Top Substance Abuse Counselor Degree Programs Online

Many people look at a career in substance abuse counseling as more of a calling than a career. For those who want to help individuals struggling with issues of substance abuse and addiction, there are programs online at every level. A motivated student cam earn an Associate's Degree, a Bachelor of Arts, a Master's and even a Doctorate online from the convenience of home. For those who are pursuing this as a second career or who have other obligations, like family and work, these online programs have the flexibility that students need to succeed. The most important thing is to find a program which is accredited, and then to find the best individual program. The top three substance abuse programs online are Washburn University, Brescia University and Tiffin University. Ask the following questions when pursuing a substance abuse counselor degree online.

What is the best level of degree to get for this subject?

Like with most other mental health and counseling programs, it is best to try to earn at least a Master's degree in order to be eligible to get a good job in this field. An undergraduate degree will probably only help to find a low paying job, but a certificate might help give extra credentials to a candidate who already has a degree. 

What kinds of classes are offered in Substance Abuse Counseling programs?

There is a core curriculum which all students are expected to complete, and which will include the kinds of classes to prepare students for entry level jobs in the field. Students have some discretion about elective classes so they can learn more about special interests. 

Do all these programs offer student services, like financial aid?

All of these top three programs offer financial aid, and in fact most of the students in each program receive some form of financial aid. Students also have access to other student services, such as information technology help which is offered by Washburn University. 

Which of these three programs is most flexible about starting dates?

While Washburn and Brecia have more traditional schedules, Tiffin has several times during the year when students can choose to start the program. They can enter during January, March, May, July, August and October. This brings even more flexibility to what is already a very flexible online program. 

Which program is most competitive?

Because addictions counseling is a popular major, the programs are competitive and many candidates must unfortunately be turned away. As some of the top programs, Tiffin and Washburn are competitive but Brescia turns away many applicants. 

How many credits do students need to earn?

Depending on the school, students will need to earn between 35 and 42 credit hours just in the major subject. With each class being about 3 credits, that means students generally need at least 13 to 15 classes to earn the degree. 

Can students earn a license upon graduation?

The Master's program at Washburn University specifically prepares students to become Licensed Master's Addiction Counselors and Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselors. The faculty are invested in the students and I'm working toward their success, and will help make sure all prerequisites are completed to keep students on track. 

Can the programs be completed completely online?

Because of the clinical requirements, there are some limited times when students will either have to visit the home campus or a local campus to meet requirements. For instance, students at Brescia University must complete two field placement and seminar practice courses.

What kind of accreditation is most important?

Accreditation is important for several reasons, the most important being that schools that haven't earned accreditation have not proven that the program meets the rigorous demands of the field. The US Department of Education keeps track of which schools have earned the distinction, and accredited schools announce it up front. 

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