The 25 Best Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling Online for 2019

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By BCR Staff
September 2018

An online degree in substance abuse counseling can be earned at all degree levels, from associate to doctoral, and will help to prepare students to work with clients facing acute behavioral crises. Also known as addiction and behavioral disorder counselors, substance abuse counselors help people overcome issues such as alcoholism, drug use, gambling addictions, or eating disorders.
According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, almost a quarter of a trillion dollars of the United State’s yearly healthcare costs in 2011 were attributable to substance abuse and addiction. Unfortunately, with an opioid crisis taking center stage across the country, that number may only continue to rise. Consequently, communities around the nation are in dire need of professionals with an in-depth knowledge of both the complex underpinnings of addiction – psychological, biological, cultural, etc. – as well as thorough training in counseling and care.

Featured Online Masters in Substance Abuse Counseling Degree Programs

In this ranking, our editors examine our picks of the top 20 Online Master’s for Substance Abuse Counselling programs. For more generalized information regarding distance learning visit our ranking of the top online colleges.

 

Rating and Ranking Methodology

Tuition Points:

  • Under $45,000—1 point
  • Under $40,000—2 points
  • Under $35,000—3 points
  • Under $30,000—4 points
  • Under $25,000—5 points
  • Under $20,000—6 points
  • Under $15,000—7 points
  • Under $10,000—8 points
  • Under $5,000—9 points

US News and World Report Recognition as a Top Online School for Master’s in Engineering Programs

  • Top 5— 5 points
  • Top 10— 4 points
  • Top 25 —3 points
  • Top 50 —2 points
  • Top 75 —1 point

Customization Options

  • Format Customizations (e.g. Hybrid/Online, Full-time/Part-Time, Accelerated, Degree Completion, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option
  • Content Customizations (e.g. Minors, Concentrations, Specializations, etc.)—1 Point Per Customization Option (5-point cap)

Wow Factor

  • 1 point awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us

 

Our editor started with a list of 35 colleges and then used our customized ranking methodology to shortlist the TOP 25. We were able to narrow these initial findings by applying a few factors such as affordability (average net price is capped at $35,000), program customization, return-on-investment, and career prospects. Finally, we used information from U.S. News & World Report as well as from each school’s website to apply the rating and ranking methodology above. In the event of a tie in points, the school with the lower tuition receives the higher ranking.

Check them out below!

 

#25 –  Cambridge College

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 6

Website

Cambridge College

Addiction Counseling students in Cambridge College online have three different graduate programs opportunities through which to focus their degree, depending on their academic and career goals: Counseling Psychology, Mental Health Counseling, and School Adjustment Counseling. In any department, students receive a broadly thorough education in counseling addicts.

Graduates from Cambridge College’s online Master of Addictions Counseling will have opportunities to work in many different fields and environments in which honest, compassionate counselors are needed, such as public health agencies, youth services, residential treatment programs, hospitals, outpatient substance abuse programs, and homeless shelters.

Tuition Fee: $500 per credit hour

 

#24 –  Monmouth University

Online MAaa in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 6

Website

Monmouth University offers an MA in Psychological Counseling with an Addiction Studies track that consists of 33 credits. Core requirements include Mental Health Counseling, Psychopathology, Counseling Theory & Technique, Treatment of Drug/Alcohol Abuse, Advanced Alcohol/Drug Counseling, and Substance Awareness in the Schools, among others. Students must also complete a practicum in order to gain valuable hands-on experience. Interested students can also complete the coursework necessary for licensure eligibility by taking the Addiction Studies Concentration as part of the 60-credit Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling program.

The school also offers a graduate certificate in Professional Counseling. Monmouth’s program is unique in that is accredited by two bodies, the International Coalition of Addiction Studies Educators and the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission, so employers can be assured that the curriculum is rigorous, comprehensive, and vetted. For students’ maximum flexibility, the school offers full- and part-time tracks to accommodate busy schedules.

Tuition Fee: $1047 per credit hour

 

#23 –  Governor’s State University

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 6

Website

Governors State University’s Master of Health Science in Addictions Studies prepares leaders in addictions prevention and treatment. As the number of people suffering from substance abuse and addiction grows, so too does the demand for licensed substance abuse counselors.

Through a curriculum fully accredited by the Illinois Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Professional Certification Association (IAODAPCA), you’ll receive the skills and background you need to meet the changing needs of clients and their communities. The program is also accredited by the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC), which is the only accrediting body that represents addiction-focused educators and practitioners.

Governors State’s 32-credit hour MHS in Addiction Studies is offered in three flexible formats: courses can be taken fully on-campus, through hybrid courses in which 50% of the coursework is completed online, or fully online.

Tuition Fee: In-state – $412 per credit hour   |   Out-of-state – $719 per credit hour

 

#22 –  California Southern University

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 7

Website

California Southern University offers a thoroughly challenging online Master of Science in Psychology in Alcoholism and Chemical Dependency that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of “chemical dependency and compulsive disorder issues, including drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders, gambling and sexual compulsive disorders, and many others.”

CSU’s program has been developed with an emphasis on research, mentorship and practical experience in a non-clinical setting. Since this is an online program, you will be able to maintain your pace and manage your own time, with any other work or family obligations you might have.

CalSouthern’s online master’s program leads to career advancement within the field, an avenue to impressive doctoral programs, and licensure as a clinical psychologist. In the broad variety of coursework “ranging from diagnosis and treatment and family systems to dual diagnoses and eating disorder,” students will gain the technique and understanding to apply toward a fulfilling career.

Tuition Fee: $425 per credit hour

 

#21 –  Mid-America Christian University

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 7

Website

The online MS in Counseling with an Addiction and Substance Abuse Counseling emphasis provides thorough and integrated psychological and psychotherapeutic knowledge to prepare you for licensure as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor.

Mid-America Christian University offers an MS in Counseling with an Addiction and Substance Abuse Counseling emphasis that consists of 48 credits. A broad-based, integrated program, the curriculum focuses on a combination of psychological and psychotherapeutic knowledge to prepare students for licensure as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor, with an emphasis on both academic theories and real-world, professional work and care.

Graduates have had real and measurable success: MACU has a 79% pass rate on licensure tests and is ranked #5 out of 19 universities in Oklahoma (it is the only one with a 100% online option). For maximum flexibility, students have the option to complete coursework exclusively online or through hybrid formats, and there are numerous entry dates throughout the year. With an accelerated track, students can expect to complete their degrees in just 2 years, while maintaining current careers and responsibilities.

Tuition Fee: $582 per credit hour

 

#20 –  Post University

Online MS in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 7

Website

Post University provides an online Master of Science in Human Services degree program, with an option for concentration in Alcohol and Drug Counseling. Designed for professionals already working in rehabilitative counseling or similar fields, the program helps students advance their careers through advancing their education.

Students enhance their ability to make effective, long-term impact in the lives of the people they serve and assist, through expanding their knowledge of prevention, assessment, diagnosis, and prevention in an interdisciplinary curriculum.

The online MS in Human Services program requires 37 credit hours and includes the following core courses:

  • Human Services Ethics and Diversity
  • Human Development Through the Lifecycle
  • Human Services Policy
  • Human Service Management
  • Applied Research Methods in Human Services

Tuition Fee: $570 per credit hour

 

#19 –  Grand Canyon University

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 8

Website

Grand Canyon University Top Online Bachelor's in Finance

Grand Canyon University’s online Master of Science in Addiction Counseling degree program prepares students for careers in the field of addiction counseling, including private practice, clinical work, group practice, and owning their own practice. Students enhance their ability to diagnose, assess, and treat clients, with a curriculum which addresses practical and theoretical knowledge, as well as cultural and diversity issues in counseling, and well as adolescent addiction treatment.

The online MS in Addiction Counseling program requires 36 credit hours and includes the following core courses:

  • Introduction to Graduate Studies in the Health Sciences
  • Professional Counseling Orientation and Ethics
  • Counseling Theories
  • Introduction to Addictions and Substance Use Disorders
  • Group Counseling Theory and Practice
  • Social and Cultural Diversity Issues in Counseling

Tuition Fee: $670 per credit hour

 

#18 – North Texas University

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 8

Website

The University of North Texas provides an online Masters of Science with a major in Rehabilitation Counseling. The University of North Texas’ graduate programs are ranked #13 in the nation and #1 in Texas according to U.S. News & World Report. The program is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE).

Graduates of the master’s program of rehabilitation counseling go on to help individuals with disabilities find jobs, feel empowered to live a productive life and undergo challenging transitions with guided support. Alumni of our rehabilitation counseling program may be seen in community rehabilitation centers, Veterans Affairs offices, schools or in addiction clinics, building a bridge to recovery and a sustainable life.

The program requires 60 credit hours. Beyond the classroom, students participate in field-site internship experiences and emphasize on exposure to a broad spectrum of rehabilitation services, professional organizations, interdisciplinary professional activities, and advocacy and consumer groups in the field of rehabilitation. Students are required to achieve three hours of practicum and six hours of an internship.

Tuition Fee: 872.83 per credit hour

 

#17 – Nova Southeastern University

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 8

Website

Nova Southeastern University offers an innovative academic program designed for the working professional actively involved in or entering the field of counseling. The master’s degree in Counseling with a Substance Abuse Counseling concentration (48 credit hours) or Substance Abuse Counseling and Education concentration (60 credit hours) is an innovative academic program designed for the working professional actively involved in or entering the field of Substance Abuse Counseling or related fields. The online format is particularly designed to serve the training needs of administrators and practitioners who seek advanced training, but who cannot access quality training without the interruption of ongoing work responsibilities.

Sample courses include Research and Evaluation for Counselors, Diagnosis and Treatment of Adult Psychopathology, Career and Lifestyle Assessment, Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling, and Psychopharmacology of Illicit and Licit Drugs.

Tuition Fee: $670 per credit hour

 

#16 – Washburn University

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 8

Website

Washburn University offers an online Master of Arts in Human Services/Addiction Counseling degree program which provides a holistic, integrative approach to the work of addiction counseling. Students enhance their ability to apply theory and research in the field toward serving their clients, assessing, diagnosing, and treating their clients so as to promote positive change and healing.

The program prepares students to pursue and advance careers in a variety of settings in the addiction counseling field.

The Master in Human Services/Addiction Counseling online degree program requires 36 credit hours and includes the following core courses:

  • Integrative Human Services
  • Advanced Methods of Individual Counseling
  • Professional Ethics and Practice
  • Advanced Methods of Group Counseling
  • Advanced Pharmacology and Substance Use Disorders
  • Diagnosis of Substance Use Disorders

Tuition Fee: $513 per credit hour

 

#15 – Assumption College

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counselling

POINTS – 9

Website

The online graduate program in Rehabilitation Counseling is a 20-course, 60-credit program that can be completed over 8 semesters in less than 3 years. Upon completion, students will be awarded a Master of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling and will be eligible to sit for the CRC exam. This program has courses like Effective Use of Technology
In Rehabilitation, Private Sector & Forensic Rehabilitation, Intro to Counseling Theory & Practice and Rehabilitation Research & Program Evaluation.

Highlights:

  • Multiple learning modalities: online, experiential, practice, team
  • Outcomes-based learning: practical application of knowledge and career preparation
  • Curriculum designed to national standards with input from professionals in the field
  • IT dedicated support is available and responsive to student needs.
  • The faculty has interest, investment, and experience in teaching online courses.
  • The program is primarily asynchronous and allows students to learn at their own convenience each week.

Tuition Fee: $691.00 per credit hour

 

#14 – Virginia Commonwealth University

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 9

Website

Virginia Commonwealth University’s 60 credit Master of Science program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Counseling and Counseling-Related Programs (CACREP) and those graduates are immediately eligible for certification as Certified Rehabilitation Counselors, and following residency, for Licensed Professional Counselor status.

The Advanced Certificate in Professional Counseling program is designed to meet the needs of counseling professionals with masters degrees from other universities who wish to become licensed professional counselors or those who seek certification in a variety of specialty areas, such as vocational evaluation, life-care planning, and mental health or addiction counseling, among others. Our distance-learning Ph.D. in Health Related Sciences, with an emphasis in rehabilitation leadership, is designed to train and mentor future rehabilitation researchers, educators or high-level administrators.

Two courses, RHAB 612 Group Counseling, and RHAB 691 Counseling Techniques are each offered on-campus in a one-week intensive “boot camp” format, as well as in the traditional weekly meeting format.

Tuition Fee: $456 per credit hour

 

#13 – University of Cumberlands

MA in Substance Abuse Counseling Online

POINTS – 9

Website

University_of_the_Cumberlands

The University of the Cumberlands offers an online Master of Arts in Professional Counseling degree program, with the option to pursue an Addiction Counseling Track. The program teaches students how to apply contemporary theories of intervention and prevention practices for effective addiction counseling, for individuals and groups. Students enhance their ability to assess, diagnose, and develop a treatment plan for their clients. The program prepares students to pursue a career in professional addiction counseling in a variety of settings.

The online MA in Professional Counseling program requires 60 credit hours and includes the following core courses:

  • Introduction to Professional Counseling
  • Legal and Ethical Issues in Counseling
  • Psychological Assessment in Clinical Practice
  • Human Grown and Development
  • Counseling Theories
  • Theories and Practice of Multicultural Counseling

Tuition Fee: $400 per credit hour

 

#12 – Ottawa University

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 10

Website

Ottawa University offers an online Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling degree program designed to prepare students for a career in the field of addiction counseling. Integrating theory, research, and practice, the program prepares students to work in a variety of settings, assessing and treating the individual needs of clients struggling with addiction.

In this Addiction Counseling program, you will study the factors that influence the delivery of addiction counseling and substance use disorder services. The program is designed to help you develop critical-thinking skills and strategies to help people achieve long-term recovery.

The online MA in Addiction Counseling program includes the following core courses:

  • Multicultural Concerns in Addictions Counseling
  • Law and Ethics in Addictions Counseling
  • Theories and Practices of Groups in Addictions Counseling
  • Methods and Models of Research in Addictions Counseling
  • Psychopharmacology and Addictions Counseling

Tuition Fee: $635 per credit hour

 

#11 – Liberty University

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 10

Website

Liberty University’s Master’s in Addiction Counseling degree online provides you with the education and training required for certification or licensure as an addiction counselor or substance abuse counselor. Our addiction counseling degree is designed to fulfill or exceed the requirements for many national and state board organizations. You will be provided with counseling tools and skills to work with individuals as they move towards recovery organically.

Earning an Addiction Counseling degree provides students with the ability and knowledge to become an addiction counselor or start a career in other substance abuse related fields. Students pursuing our graduate program in substance abuse counseling will have access to knowledgeable professors who have years of experience in the areas of substance abuse and addiction counseling. Graduates will have a mastery of knowledge of critical concepts in the substance abuse and addiction counseling fields, such as counseling techniques, treatment, and the recovery process.

This program requires 48 credits and takes up to 2 years to complete.

Tuition Fee: $540 per credit hour

 

#10 – West Virginia University

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 10

Website

The clinical rehabilitation and mental health counselor education online program in the College of Education and Human Services offers a curriculum at the master’s degree level. All students complete coursework related to disability, mental health, addiction, and rehabilitation issues as well as coursework in counseling and resource management.  The clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling program is available for both full- and part-time students in an e-campus delivery modality. It is offered through WVU Online and starts in the fall of each year.

The objectives of the program are linked to the intent to provide: educational experiences for every student that facilitates the development of knowledge, skills, and beliefs necessary to practice as a qualified rehabilitation and mental health counselor; learning opportunities to support students’ ability to implement culturally responsive and ethically sound counseling practices, and clinical training environments that are focused on real-world expectations. Graduates work in vocational rehabilitation agencies and companies, and mental health and substance abuse service agencies.

Tuition Fee: In-state –  $406 per credit hour  |  Out-of-state – $1160 per credit hour

 

#9 – University of South Dakota

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 11

Website

University of South Dakota

The university designed the online Master of Arts in Addiction Studies degree program for professionals already working in the field of addiction counseling, looking to advance their careers. Toward this goal, the program comes in two varieties: a standard track, and an advanced track, for professionals already Certified or Licensed as an Addiction Counselor, or who have successfully completed an addiction studies bachelor’s degree.

The online Master in Addiction Studies program enables students to advance their careers in the field of addiction and substance abuse counseling through advancing their education and qualifications. Students develop a strong foundation in ethical practices and contemporary clinical theories and approaches, enhancing their ability to serve their clients through private, group, and family counseling sessions, in a variety of treatment settings.

This Master’s degree in Addiction Counseling online degree program requires 45 credit hours for the Standard track, 33 credit hours for the advanced track.

Tuition Fee: $450.90 per credit hour

 

#8 – Indiana Wesleyan University

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 11

Website

The 48-credit-hour online Master of Arts with a major in Clinical Addictions Counseling degree program helps prepare students to meet credential requirements. The program adheres to current evidence-based practice, integrating a Christian worldview with a behavioral and social sciences orientation.

Indiana Wesleyan University’s Master of Arts in Clinical Addiction Counseling online degree program prepares students to deal with substance abuse and chemical addictions, as well as eating, sexual, and gambling addictions.

Candidates must complete core, clinical experience, specialization, and elective courses as advised by the Graduate Counseling department. In addition, individualized programs of study can be designed which enable students to fulfill requirements for multiple specializations and license types. Up to nine (9) hours of electives may be transferred from another institution or taken from other graduate programs at Indiana Wesleyan University.

Tuition Fee: $533 per credit hour

 

#7 – Emporia State University

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 11

Website

Emporia State University offers an online Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling online degree program which cultivates professional knowledge, ethical principles, and social responsibility.

Students graduate prepared for careers in the field in a variety of settings and enhance their ability to effectively assess and meet the individual needs of their clients, to manage their cases, and offer other rehabilitation services to help the clients make a positive change in their lives.

The online MS in Rehabilitation Counseling program requires 48 credit hours and includes the following core courses:

  • Psychosocial Development and Disability
  • Foundations of Rehabilitation Counseling
  • Counseling Theories
  • Employment Issues in Rehabilitation

Tuition Fee: $480.82 per credit hour

 

#6 – Removed by Editor

 

#5 – Aspen University

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 12

Website

The Master of Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling online is a degree designed to prepare students to advance in the field of addiction counseling. This program is structured around courses that address primary theories of individual and family counseling as well as addiction-specific topics related to the treatment and prevention of substance abuse.

Aspen University’s online Master of Arts in Psychology and Addiction Counseling degree will increase the students’ understanding of addiction, including its psychological and neurological aspects and appropriate treatments, as well as theories of substance abuse prevention and approaches to counseling both individuals and families.

The program has 16 courses and 48 credits. The sample courses include Substance Abuse Prevention, Neurobiology of Addiction, Advanced Counselling Skills, Drug Enforcement, Clinical Supervision, etc.

Tuition Fee: $325 per credit hour

 

#4 – University of Massachusetts – Boston

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 12

Website

The University of Massachusetts, Boston offers an online Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling degree program which emphasizes adaptation as a tool of progress and accomplishment and respect for the culturally diverse backgrounds of all people.

Students enhance their ability to serve clients and meet their individual needs by advancing educational access, and economic and social participation.

The program prepares students to work in a variety of settings, serving people of many different backgrounds.

The online Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling requires 60 credit hours and includes the following core courses: Research and Evaluation, Abnormal Psychology, and Principles of Vocational, Educational, and Psychological Assessment and Group Counseling and Group Dynamics. Students must also complete a practicum and internship.

Tuition Fee: In-state – $760.60 per credit hour  |  Out-of-state: $1470 per credit hour

 

#3 – University of Buffalo

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 13

Website

The University at Buffalo offers an online Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling degree program designed to prepare students for a variety of careers in rehabilitation counseling, including addiction and substance abuse counseling at all levels. The program provides a rehabilitation counseling curriculum with a commitment to respecting and incorporating diversity and promoting personal integrity and professional ethics.

Students in the program enhance their ability to assess and treat the individual needs of their clients, break down physical and attitudinal barriers which affect them and help their clients establish control and positive change in their lives.

Students in the online MS in Rehabilitation Counseling program must also complete a practicum, an internship, and comprehensive exam or research project. Students may focus their studies directly on substance abuse and addiction counseling through elective coursework, and through pursuing their practicum and internship at relevant facilities.

Tuition Fee: $555 per credit hour

 

#2 – University of Oklahoma

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

POINTS – 13

Website

University of Oklahoma’s online Master of Prevention Science is an accredited, flexible, and affordable degree program designed to help you take on the real-world challenges facing communities today. In this program, you will learn the theoretical and real-world skills necessary to help others fight addiction, and you will graduate prepared to pursue the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium’s Certified Prevention Specialist (IC & RC CPS) credential, the most respected credential in prevention.

The online Master of Prevention Science is a fast-paced, accelerated program designed to accommodate working adults. When you are admitted into the program, you will be assigned an advisor who creates an individualized graduation plan. This plan will help organize and identify the courses you need for your degree. Overall, this program requires 18 core, nine elective, and six completion courses.

Tuition Fee: In-state – $408.14 per credit hour   |  Out-of-state – $1018.94 per credit hour

 

#1 – Capella University

Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counselling

POINTS – 14

Website

Capella University’s online Master’s in Addiction Studies is designed with the latest in theory and practice from experienced doctoral faculty who are actively engaged in their professions. The program is built to meet state credentialing standards and aligned with the Advanced Alcohol & Drug Counselor (AADC) certification. Successful completion of this program requires 48 total quarter credits, with 12 max transfer credits.

Through the integration of contemporary substance abuse treatment theory with practical application, this program is designed to provide the professional competencies necessary to help those with substance use disorders.

Sample Courses:

  • Survey of Research in Human Development for Addiction Professionals
  • Assessment of Addiction
  • Principles of Integrated Addiction and Mental Health Treatment
  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Addiction Treatment
  • Group Therapy in Addiction Treatment

Tuition Fee: $545 per credit hour

 

This concludes our ranking of the Top Online Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling. Thanks for checking us out!

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