counseling degree program typically find rewarding careers in human resources, clinics, schools, hospitals, and outpatient service centers, to name a few.

Northwestern State University of Louisiana (Northwestern State) was founded as a public school in the mid-1880s to train teachers for this part of the state. NSU now operates as a space-grant school and a member of the state’s university system with a student enrollment that exceeds 11,000.

What We Like: the Northwestern State University of Louisiana is one of six schools that participate in the Joint Venture Program offered by NASA.

Degree: BS in Addiction Studies

13. Clarks Summit University

Clarks Summit University offers a BS in Addictions Counseling that is among the most affordable addiction counseling online degrees in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Clarks Summit University’s degree in addiction counseling online program offers six start dates throughout each calendar year. Students enrolled in Clarks Summit University’s online addictions counseling degree program complete coursework in classes that include behavioral addictions, treating addictions, abnormal psychology, and ethics and professionals, to name a few.

Clarks Summit University is a private school that was established in 1932 as a Bible college in New York State. The university’s suburban campus outside Scranton serves more than 525 students each year vying for academic degrees to certificate programs online and on-campus.

What We Like: Clarks Summit University’s campus includes a gorgeous lake that covers nearly five acres.

Degree: Addictions Counseling B.S.

14. University of Maine at Augusta

The University of Maine at Augusta’s Department of Mental Health & Human Services offers a Bachelor of Science degree (BS) program in Mental Health and Human Services with an academic specialty in addictions abuse that is considered one of the most innovative addiction counseling online degrees in New England. Students enrolled in UMA’s degree in addiction counseling online program are required to finish at least 121 undergraduate semester units to meet UMA’s graduation requirements. Classes for UMA’s online addictions counseling degree program include psychosocial rehab, crisis intervention, cultural competency, and assessment and planning, to name a few.

The Augusta campus @ the University of Maine at Augusta is a regional member of the state’s university system operating dual campuses in Maine and a robust distance-learning option. The university’s campus in Augusta is home to more than 5,900 students.

What We Like: The University of Maine at Augusta maintains campuses throughout the state of Maine in nine other locations.

Degree: Mental Health and Human Services BS – Substance Abuse

15. Springfield College

Springfield College offers a BS in Human Services with an academic concentration in Substance Use Disorder Counseling that is considered among the most innovative of Massachusetts’ addiction counseling online degrees. Classes for SC’s degree in addiction counseling online program include addictions counseling, social & political issues in addiction, and substance abuse -prevention to treatment, to name a few. This Springfield College online addictions counseling degree program requires degree candidates to complete 120-semester units to meet SC’s graduation requirements.

Springfield College was established in 1885 as a department of the local YMCA. Several years later, a student at Springfield College invented the game of basketball. The school’s campus in Western Massachusetts is home to more than 3,610 undergraduate and graduate students each year.

What We Like: Springfield College now operates multiple campuses in Boston, Texas, Wisconsin, Vermont, Delaware, and Florida.

Degree: Substance Use Disorder Counseling

Why Should I Get My Bachelor’s in Addiction or Substance Abuse Counseling Online?

Beginning with the first and most obvious, these are a few of the reasons why people consider, pursue, and obtain an online substance abuse counseling degree or other types and variations of an online addictions counseling degree.

  • Those with online addictions counseling degrees from accredited and approved programs and schools earn more
  • Online addiction counseling degrees avail more employment and career opportunities
  • Like any good substance abuse counseling degrees online or in the traditional setting, vital tools, and addiction recovery techniques that make a difference are taught
  • Getting an addictions counseling degree online can save money and additional expenses (e.g. travel, food, etc)
  • An online addictions counseling degree provides more flexibility with classes, tests, and assignments in addition to being a more convenient method of learning

These are just a few benefits offered from an online degree in substance abuse counseling, but getting that online substance abuse counseling degree will require finding the right school or program.

How Do I Choose an Online Addiction or Substance Abuse Counseling Program?

Finding the best online rehabilitation counseling programs will go a long way in helping to earn that degree. Finding the best online schools for addiction counseling, however, will require a little effort, a little thought, a little due diligence on behalf of the student.

One of the most important considerations when looking for the best online rehabilitation counseling programs is to find those institutions and programs that are accredited, established, and that have a proven track record of graduate success. A great majority of this type of information can be gleaned from websites, brochures, and even a chatbot. Narrowing down the search for the best online colleges for substance abuse counselor programs will take some work, but it will prove to be time well spent.

Once the pool of choices for the best online colleges for substance abuse counselor programs has been narrowed, it is time to inquire about the program details. Locating the best online rehabilitation counseling programs begins with finding good schools, but the program details may very well determine which are the best online schools for addiction counseling for your situation.

This means that the best online schools for addiction counseling for some might offer evening classes, while for others, that may even mean on-demand lessons or even separate online tutoring options. Another universal concern is tuition costs and expenses, along with financial aid assistance and availability.
Getting that coveted and hard-earned degree is worth every effort and that includes taking the time and energy to find the best online rehabilitation counseling programs and the right school for you.

Do I Need Certification to Be a Substance Abuse Counselor?

Typically, in order to be considered a substance abuse counselor a national or state licensing or certification exam must be taken following the graduation from an approved and accredited program. That can look like a substance abuse counselor certification online exam or more traditional exam settings, but it is a requirement.

In most cases, your program will assist with preparation and even taking a substance abuse counselor online certification test. Like taking an exam at an institution or facility, the online substance abuse counselor certification is not only an important step in becoming an addiction counselor but a necessary and mandated one.

The substance abuse counselor certification online exam is arguably the most important step in the process of becoming a substance abuse counselor. That is also why it is important to prepare, study, and plan ahead before taking the substance abuse counselor online certification test.

That’s it, once a student has passed the online substance abuse counselor certification, they are no longer a student but an official and recognized substance abuse counselor. Good luck in all your future endeavors and in all of your academic pursuits.

Related Rankings:

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10 Most Affordable Bachelor’s in Addiction Counseling