Study Skills and Techniques Needed for Substance Abuse 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. The Master of Science in Addiction Counseling at Grand Canyon University follows a curriculum designed to introduce you to evidence-based substance use disorder assessments and treatments.
Offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, this addiction counseling master’s program is designed to blend classroom instruction with practical learning experiences. You will be taught matters of professional ethics, counseling theories and principles, psychopharmacology and chemical dependency in adolescents and adults. Graduates with a master’s in addiction counseling can position themselves to pursue licensure and work opportunities in various settings.
Benefits of GCU’s Master’s Degree in Addiction Counseling
If you would like to pursue a career as a licensed substance abuse counselor, a master’s in addiction counseling can provide the pathway toward licensure in most states. You can enhance your qualifications and pursue a career in addiction counseling with the academic competencies you will be taught at GCU. Below, you can explore some of the benefits of choosing GCU for your degree program.
Courses and Topics to Expect in the MS in Addiction Counseling Program
All classes are taught by knowledgeable instructors who guide you through a curriculum designed to teach foundational 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.
Throughout the courses in this program, you will examine the following topic areas:
- The stages, processes and effects of substance use, 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 in the master’s in addiction counseling program are required to complete the Pre-Practicum and Practicum/Internship. This is an in-person, supervised fieldwork experience that includes counseling-related and direct-contact practicum hours. The Pre-Practicum is followed by the Practicum/Internship, which can help you to develop your counseling skills in a mental health practice setting under supervision.
Career Opportunities for Graduates With a Master’s in Addiction Counseling
Qualified counselors are needed to meet the rising need 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
- Community mental health agencies
- Human services organizations
When you graduate with an MS in Addiction Counseling, you will have the opportunity to meet the requirements for licensure in Arizona as a licensed associate substance abuse counselor (LASAC). You may also be prepared to seek licensure or additional certification in other states you may wish to practice in. You are responsible for understanding the licensing requirements for your state, as criteria may vary from state to state.
Master’s in Addiction Counseling Degree FAQs
Before applying to the Master of Science in Addiction Counseling program at GCU, you may have some questions. Explore the following frequently asked questions and answers and reach out to our university counselor for more information about enrollment.
Begin working toward your master’s degree in addiction counseling in order to pursue work opportunities in the substance abuse rehabilitation field. Apply today for consideration with GCU’s admission procedures.
1COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is effective September 2023, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors, retrieved on Sept. 19, 2023.
2The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors as of May 2022, retrieved on Sept. 19, 2023. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 and 2021 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path. Grand Canyon University can make no guarantees on individual graduates’ salaries as the employer the graduate chooses to apply to, and accept employment from, determines salary not only based on education, but also individual characteristics and skills and fit to that organization (among other categories) against a pool of candidates.
* Please note that this list may contain programs and courses not presently offered, as availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program or course listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability.
* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Programs or courses subject to change.