Masters in Addiction Counseling
Help Others with an MS in Addiction Counseling
Substance use and addictive disorders are diseases that adversely affect individuals, families and communities as a whole. As an aspiring addiction counselor, you could work toward effecting meaningful change in the lives of people in your community. A master’s degree is a required stepping stone toward licensure in many states. The Master of Science in Addiction Counseling at Grand Canyon University follows a rigorous curriculum designed to introduce students to evidence-based substance use disorder assessments and treatments.
Offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, this MS in addiction counseling is designed to blend classroom instruction with real-world, hands-on learning experiences. Students examine matters of professional ethics, major counseling theories and principles, psychopharmacology and chemical dependency in adolescents. Graduates with a Master’s in Addiction Counseling emerge fully prepared to pursue licensure and work opportunities in various settings.
Examine the Origins of Addiction and Treatment in the Addiction Counseling Master of Science Program
Students may take courses online or at approved campus locations. All classes are taught by fully qualified instructors who guide students through a curriculum designed to provide foundational knowledge and skills in the counseling field. GCU seeks to graduate students who are skilled communicators and effective servant leaders, capable of thinking critically about ethical issues and dilemmas.
In courses such as Introduction to Addictions and Substance Use, Co-Occurring Disorders and Social and Cultural Diversity Issues in Counseling, students will examine the following topic areas:
- The stages, processes and effects of substance use disorders, as well as the professional’s role in prevention, intervention and aftercare
- Screening, assessing and treating individuals with co-occurring disorders, and associated strategies for risk management
- Theories of multicultural counseling, multicultural competencies and strategies for working with diverse populations, including immigrants and refugees
- Major counseling theories and principles, including existential psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral, reality therapy/choice therapy and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT)
In addition, all students are required to complete the Pre-Practicum. This is a supervised fieldwork experience that includes counseling-related and direct-contact practicum hours. The Pre-Practicum is followed by the Practicum/Internship, which enables students to develop their counseling skills in a real-world setting under supervision.
Prepare to Become a Professional Counselor Specializing in Addiction
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for substance abuse counselors from 2016 through 2026 is expected to grow at a rate of 23 percent. This is much faster than average. More qualified counselors are needed to meet the rising demand for substance abuse and addictive disorder treatment. Professionals with this background may pursue work in any of the following settings:
- Inpatient addiction treatment facilities
- Outpatient treatment programs
- Jails, prisons and juvenile detention centers
- Social work agencies
- Human services organizations
Graduates with an MS in addiction counseling are academically prepared to meet the requirements for licensure in Arizona as a licensed associate substance abuse counselor (LASAC) or a licensed independent substance abuse counselor (LISAC). Graduates may also be prepared to seek licensure or additional certification in other states they may wish to practice in. All students are responsible for understanding the licensing requirements for their states, as criteria may vary from state to state.
Program Core Courses
This course is designed to prepare students for the graduate learning experience at Grand Canyon University. Students have opportunities to develop and strengthen the skills necessary to succeed as graduate students in the health sciences. Emphasis is placed on utilizing the tools for graduate success.
This course provides a broad understanding of counseling ethics, legal standards, and responsibilities, including professional identity, report writing, record keeping, and service reimbursement for professional and substance-use-disorder counselors. Also covered are the history of and current trends in counseling. Important goals of this course are to help students develop a strong personal and professional ethic, as well as an appreciation for the value of professional collaboration and identity.
This course provides a comprehensive survey of the major counseling theories and principles. Coursework includes the following theories: psychoanalytic, Adlerian, existential psychotherapy, behavioral, cognitive behavioral, person-centered, reality therapy/choice theory, and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT).
This course provides a broad understanding of the stages, processes, and effects of substance use disorders, social and psychological dynamics of substance use disorders, and the professional's role in prevention, intervention, and aftercare, including recovery and relapse prevention. This course explores theories and models of treatment of substance use disorders, drug classification, and assessment. It also continues building foundational knowledge, utilization of professional resources, and exploration of standards to help students prepare for licensure/certification within the counseling industry.
This course provides a broad understanding of group development, group dynamics, group counseling theories, and ethical standards with reference to professional and substance use disorders counseling. The course also addresses group process components, appropriate selection criteria, developmental stage theories, group members' roles and behaviors, and group leadership styles and approaches. The course includes didactic and experiential group learning. Required synchronous group experience: 12 hours.
This course provides a broad understanding of issues and trends in a multicultural and diverse society. Studies in this area include the following: attitudes and behaviors based on such factors as age, race, religious preference, physical disability, sexual orientation, ethnicity and culture, family patterns, gender, socioeconomic status and intellectual ability; individual, family, group, and community strategies for working with diverse populations; theories of multicultural counseling and identity development; and multicultural competencies. Students examine a variety of cultural populations in multiple regions of the United States, exploring issues and trends that are associated with each population. Cultural considerations for immigrants, refugees, and undocumented immigrants are also addressed.
This course introduces students to the basic principles of psychopharmacology and the effects of psychoactive substances. Students examine the behavioral, psychological, physiological and social effects of psychoactive substance use, and learn to recognize symptoms of intoxication, withdrawal, and toxicity. The class covers various screening options, limitations, legal implications, and the utilization of pharmacotherapy as part of substance addiction treatment.
This course introduces students to co-occurring disorders. Students examine screening and assessment tools to reveal and evaluate the presence and severity of co-occurring disorders. This course also explores the treatment needs of persons with co-occurring disorders. Strategies for risk management associated with treating individuals with co-occurring disorders are presented.
This course examines the impact of substance use disorders in family systems. Various treatment interventions are discussed. The treatment roles and responsibilities of addicted individuals and their families are also examined.
This course provides a conceptual framework for the use of assessment and diagnostic tools for the development of appropriate treatment interventions for a variety of behavioral health and substance use disorders. Included is an introduction to the use of the diagnostic tools, including the DSM, and the integration of diagnostic and assessment information, in the development of treatment plans.
This course provides an introduction to adolescent substance use disorders prevention and treatment techniques and interventions. Signs, symptoms, and patterns of adolescent substance use are examined. Students also explore adolescent screening methods and assessment tools.
This is a supervised fieldwork experience under the supervision of a faculty member and an on-site clinical supervisor approved by the college or university. Documentation of a minimum requirement of 100 hours of counseling-related activities, which include 40 direct contact hours, is submitted to Typhon and monitored by the office of field experience. Students may not progress to PCN-662A without the required amount of hours submitted to Typhon and proper approval. State licensure requirements may mandate additional hours. Students must review and adhere to their state board's additional requirements. Practicum/field experience hours: 100. Prerequisites: Completion of all didactic coursework in the program; a GPA of 3.0 or better; and maintenance of student professional liability insurance in the amount of $1 million, $3 million.
Students use this supervised practicum/internship experience to develop their counseling skills and to perform all the activities that a regularly employed professional counselor would be expected to perform in a supervised setting. The practicum/internship is performed under the supervision of a faculty member and an on-site clinical supervisor approved by the college or university. Documentation of 150 hours of counseling-related activities, which include 50 direct contact hours, is submitted directly to the college’s office of field experience for verification and tracking. Practicum hours: Addiction Counseling students, 150 total hours; Professional Counseling students, 600 total hours. State licensure requirements may mandate additional hours. Students must review and adhere to their state board's additional requirements. Practicum/field experience hours: 150. Prerequisites: PCN-622; a GPA of 3.0 or better; maintenance of student professional liability insurance in the amount of $1 million, $3 million; and college approval.