Addiction counseling focuses on treating the emotional, mental, and behavioral issues related to alcohol and substance abuse. It includes assessment, diagnosis, therapy, and prevention of contributory behaviors and helps individuals overcome their addiction.

To become an addiction counselor, you'll need a bachelor's or master's degree. An addiction counseling degree will best prepare you for working with clients in this capacity. There are many options for online learning, and getting a degree online is easier now than ever. To learn how to earn a degree in addiction counseling, continue reading below.

Choosing the Right Online Addiction Counseling Degree Program

Becoming a licensed addiction counselor requires attaining a master's degree. However, you can begin working in the field with just a bachelor's degree or go on for a doctorate.

Whatever degree you enroll in, it's essential to make sure the online program you pick is adequately accredited. The Counsel for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs, and the American Psychological Association are two widely recognized accrediting bodies.

Bachelor's Degree

An online bachelor's degree can qualify you for lower-level (non-licensed) positions. You'll likely be able to work directly with clients, but not necessarily in an official counseling capacity.

Many colleges and universities offer a bachelor's in addiction counseling or a bachelor's in addiction studies. These degree programs cover the core courses that most bachelor's do. They then delve into classes that explore addictions from a scientific and counseling perspective. Completing a bachelor's degree online takes most students four years.

Master’s Degree

To practice as a licensed counselor, you must complete a master's degree in counseling. You can do a general counseling program or an addiction counseling program that'll better prepare you for working with clients who have alcohol and substance abuse habits.

An online master's degree in addiction counseling will cover counseling basics and then delve into addiction counseling at a deeper level. The program should take one to two years and involve a practicum.

Graduate Certificate

A graduate certificate allows you to specialize in a particular type of counseling, such as addiction counseling. You might pursue a certificate in addiction counseling if this is the field you want to work in, but your master's is in general counseling.

Alternatively, a certificate might allow you to work more with a bachelor's degree. You could complete a bachelor's, a certificate, and a master's.

Most online certificate programs take six months to one year and cover only courses directly related to addiction counseling.


An online doctorate in addiction counseling allows you to study and practice at the highest levels. The coursework is the most advanced degree program, narrowly focused on addiction counseling, and prepares you for research, teaching, and leadership positions.

There are two potential doctorates that addiction counselors can pursue. The first is a Ph.D., a research-based program that takes four to six years. The second is a Psy.D., which is a clinical program that takes three years. The Psy.D. has a substantial practicum component, while the Ph.D. has an extensive research paper. Either program can qualify for licensure if you skip the masters.

Which Addiction Counseling Degree Program Is Best for Me?

Bachelor’s DegreeMaster’s DegreeGraduate CertPh.D. or PsyD
I am interested in gaining entry-level experience in addiction counselingx
I want to get started in my addiction counseling career before I pursue more educationx
I want to become a licensed professional counselorx
I want to pursue or switch to a niche counseling specialtyxx
I already have a counseling degree and want to gain specialized knowledgexx
I want to work in academia, administration, or clinical practicex

Addiction Counseling Degree Program Curriculum

The coursework for these degrees includes an extensive study on addiction counseling. The bachelor's also includes general studies. Some examples of classes are:

  • Bachelor’s Degree: ~120 credits; Intro to Substance Abuse Disorders, Theories of Personality and Addiction, Group Counseling in Addiction
  • Master’s Degree: ~30-60 credits; Co-Occurring Disorders, Diagnostics, Assessment and Treatment, Counseling Chemical Dependency Adolescents
  • Graduate Certificate: ~12-20 credits; Co-Occurring Disorders, Diagnostics, Assessment, and Treatment, Counseling Chemical Dependency Adolescents
  • Doctorate Degree: ~80-120 credits; Drug Abuse and Human Behavior, Addiction Programs and Professional Development, Psychological Psychology

Addiction Counseling Degree Program Clinical Requirements

Addiction counseling degree programs have a clinical placement component called a “practicum.” It provides students with hands-on experience in a supervised setting, where they can directly work with clients struggling with addiction.

Accredited master’s programs in counseling psychology generally require at least 600 hours of clinical experience, while Psy.D. programs in the field mandate a minimum of 1,500 hours. Bachelor's programs might not have an official requirement, but they will likely encourage students to gain practical experience. Ph.D. programs usually have a practicum that's between that of a master's and a Psy.D.

Faculty can provide valuable guidance to students seeking clinical placements in addiction treatment facilities. Because you’ll be enrolled in an online program, you will likely complete these clinical hours within your community.

List of Online Addiction Counseling Degree Programs

Are you looking for an online addiction counseling degree program near you? Browse our state-by-state school listings below.

Jump to Your State Listings


Certificate Programs
1971 Jagerson Ave
Kingman, AZ 86409-1238
(928) 757-4331

9414 North 25th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85021
(602) 371-1188


Certificate Programs
3000 College Heights Blvd
Ridgecrest, CA 93555-9571
(760) 384-6100

50 Frida Kahlo Drive
San Francisco, CA 94112-1898
(415) 239-3000


800 Country Club Rd
Waterbury, CT 06723
(800) 345-2562

Graduate Certificate Programs
501 Crescent Street
New Haven, CT 06515-1355
(203) 392-5200


Graduate Certificate Programs
341 Tigert Hall 300 SW 13th St
Gainesville, FL 32611
(352) 392-1202


Administration Building
Athens, GA 30602
(706) 542-3000



347 S Gladstone Ave
Aurora, IL 60506-4892
(630) 892-6431


107 South Indiana Ave.
Bloomington, IN 47405-7000
(812) 855-4848

Graduate Certificate Programs
2300 S Washington St
Kokomo, IN 46902-9003
(765) 453-2000

1900 West 50th Street
Marion, IN 46953
(765) 677-2870

2550 Northwestern Avenue, Suite 1100
West Lafayette, IN 47906
(866) 522-7747


2030 E College Way
Olathe, KS 66062-1899
(913) 782-3750

Certificate Programs
1700 SW College Avenue
Topeka, KS 66621-0001
(785) 670-1010


521 Lancaster Ave
Richmond, KY 40475-3102
(859) 622-1000

6191 College Station Drive
Williamsburg, KY 40769
(606) 549-2200


175 Sam Sibley Drive
Natchitoches, LA 71497-0002
(318) 357-6011


1500 Birchmont Dr
Bemidji, MN 56601
(800) 475-2001

Graduate Certificate Programs
225 South 6th Street, 9th Floor
Minneapolis, MN 55402-3389
(866) 808-4080

15251 Pleasant Valley Rd
Center City, MN 55012-0011
(888) 257-7800 x4175

Bachelor's Programs
720 Fourth Ave. South
Saint Cloud, MN 56301-4498
(320) 308-0121

100 Washington Avenue South, Suite 900
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(866) 492-5336

Certificate Programs
175 West Mark Street
Winona, MN 55987-5838
(507) 457-5000


2504 9th Avenue
Kearney, NE 68849-1212
(308) 865-8441

North Carolina

Graduate Certificate Programs
One University Drive
Pembroke, NC 28372-1510
(910) 521-6000

North Dakota

7500 University Dr
Bismarck, ND 58504
(701) 255-7500


1 John Carroll Boulevard
University Heights, OH 44118-4538
(888) 388-2977

Graduate Certificate Programs
2600 Cleveland Avenue NW
Canton, OH 44709-3308
(330) 471-8100

1476 Lancaster Pike
Circleville, OH 43113-9487
(740) 474-8896

2624 Clifton Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0063
(513) 556-6000


3500 SW 119th St
Oklahoma City, OK 73170-9797
(405) 691-3800


Graduate Certificate Programs
5600 City Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19131-1395
(610) 660-1000

800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085-1699
(610) 519-4500

One University Place
Chester, PA 19013-5792
(610) 499-4000


1276 Gilbreath Drive
Johnson City, TN 37614
(423) 439-1000


1971 University Blvd
Lynchburg, VA 24515
(434) 582-2000

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

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