Addiction and Substance-Use Related Disorders Graduate Certificate

Addiction and Substance-Use Related Disorders Graduate Certificate

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The graduate certificate in Addiction and Substance-Use Related Disorders at ASU Online provides the foundational knowledge and skills necessary for individuals to pursue state licensure and provide counseling services in the substance abuse treatment field. This program pairs state-of-the-art research from internationally recognized experts in addictions with clinical expertise from licensed psychologists and licensed substance abuse counselors with decades of experience providing substance abuse treatment. 

Become a substance abuse counselor and provide your communities with needed service and support. Substance use and addiction constitute one of the largest preventable health problems facing the U.S. today, but less than 20% of those in need receive any substance use treatment, and only a small fraction of those in treatment receive evidence-based treatment. This gap between treatment research and current practices is due in large part to deficits in the education and training available in the field of addictions. There is a growing need for a well-trained workforce, but most medical professionals are not sufficiently trained to treat addictions, and many counselors do not have the knowledge, skills, or credentials necessary to provide the full range of evidence-based services.

7.5 Weeks per class
7 Total classes
21 Total credit hours

Degree Overview

Substance use and addiction constitute one of the largest preventable health problems facing the U.S. today. In 2014, 22.5 million people (8.5 percent of the U.S. population) aged 12 or older needed treatment for an alcohol or drug use problem, but only 4.2 million (18.5 percent of those who needed treatment) received any substance use treatment in the same year (CBHSQ, 2015). Of those who did receive treatment, only a small fraction received evidence-based treatment (CASA, 2012). The gap between treatment research and current practices is due in large part to deficits in the education and training available in the field of addictions. Most medical professionals are not sufficiently trained to treat addictions, and many counselors do not have the knowledge, skills, or credentials necessary to provide the full range of evidence-based services (CASA, 2012).

The graduate certificate in Addiction and Substance-Use Related Disorders at ASU Online will improve the transfer of scientific knowledge to clinical practice, increase competence to address the opioid crisis and marijuana legalization, develop expertise to work with special populations and individuals with co-occurring disorders, and expand the use of evidence-based treatments in order to increase the effectiveness of substance abuse treatment.

This graduate certificate can serve the needs of aspiring professionals (individuals with a Bachelor’s degree or currently in a Master’s or Doctoral program in a behavioral health field), or current behavioral health professionals with a Master’s or Doctoral degree including Clinical Mental Health Counselors, Licensed Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Applied Behavioral Analysts, Rehabilitation Counselors, School Counselors, Psychologists, Physicians, Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses, Social Workers, and Behavioral Health Therapists wanting education in addictions and substance use disorders to help them address their clients’ needs.

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How to apply

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor’s degree in a related field or a master’s degree in any health, behavioral health, or counseling related field from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum of a 3.00 cumulative GPA (scale is 4.00 = "A") from a bachelor's or higher degree in any health, behavioral health, or counseling related field.

This certificate is eligible for financial aid.

All applicants must submit:

  • Graduate admission application and application fee
  • Proof of English proficiency is required. A TOEFL score of at least 100 on the Internet-based test
  • Official transcripts
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Personal statement

Certification and Licensure

All states require either certification or licensure to practice as a substance abuse counselor. Most states have multiple levels of licensure, typically a bachelor’s-level license that requires ongoing supervision, and a master’s-level license that allows independent practice. For example, the Arizona state licensing board offers three levels of licensure: Licensed Substance Abuse Technician (LSAT), Licensed Associate Substance Abuse Counselor (LASAC), and Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC). Additional information can be found at the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners website, https://www.azbbhe.us/.

The Addiction and Substance-Use Related Disorders Graduate Certificate program meets the core educational content requirements for licensure in the state of Arizona. This certificate also meets the educational content requirements for most states in the U.S. In addition, we are pursuing NASAC and NAADAC certification. However, we cannot guarantee that this program will satisfy all of the requirements for licensure. Refer to the document below for information about certification and licensure requirements in your state. Please be aware that certification and licensure requirements are subject to change. Check with your state’s professional regulatory board before applying for certification, licensure or renewal to verify accurate and up-to-date requirements.

View more information around your state's certification and licensure

Learn about the different types of financial aid and scholarship opportunities available. ASU offers a Cost CalculatorBudget Worksheet and Scholarship Search to make the college planning process easier.

Courses and electives

The graduate certificate in Addiction and Substance-Use Related Disorders consists of 7 total courses that are designed to prepare you for licensure as a substance abuse counselor.  Click below to see the details of the courses included in this graduate certificate program. 

This course provides an overview of the effects of addictive drugs on the brain from a psychobiology and neuroscience perspective. All classes of addictive drugs are covered.

This course covers legal and ethical responsibilities and liabilities, standards of professional behavior and scope of practice, client rights and responsibilities, informed consent, confidentiality and other legal considerations in counseling.

This course reviews evidence-based assessments for screening, diagnosis, treatment planning and outcome monitoring. Psychometric and cultural issues related to assessment and diagnosis will be discussed. Ethical and legal issues in the diagnosing of substance use related disorders will be reviewed.

This course reviews common co-occurring psychiatric, medical and legal problems with substance use related disorders. Scientifically informed approaches to assessment and treatment will be discussed.

This course summarizes the current literature on evidence-based interventions for the treatment of substance use related problems. Scientifically supported models of treatment, recovery, relapse, relapse prevention, and continuing care will be reviewed.

This course reviews issues that arise when working with individuals and families from diverse races, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status. Multicultural issues related to ethics, diagnosis, access to treatment, treatment planning and implementation will be reviewed.

This course provides a comprehensive review of group dynamics and processes as they relate to addictions and substance use disorders. Students will review theories, research, and evidence-based treatment interventions related to group therapy for addictions.