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Alcohol & Drug Counseling Undergraduate Certificate

  • Credits:
    (2 terms)
  • Degree:

Program Description

Prepare for careers helping others to overcome drug and alcohol addiction. The Drug and Alcohol Counseling certificate program at Cambridge College provides professional training in substance abuse and addictions treatment, education, and prevention. Hands-on experiences include a 300-hour supervised practicum in a licensed counseling facility. Successful completion of the program leads to drug and alcohol counseling certification or licensure.

Apply Drug and Alcohol Courses Toward a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree at Cambridge College

In addition to being offered as a standalone certificate program, drug and alcohol counseling courses may also be accepted into a Cambridge College bachelor’s or master’s degree. Courses must meet current program requirements at time of matriculation.

Cambridge College Drug and Alcohol Counseling Program Highlights

Take the next step toward a rewarding career in the fast-growing field of drug and alcohol counseling. Cambridge College offers a flexible, affordable certificate program specifically designed to meet the needs of adult learners.

  • Flexible class options. Complete your drug and alcohol counseling certification via day, evening, weekend, and online classes that help you balance education with time at work and home.
  • Hands-on training. Gain real-world experience—including 10 hours in each of the 12 core functions of an addictions counselor—working in a licensed counseling facility under the guidance of an approved supervisor.
  • Exceptional value. Get a quality education while saving on tuition at one of the most affordable four-year private nonprofit colleges in the United States.
  • Experienced faculty. Work closely with expert faculty who bring professional counseling experience and real-world insights to the drug and alcohol program.
  • Diverse students. Collaborate with students from all over the world at one of the most ethnically diverse colleges in America.
  • Convenient locations. All of our classroom locations are close to public transportation and/or offer free parking for students. 

U.S. News & World Report ranked substance abuse counseling at #50 in the nation and #4 in the category of “Best Social Services Jobs” in its list of “The 100 Best Jobs.” The report ranked jobs according to salary and employment potential. 

Drug and Alcohol Counseling Program Learning Outcomes

As an addiction counselor, you’ll need to be able to communicate effectively, think critically, adapt to different situations, and manage stress. You’ll also need to be an excellent listener with strong interpersonal skills.

The certificate in drug and alcohol counseling at Cambridge College helps to develop your abilities in each of these areas, in addition to providing professional training in the 12 core functions of an addictions counselor:

  1. Screening
  2. Intake
  3. Orientation
  4. Assessment
  5. Treatment planning
  6. Counseling
  7. Case management
  8. Crisis intervention
  9. Education
  10. Referral
  11. Reporting and record keeping
  12. Consultation with other professionals

When you complete your drug and alcohol certification, you’ll be ready for interdisciplinary counseling practice working with individuals, caregivers, families, staff, and other professionals. 

Drug and Alcohol Counseling Jobs

Drug and alcohol counseling professionals assess addiction problems and treat patients in a variety of ways. In addition to working with patients on an ongoing basis, addiction counselors also consult with the families of patients to help determine the best treatment options.

Drug and alcohol counselors work in public health agencies, youth services, residential treatment programs, hospitals, outpatient substance abuse programs, and homeless shelters. Many counselors also run outreach programs to warn others about the dangers of addiction and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

It’s a field that offers above average job security.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 23.2 percent employment growth for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors between 2016 and 2026. This is more than twice the average growth rate for employment in other fields, and equates to an estimated 23,800 new jobs opening in that period.

Drug and Alcohol Counseling Salary

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for substance abuse counselors is $43,300.

Keep in mind that your drug and alcohol counseling salary will vary based on location, years of experience, and other factors.

Example Drug and Alcohol Counseling Courses

Drug and alcohol counseling courses include:

  • Alcohol and Drugs in Society
  • Role of the Professional in Alcohol and Drug Treatment
  • Practicum Seminar in Alcohol and Drug Counseling

Download the Drug and Alcohol Counseling program sheet. 

Drug and Alcohol Counseling Scholarships and Financial Aid

Cambridge College offers a variety of scholarship opportunities to help with tuition. As an undergraduate student, you might also be eligible for other types of financial assistance, such as federal and state grants or loans.

The first step is completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Learn more about applying for financial aid

Related Programs at Cambridge College

If you’re still exploring degree options, you might be interested in learning more about these programs at Cambridge College: 


Alcohol and Drug Counseling Courses

Please note: this certificate was reduced to 18 credits effective 2020-2021. To view previous years' curriculum, see our catalog back issues.

Alcohol and Drugs in Society
ADC 505 3 credit(s)
This course provides an overview of alcohol and other drugs of abuse in our society today. The common drugs of abuse will be named and their actions based on substance, setting and individual psychological set will be described and examined. We will explore the consequences of abuse and dependence to the individual, the family, and society at large. Historical approaches to this issue including understanding etiological factors, as well as scientific methods of treatment, rehabilitation and prevention will be covered. Bio-psychosocial assessment and related interventions will be identified, including medications, counseling, 12 Step support and other psychological methods.
Family Treatment of Substance Abuse
ADC 611 3 credit(s)
This course focuses on the integration of various treatment models for substance use disorders (SUDs) within a family systems framework. Students will develop the skills necessary to assess, diagnose, and treat SUDs in the context of diverse cultural and minority populations. Emphasis is on the creation of SMART goals for clients and culturally sensitive treatment strategies that account for the multifaceted nature of SUDs within families.
Role of the Professional in Alcohol and Drug Treatment
ADC 601 3 credit(s)
This course provides an overview of the professional role in alcohol and drug treatment. Students will explore the historical development of treatment services, the evolution of treatment modalities, and the influence of governmental and private entities on standards and credentials for counselors and professionals, including the core functions for substance abuse counselors.
Psychopharmacology in Addictions Treatment
ADC 625 3 credit(s)
This course explores the basic neurobiological processes of psychotropic medications and the use of medication-assisted treatment for substance use disorders while emphasizing the challenge of integrating evidence-based treatment and psychopharmacological interventions for co-occurring disorders. It delves into historical practices and the increasing use of newer, less addictive medications impacting addiction neurochemistry.
Addiction Counseling
ADC 642 3 credit(s)
This course provides an introduction to substance abuse treatment. Students will delve into prevention and treatment strategies, the interconnectedness of substance use theories on the origins of addiction, the pharmacology of psychoactive drugs, cultural influences on substance use, and the assessment and intervention techniques for individuals and their families affected by substance abuse. Special emphasis is placed on developing skills in diagnosis, treatment planning, and facilitating referrals to appropriate resources. This course addresses the following Massachusetts State Standard for School Counseling: f: Knowledge of strategies used for the prevention and treatment of substance abuse, physical and sexual abuse, and violence in PreK-12 students.
Practicum Seminar in Alcohol and Drug Counseling
ADC 521 3 credit(s)
Enrollment limited to 10. This course is for students beginning their alcohol and drug counsel­ing program fieldwork. Counselor trainees become familiar with the following: basic professional counseling skills and behaviors; working with agencies/systems; the use of supervision; beginning diagnostic skills; and DSM-IV TR. The 300 hour practical supervised experience takes place in a facility or agency licensed to provide counseling services. An opportunity to provide 10 hours in each of the “12 core functions” will be part of this experiential placement. Participants complete case presentations, case scripts, process notes and take an active part in the didactic and demonstration parts of the class. Readings and active discussion are required. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts specifies that this practicum be supervised by an “approved supervisor” as described in (CMR) 262, in order for students to meet requirements for licensure as a an LMHC. Requirements for those not seeking a mental health license will be provided by the program director or your advisor.

Program Chair

Core Faculty

Senior Instructor



  • Admission Test:

    No SAT or ACT tests required.

  • Admissions Office:
  • Application Form:
  • Application Fee:
    $50 ($100 for international students)

Program Requirements

This certificate is offered by the School of Psychology & Counseling (SOPC) for both graduate and undergraduate students. Applicants must therefore meet the admissions requirements of both schools. In addition to the regular undergraduate requirements, the following are required:

  • Interview with and approval of the SOPC Admissions Committee and acceptance by the dean.
  • Interview with the program chair
  • Current resume
  • Second professional recommendation

Health Requirements for Massachusetts Students 

The Massachusetts Health Department and Cambridge College require the following of students in Massachusetts:

Immunizations – All students in Massachusetts are required to get certain immunizations before you can register for your first term. See form

Health Insurance – In Massachusetts, undergraduate students taking nine or more credits/term and graduate students taking six or more credits/term must enroll in the College’s health insurance plan. Students who have insurance with comparable coverage may request a waiver. See information and enroll or waive.

School Requirements

See Admissions Requirements for Undergraduate Programs


International Students 

International students need to provide supplemental documentation:

  • Official demonstration of English language proficiency
  • Supplemental documentation for issuance of I-20
  • International transcripts, evaluated by an accepted evaluation service

Transfer Credit

Undergraduate program applicants, once you are accepted, your official transcripts are evaluated for transfer credit.


Credits: 18

Cost per credit hour: $639

Application Fee: $50 ($100 for international students)

Health Insurance Fee: Required for Massachusetts students. See waiver details on Tuition & Fees page.

Internship/Practicum Fee: $400

Note: Rates are as of June 2023, and are subject to change without notice. Rates apply to all students unless otherwise noted.

Financial Aid

Cambridge College offers financial aid to students in our degree programs who are enrolled at least half-time. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits each term. Graduate and doctoral students must be enrolled in at least 4 credits each term. Learn more

Grants, Scholarships, and Loans

Cambridge College welcomes the opportunity to support your efforts to pay for college.  Federal, state, and local resources in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study, including Cambridge College Scholarships, are available to help defray the cost of tuition. Learn more

Getting Your Company to Help

Many companies have tuition assistance programs, designed to help their employees with their professional development. Learn more

Take the Next Step Toward Your Drug and Alcohol Counseling Certificate