Best Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling colleges in the U.S. 2023

Across the nation, individuals struggling with mental health often find themselves victims of substance abuse and addiction to drugs and alcohol. Substance abuse and addiction counselors play a crucial role in helping people address their problems and map a road to recovery in a clinical setting. Addiction counselors don’t just care for adults; they can also provide services to children and adolescents in need. With the opioid epidemic raging globally, it is no surprise that substance abuse and addiction counseling has become a popular career for students that hope to make a positive impact in their communities.

Students pursuing a substance abuse and addiction counseling degree tend to major in psychology or specialize in mental health disorders. This major typically offers in-person coursework due to the hands-on, personal nature of the job of a counselor. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that opportunities in this field will grow by 23 percent in the next decade, a much higher growth rate than other professions.

The demand for substance abuse counselors continues to grow, and there are plenty of open positions to be filled. This challenging career path rewards graduates with good pay, benefits, and rewarding opportunities to help those in need.

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Best Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling colleges in the U.S. for 2023

Drexel University
Philadelphia, PA

Drexel University’s substance abuse and addiction counseling program prepares students for a career of helping people overcome addiction and improve their quality of life. This program includes courses in addiction diagnosis and treatment, along with general education requirements at the undergraduate level. Classes are available both in-person and remote, though some courses may include in-person work at hospitals and clinics in the Philadelphia metro area. Students at Drexel typically attend a work-study program during their junior year to further their professional experience before graduation.

The substance abuse and addiction counseling program at Metropolitan State University provides a foundation for undergraduate students that want to become involved in helping patients overcome addiction and complete rehabilitation for drug and alcohol abuse. Students interested in exploring this major learn how to communicate and assess patients. It is common for undergraduates to complete an on or off-campus internship at a local addiction center, which helps many students develop professional relationships and references for when they graduate.

Winona State University in Minnesota offers an undergraduate substance abuse and addiction counseling program, which is the first step for students interested in helping others overcome addiction in a professional capacity. It is common for students to take classes in psychology and chemistry as an introduction to the broader field, along with hands-on classes to familiarize themselves with patient interaction and communication. Winona State offers a four-year path with opportunities to apply early to jobs made available within their alumni network.

Grand Canyon University has a substance abuse and addiction counseling program that emphasizes courses in psychology and addiction recovery and is organized to prepare students for professional roles immediately upon completion of their bachelor’s degree. This program is structured to be completed in four years and provides students a range of local internship opportunities and seminars to further their understanding of the connection between addiction and mental health, and the ability to work directly with patients to address their issues with substance abuse.

For students interested in pursuing a substance abuse and addiction counseling degree in Pennsylvania, the University of St. Francis offers a competitive track with ample professional observation opportunities at addiction and rehabilitation firms in the Pittsburgh metro area. Undergraduates are advised to apply to internships during their degree program and in summer breaks to gain hands-on experience that will be invaluable when they apply for professional roles post-graduation.

The substance abuse and addiction counseling program at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) offers classes geared towards students preparing to enter into the field as a therapist, social worker, or school resource officer. Outside of the classroom, students have opportunities off-campus with internships at the VCU Health Motivate Clinic at Jackson Center, and hospitals in the Richmond metro.

The University of Minnesota - Twin Cities offers a bachelor’s degree in substance abuse and addiction counseling for students in Minnesota that have an interest in helping others overcome addiction. Courses that contribute to this program include statistics, institutional policy research, and prevention. Graduates should be aware UM Twin Cities has a large network locally to assist recent graduates in post-graduation job placement.

Nova Southeastern University
Fort Lauderdale, FL
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Nova Southeastern University’s substance abuse and addiction counseling program is structured to prepare students interested in pursuing a career helping children and adults overcome addiction and lead healthy lives. Applicants should note that clinical instruction and professional internship experience are critical to this major and that graduates typically enter the workforce immediately after graduation if they don’t plan on earning a master’s degree. Students in this program can expect to find job opportunities in metro Ft. Lauderdale, and access to a large alumni network that will help when pursuing full-time employment.

For Nevada residents with aspirations of pursuing a degree in substance abuse and addiction counseling, the University of Nevada - Las Vegas offers a four-year program designed to prepare students for jobs in fields like medicine and therapy after graduation. Students are advised to take classes in psychology and treatment, as well as in-person labs to gain experience working in clinical settings with patients and practicing professionals.

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center offers 2 Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling degree programs. It's a medium sized, public, four-year university in a large city. In 2020, 1 Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling students graduated with students earning 1 Master's degree.

List of all Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling colleges in the U.S.

School Average Tuition Student Teacher Ratio Enrolled Students
Drexel University Logo Drexel University Philadelphia, PA
22 : 1 23,589
Metropolitan State University Logo Metropolitan State University Saint Paul, MN
52 : 1 7,552
Winona State University Logo Winona State University Winona, MN
23 : 1 7,106
Grand Canyon University Logo Grand Canyon University Phoenix, AZ
224 : 1 103,427
University of St Francis Logo University of St Francis Joliet, IL
37 : 1 3,529