Top 15 Online Schools for Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

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Communities across the globe are in need of talented, educated professionals who can communicate wisely with individuals with substance abuse issues. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University estimates that “one in four Americans will have an alcohol or drug problem at some point in their lives;” therefore it is crucial for these persons to have dedicated counselors that can guide them healthfully through their addiction problem.

These Top 20 Online Schools for Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling allow professional counselors to significantly expand their understanding of the field, and enhance techniques that will allow them to closely connect with their patients to provide the most suitable care possible. Coursework for these master’s programs includes subject areas such as: group therapy, prevention, alcohol and drug abuse, eating disorders, and much more. The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists the job outlook for Substance Abuse Counselors at 22% over the next 8-10 years. Work environments include mental health centers, community health centers, prisons, private practice, and many other areas.

In developing this list, OnlineSchoolsCenter.com, chose not to list the schools in an ordered way, but instead highlighted twenty of the very best programs, all of which have their own unique strengths.

CAPELLA UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
Capella University has been ranked innumerable times as one of the finest online institutions in the country for its caliber of instruction and dedication to student success in distance education. The Capella Master’s in Addiction Studies program gives graduate students fundamental skills, knowledge, and experience within the discipline through challenging internships, coursework, and fieldwork.

Campus Location: Minneapolis, MN

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Tuition and Fees:

  • $503 per credit hour—tuition
  • $50 per credit hour—application fee

Types of Aid: Institutional scholarships and awards for new and enrolled students, federal grants and loans, private loans, third-party scholarships, payment plans, and military benefits.

Acceptance Rate: 68%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants to this program must submit a completed application along with the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts representing a GPA of 2.3 or higher, two letters of recommendation, a 3-6 page personal essay, and a current resume or curriculum vitae. GRE and GMAT scores are not required for admission.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Group Therapy in Addiction Treatment
  • Principles of Integrated Addiction and Mental Health Treatment
  • Implications of Addiction Treatment with Diverse Populations

Degree Outcomes:
Upon exiting Capella University’s online Master’s in Addiction Studies program, students will have the experience and understanding to apply for positions as a addictions counselor, case manager, chemical dependency counselor, chemical dependency professional, clinical counselor, and correctional substance abuse counselor.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE!

UNIVERSITY OF NORTH TEXAS

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Program Standouts:
The Department of Disability and Addiction Rehabilitation at the University of North Texas provides online coursework leading to a highly refined Master of Science degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. Students in this program work directly in the field to expand upon challenging theories and practices in the online classroom.

Campus Location: Denton, TX

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools; Council on Rehabilitation Education

Tuition and Fees:

  • $701.05 per credit hour—in-state tuition and fees
  • $1,091.05 per credit hour—out-of-state tuition and fees

Types of Aid: Federal, state, and institutional grants; federal, state, and private/alternative loans; institutional, departmental, and external scholarships; and military and Veterans’ benefits.

Acceptance Rate: 62.1%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants to this program must submit a completed departmental graduate program application, a personal statement, a resume showing a minimum of one year of full-time employment, two reference letters, and all students must complete a personal interview with graduate faculty members.

Program Options:

  • Case Management in Rehabilitation
  • Substance Abuse Treatment
  • Alcohol, Drugs, and Disability

Degree Outcomes:
Working closely with mentors, faculty members, and academic advisors, North Texas students have a fabulous support system throughout their professional and academic careers. Highly ranked by U.S. News and World Report as well as the state of Texas, graduates of this program have many future employment opportunities.

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GRAND CANYON UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
The Master’s of Addiction Counseling from Grand Canyon University focuses strongly on many crucial areas of the discipline, such as theories of addiction, drug classification, assessment, and treatment; professional counseling orientation and ethics; counseling theories; and group counseling theory and practice.

Campus Location: Phoenix, AZ

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Tuition and Fees:

  • $500 per credit hour—tuition
  • $400 per credit hour—military tuition
  • $95 per academic year—Canyon Connect fee
  • $400 one time—learning management fee

Types of Aid: Federal loan and grant programs; institutional, state, and outside scholarship opportunities; and military benefits.

Acceptance Rate: 37%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants to this program must submit a completed application, official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution with a GPA of at least 2.8, or graduate degree transcripts from a GCU-approved college, university, or program. Other requirements include GMAT and GRE scores.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Group Counseling Theory and Practice
  • Psychopharmacology and Addictions
  • Social and Cultural Diversity Issues in Counseling

Degree Outcomes:
With an online Master’s in Addiction Counseling from Grand Canyon University, graduates will be prepared to own and operate their own counseling clinic or work in a variety of settings including private practice, substance abuse clinics, group practices, and hospital settings.

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ASPEN UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
Aspen University has built an online Master of Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling that will help experienced professionals advance their career to the next level. The program is highly focused on “fundamental theories of individual and family counseling as well as addiction-specific topics related to the treatment and prevention of substance abuse.”

Campus Location: Denver, CO

Accreditation: Distance Education Accrediting Commission; Council for Higher Education Accreditation

Tuition and Fees:

  • $325 per credit hour—tuition
  • $150 per academic year—technology fee

Types of Aid: Institutional aid programs; federal grant, loan, award, and scholarships programs.

Acceptance Rate: unavailable

Admission Requirements:
Applicants to this program must submit a completed application, official transcripts from an accredited institution, and military documentation or transfer credit evaluation (if necessary).

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Substance Abuse Counseling
  • Neurobiology of Addiction
  • Clinical Supervision

Degree Outcomes:
Offering a broad range of coursework, such as Research in Counseling, Addiction Counseling Theory and Practice, and Psychology of Addiction, students graduate with a well-founded understanding of addiction and substance abuse, and the delicate ways in which to address these issues. Aspen graduates will have the technique and capability to counsela individuals and families.

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LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
One of the highest rated distance education institutions in the country, Liberty University offers an online Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling that “accedes many national and state board requirements,” meaning that graduates are steeped in their discipline and can provide peerless counseling in substance abuse.

Campus Location: Lynchburg, VA

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Tuition and Fees:

  • $540 per credit hour—tuition
  • $50 one time—application fee

Types of Aid: Federal grants and loans; state grants and loans for resident students; outside scholarships; payment plans; public service discount; and military and Veterans’ benefits.

Acceptance Rate: 22%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants to this program must submit a completed application along with the nonrefundable application fee, official and unofficial transcripts representing a GPA of 3.0 or higher, undergraduate prerequisites (6 credit hours in Psychology; 3 credit hours in Statistics), and TOEFL scores from students who use English as a second language.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Group Counseling
  • Addictions and the Recovery Process
  • Biological Aspects of Addiction and Recovery

Degree Outcomes:
Liberty University offers a wide variety of coursework in this field that will prepare graduates to take on numerous interesting career fields, such as clinical case management, managed care, mental health services, non-licensed counselor, rehabilitation counselor, and substance abuse counselor.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE!

INDIANA WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
Indiana Wesleyan University strongly believes in connecting well-educated counselors with the greater community, in an effort to provide peerless counseling for addicts. Students “gain hands-on experience” to help form their knowledge and understanding of the field.

Campus Location: Marion, IN

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; National Association for Addiction Professionals

Tuition and Fees:

  • $507 per credit hour—tuition and fees

Types of Aid: Federal and state grants; institutional, departmental, and outside scholarships; federal loans; Indiana vocational rehabilitation services; tuition reimbursement/employer assistance; and military and Veterans’ benefits.

Acceptance Rate: 72%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants to this program must submit a completed application, official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution representing a GPA of 3.0 or higher, undergraduate prerequisites (6 credit hours in Psychology; 6 credit hours in Bible), GRE scores, short autobiography, three recommendations, and admitted students must first complete a faculty interview.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Psychopathology
  • Issues in Addiction Recovery
  • Counseling Addicted Families

Degree Outcomes:
The Indiana Wesleyan University online Master in Addictions Counseling program prepares counselors to work with chemical addictions and addictive behaviors such as eating, sexual, and gambling disorders. The program integrates the tenants of Christianity, and faculty members have all earned doctorates and licenses and “are committed to the Christian faith, and active in the counseling profession.”

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WALDEN UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
Earning a Master in Addiction Counseling from Walden University will well-prepare students to sit for the Examination for Master Addictions Counselors. Upon graduation and licensure, counselors will gain the understanding and credentials to apply toward a career in community mental health centers, hospitals, employee assistance programs, the juvenile justice system, drug courts, and private practice.

Campus Location: Minneapolis, MN

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools

Tuition and Fees:

  • $440 per quarter hour—tuition
  • $120 per quarter—technology fee

Types of Aid: Federal grants and loans; state grants; private loans; institutional and alternative scholarships; outside fellowships; payment plans; and military and Veterans’ benefits.

Acceptance Rate: 98%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants to this program must submit a completed application along with an academic record, official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution, a statement of goals, and a current resume with relevant work experience.

Program Options:

  • General Program
  • Addictions and Public Health
  • Child and Adolescent Counseling
  • Family Studies and Interventions
  • Forensic Counseling
  • Military Families and Culture
  • Trauma and Crisis Counseling

Degree Outcomes:
Graduate students in this program will exit the program with the highly refined ability to examine appropriate evidence-based counseling practices for prevention and intervention; and analyze assessment procedures to support planning for appropriate counseling interventions.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE!

OTTAWA UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
Ottawa University’s impressive online Master of Arts in Addictions Counseling provides students with coursework focused on theory, research, and practice. This graduate program will prepare students for licensure in his/her community and provides them with experience and understanding on top of their professional experience.

Campus Location: Ottawa, KS

Accreditation: Southern National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission; Association for Addiction Professionals

Tuition and Fees:

  • $75 one time—application fee
  • Types of Aid: Federal, state, and private/alternative loans; institutional scholarships; federal grants; vocational rehabilitation; and Veterans’ benefits.

Acceptance Rate: 95%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants to this program must submit a completed application along with the nonrefundable application fee; official college transcripts representing a minimum GPA of 3.0 or higher; a graduate school admissions essay/personal statement; a current resume with relevant work experience; and three letters of recommendation.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Multicultural Concerns in Addictions Counseling
  • Appraisal, Assessment, and Treatment Planning in Addictions Counseling
  • Fundamentals of Treatment of Trauma, Abuse, and Deprivation

Degree Outcomes:
Ottawa University Addictions Counseling program will prepare graduates to work in a variety of environments, including: private practice, substance abuse clinics, group practices, and hospital settings. Ottawa counselors work with individuals with substance abuse/dependency disorders.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE!

MID-AMERICA CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
According to their impressive website, “This program focuses on ensuring both breadth and depth of knowledge in a comprehensive understanding of addiction and substance abuse counseling by including a strong emphasis on academic and professional performance.” Students deeply delve into the most current and highly refined techniques for addressing and preventing substance abuse.

Campus Location: Oklahoma City, OK

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Tuition and Fees:

  • $582 per credit hour—tuition
  • $75 per credit hour—graduate individualized instruction fee
  • $150 per semester—administrative fee

Types of Aid: Federal, state, and alternative grants; institutional and outside scholarships; federal loans and work-study opportunities; and military benefits.

Acceptance Rate: unavailable

Admission Requirements:
Applicants to this program must submit a MACU online application, official college transcripts from an accredited institution representing a GPA of 2.75 or higher, and official MAT scores.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Individual Psychotherapy Techniques
  • Addiction in the Family and Assessment Theory
  • Multi-Cultural Treatment Planning of Individuals and Families

Degree Outcomes:
One of the highest ranked online schools in Oklahoma, this distance education graduate program in Addiction and Substance Abuse Counseling will prepare students for licensure as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor—MACU has a 79% pass rate on licensure tests. As a Christian institution, graduates will have opportunities for careers an addictions and substance abuse counselor within secular or ministry settings.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE!

CALIFORNIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
California Southern University offers an thoroughly challenging online Master of Science in Psychology in Alcoholism and Chemical Dependency that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of “chemical dependency and compulsive disorder issues, including drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, gambling and sexual compulsive disorders, and many others.”

Campus Location: Irvine, CA

Accreditation: Western Association of Colleges and Schools; Distance Education Accrediting Commission

Tuition and Fees:

  • $425 per credit hour—locked-in tuition

Types of Aid: Locked-in tuition rates; a variety of payment plans; 3rd party payers; interest-free institutional loans; military and Veterans’ benefits.

Acceptance Rate: unavailable

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed application and official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Alcoholism/Chemical Dependency
  • Eating Disorders
  • Advanced Psychology of Addiction and Compulsive Behaviors

Degree Outcomes:
CalSouthern’s online master’s program leads to career advancement within the field, an avenue to impressive doctoral programs, and licensure as a clinical psychologist. In the broad variety of coursework “ranging from diagnosis and treatment and family systems to dual diagnoses and eating disorder,” students will gain the technique and understanding to apply toward a fulfilling career.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE!

VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
This online program was built in collaboration with three impressive institutions: Virginia Commonwealth University, King’s Colleges London, and the University of Adelaide in Australia, giving distance education students a global perspective on the diagnosis, counseling, and treatment for the abuse of substances. “This program will speed the dissemination of the latest international addictions-related knowledge, especially to remote locations around the world.”

Campus Location: Richmond, VA

Accreditation: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Tuition and Fees:

  • $4,384.50 per 9-15 credits
  • $487 per credit hour (15 credit hours or more)—overload fee
  • $41.50 per semester—technology fee
  • $878.50 per semester—university fee
  • $55 per credit hour—online course fee

Types of Aid: Departmental/institutional scholarships and awards; graduate assistantships and fellowships; federal loan and grants opportunities.

Acceptance Rate: 64%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants to this program must submit a completed application, official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution in a related discipline representing a GPA of 3.0 or higher (applicants who do not meet the criterion should have significant work experience), three letters of recommendation. Students who use English as a second language must submit TOEFL scores.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • The Biological Basis of Addiction
  • Treatment of Addiction: Psychosocial Interventions
  • Public Health Issues and Approaches to Addictions

Degree Outcomes:
This program will prepare students to work in communities throughout the world, providing a paramount service to individuals in need of compassionate guidance. Coursework in this program will give students international perspective within their field, and will prepare them for leadership positions in many different environments.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE!

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH DAKOTA

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Program Standouts:
According to glowing students recommendations and reviews on the impressive University of South Dakota website, as well as other reputable resources—the University of South Dakota provides unparalleled education in Addiction Studies, giving students both the experience and understanding needed to effect change within their communities.

Campus Location: Vermillion, SD

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission

Tuition and Fees:

  • $431.25 per credit hour—tuition

Types of Aid: Federal and private loans, federal work-study programs, institutional graduate assistantships and fellowships, and military/Veterans’ benefits.

Acceptance Rate: 89%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants to this program must submit a completed application along with the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from an undergraduate institution representing a GPA of 3.0 or higher, a current resume representing at least one year of professional experience within the field, a statement of purpose, three letters of recommendation, a copy of a photo ID, and applicants must complete both a face-to-face interview (via Skype) and a background check.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Study of Alcohol Use and Abuse
  • Study of Drug Use and Abuse
  • Working with Families on Alcohol and Drug Issues

Degree Outcomes:
The University of South Dakota provides incredibly thorough coursework designed to assist students in gaining licensure within their discipline. Students may earn their degree in as little as 33 credit hours in a an advanced track or 45 in the standard track. Either offer more flexibility according to students academic and career goals as well as other responsibilities.

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UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA

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Program Standouts:
Distance education students attending the University of Oklahoma will find a unique selection of coursework that will result in a thorough academic and professional career in fighting addiction. This degree will prepare students for the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium’s Certified Prevention Specialist credential.

Campus Location: Norman, OK

Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission

Tuition and Fees:

  • $353.20 per credit hour—in-state/military tuition and fees
  • $902.40 per credit hour—out-of-state tuition and fees
  • $50 one time—application fee

Types of Aid: Institutional scholarships; federal grants and work-study opportunities; institutional, federal, and private loans; and military benefits.

Acceptance Rate: 81.3%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants to this program must submit a completed application along with the nonrefundable application fee, and official transcripts from an accredited institution representing a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Foundations in Prevention Science
  • Prevention Across the Lifespan
  • Program Development, Implementation, and Evaluation

Degree Outcomes:
Graduates of the University of Oklahoma’s online Master of Prevention Science will have the tools and skill necessary to effect change and provide compassionate support for addicts in many different environments—individualized and group therapy scenarios. As it is beautifully worded on their website, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to fighting addiction.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE!

GOVERNORS STATE UNIVERSITY

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Program Standouts:
At Governors State University, students in both the Master’s of Addiction Studies and the Master’s of Addiction Counseling undergo coursework that “emphasizes state-of-the-art, evidence-based approaches to addictions.” Students will provide peerless counseling to individuals within their community who are suffering from substance abuse through pharmacology, prevention, counseling and group technique courses.

Campus Location: University Park, IL

Accreditation: North Central Association of Colleges and Schools; Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association, Inc.

Tuition and Fees:

  • $412 per credit hour—in-state/Indiana resident tuition
  • $719 per credit hour—out-of-state tuition and fees
  • $50 one time—application fee

Types of Aid: Federal, private, and consolidation loans; federal and state grants; federal work-study programs; institutional and alternative scholarships; and tuition waivers and assistantships.

Acceptance Rate: 94.3%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants to this program must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, and official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution.

Program Options:

  • Addiction Studies
  • Addiction Counseling

Degree Outcomes:
Graduates of either GSU’s online Master’s in Addiction Studies or Master’s in Addiction Counseling programs will qualify for the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor credential. In a program founded in research and practice, students learn paramount skills and a thorough understanding of their discipline.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE!

CAMBRIDGE COLLEGE

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Program Standouts:
Addiction Counseling students in Cambridge College online have three different graduate programs opportunities through which to focus their degree, depending on their academic and career goals: Counseling Psychology, Mental Health Counseling, and School Adjustment Counseling. In any department, students receive a broadly thorough education in counseling addicts.

Campus Location: Cambridge, MA

Accreditation: New England Association of Colleges and Schools

Tuition and Fees:

  • $500 per credit hour—tuition
  • $50 one time—application fee
  • $650 per internship/practicum—internship/practicum fee

Types of Aid: Federal, alternative, and community loans; federal and state grants; federal work-study opportunities; institutional and external scholarships; and military benefits.

Acceptance Rate: 100%

Admission Requirements:
Applicants must submit a completed online application, the nonrefundable application fee, official transcripts from an accredited undergraduate institution, a bachelors degree, two letters of recommendation, and applicants must complete an interview with the program chair.

Sampling of Coursework:

  • Addiction Disorders
  • Family Treatment of Substance Abuse
  • Psychopharmacology in Addictions and Mental Health Counseling

Degree Outcomes:
Graduates from Cambridge College’s online Master of Addictions Counseling will have opportunities to work in many different fields and environments in which honest, compassionate counselors are needed, such as public health agencies, youth services, residential treatment programs, hospitals, outpatient substance abuse programs, and homeless shelters.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CLICK HERE!