Online Addiction Degrees

Earning an addiction counseling degree can lead to a rewarding career helping others. Here, we outline the top programs available.

Updated September 1, 2022

Reviewed by ACO Rankings Team
Online Addiction Degrees

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Accredited Online Colleges for Drug and Alcohol Counseling

Students pursue online addiction counseling degrees to work with individuals with substance use disorders. Addiction counseling careers include substance misuse and mental health counselors, community health workers, and community service managers.

Online addiction counseling degrees instruct students in counseling as it specifically relates to addiction. However, students also learn broader counseling techniques and ethics. Most online counseling degrees cover prevention tactics, human development, and trauma in families.

Institutions offer online addiction counseling degrees at several levels, but most commonly at the bachelor's and master's levels. Applicants need a high school diploma or equivalent for a bachelor's program, or a bachelor's degree for a master's program.

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Featured Online Counseling Programs

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Questions About Online Addiction Counseling


Can I complete an addiction counseling degree online?

Yes, many schools offer online addiction counseling degrees. Schools offer these programs at several levels, such as a bachelor's or master's degree.

Do addiction counselors need to be certified?

Addiction counselors need licensure in their state. Each state sets its own requirements for the level of education counselors need and any tests they must take

Are addiction counselors in demand?

Yes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment of substance misuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors to grow 23% in 2020-2030. The projection exceeds that of many other fields and the 8% growth projection for all occupations.

Why Get a Degree in Addiction Counseling Online?

Students who want to help others living with addiction may benefit from earning a degree in addiction counseling. An addiction counseling degree lets students enter different addiction counseling careers, or other careers in counseling and social services. Online counseling degree-holders may specifically focus on addiction counseling, or become general mental health counselors.

Many schools offer addiction counseling degrees online. Online programs benefit students who need a flexible school schedule. They also do not require relocation, which can cost a lot and disrupt learners' lives.

How Much Does an Addiction Counseling Degree Cost?

Addiction counseling degree costs depend on the type of degree a student pursues. A bachelor's degree averages $35,331 per year according to the Education Data Initiative. However, in-state public institutions cost less on an average than private institutions.

The Education Data Initiative reports that a master's degree averages $66,340 total. Most master's degrees in addiction counseling take at least two years of study to complete. Part-time students require more time for their degree, since they take less credits per semester than full-time students.

Learners can pursue an addiction counseling degree online or in person. Depending on the degree level, students may need to complete an in-person clinical part of their program.

Additional Online Student Fees

Online degrees can offer more flexibility and affordability than in-person degrees. However, applicants should consider additional fees that come with earning an addiction counseling degree online. Extra fees include the cost of technology, such as a reliable computer and stable internet connection. Online counseling degree-seekers may also need to pay for tech support if anything goes wrong.

Some programs require enrollees to visit campus sometimes, or to complete a clinical internship. Learners should consider the cost of transportation for these visits, as well as any missed wages they may incur.

Other potential expenses include any necessary books, supplies, and software. Some schools charge fees for graduation or transcripts. Lastly, graduates may need to pay to apply for certifications or licenses in their field.

Addiction Counseling Majors Salary

With an online addiction counseling degree, students pursue careers in counseling and social services. Addiction counseling careers include substance misuse counselor, mental health counselor, community health worker, and clinical supervisor.

Counselors and community health workers earn a median $47,660 and $42,000 per year, respectively.

Some jobs with more responsibility and education requirements pay more. For example, social and community service managers earn a median $69,600 per year. Clinical supervisors, often requiring additional work experience, earn a $60,310 average annual salary according to February 2022 Payscale data.

AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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Courses in Addiction Counseling

Addiction counseling degree-seekers take courses in subjects including counseling, addiction, and treatment planning. This interdisciplinary degree teaches a broad understanding of counseling techniques for individuals with addiction in different settings.

Some schools offer specialized elective classes for students to explore their interests. These include courses in theory of personality, drug policies in the United States, and community resources in mental health.

See below for a few courses students may take earning their addiction counseling degree online. Learners may not find these exact classes at every school. Rather, the selected descriptions represent a sample curriculum.

How to Become an Addiction Counselor

Most addiction counseling careers require a bachelor's degree in psychology, counseling, or addiction counseling. Criteria vary by state, but most require counselors in private practice to hold a master's degree. Counselors working in public institutions, such as schools and prisons, may not need a master's or bachelor's degree.

Addiction counselors work in different settings, including private practices, schools, and prisons. They help individuals understand their addictions and implement recovery programs. Some counselors work with specific populations, such as teenagers or people with disabilities. Others work with individuals to help them get their careers back on track or work specifically in crisis intervention.

Licensure for Addiction Counseling

To work in private practice, addiction counselors must receive licensure from their state. Exact criteria vary, but every state requires a bachelor's or master's degree and 2,000-4,000 clinical experience hours. Find your state's requirements with this list.

For example, the Idaho Board of Alcohol/Drug Counselor Certification, Inc. offers different levels of certification with different education requirements. Options include certified peer recovery coach, advanced certified alcohol/drug counselor, and substance use disorder associate. The applications for these certifications cost $50-$80 and the tests cost $145-$235.

Graduates working outside private practice may experience more leeway when it comes to licensure. Students should check their state's requirements.

Besides licensure, addiction counselors may pursue certification from the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals. While they do not count as licensure on their own, the certifications set a national standard for addiction counselors' knowledge and skills. Earning the credential may set potential employees apart or help employees get a promotion.

Online Addiction Counseling Degrees

#1

Jamestown Community College

School Information
Location Jamestown, New York
Graduation Rate 36%
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 21% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

From its campus in Jamestown, New York, Jamestown Community College operates as a public institution. The school offers nine online associate programs. One option includes the associate in addictions counseling.

Applicants can enroll in the two-year program with a high school diploma or the equivalent. Admitted students may need to take placement tests to determine their class selections. Contact the program for more information on start dates and admission requirements.

The program offers a flexible, online format that helps students stay on schedule to earn their degree. The program's asynchronous classes let learners complete coursework at any time, from any place.

Associate degree candidates can often apply their credits toward a bachelor’s degree. The institution maintains articulation agreements with four-year colleges, making it easier for graduates to apply their credits toward a bachelor's degree.

Jamestown Community College Fast Facts:

Online Enrollment: 944

Rate of Undergraduate Admission: Not Known

Undergrad Graduation Rate: 36%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 16-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $5,040

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $10,080

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#2

Clarks Summit University

School Information
Location South Abington Township, Pennsylvania
Admission Rate 41%
Graduation Rate 88%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 64% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Located in South Abington Township, Pennsylvania, Clarks Summit University offers online and on-campus undergraduate programs. The institution features two in-person associate programs and three online associate programs. It takes about two years for distance learners to earn their associate of arts in addictions counseling. 

The school's advisors, IT support professionals, and other support staff help online learners earn their degree. Degree candidates gain practical experience in their major to prepare for entry-level positions.

Graduates can transfer to a four-year institution after completing their associate degree. They can also pursue entry-level roles. Learners pay low per-credit tuition rates. The affordable two-year addiction counseling program also helps learners enter the workforce quickly.

The school holds accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

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#3

Virginia Commonwealth University

School Information
Location Richmond, Virginia
Admission Rate 87%
Graduation Rate 67%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 31% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A master of science in addiction studies at Virginia Commonwealth University can lead to new career opportunities and increased responsibilities. The institution's offerings include many accessible online programs. Students choose this online degree for flexibility. The curriculum covers both general education and major classes. 

Prospective students can learn more by visiting the institution's website. Enrollees typically complete hands-on training components. Students can access the school's support services online and in person. Peer and professional tutoring help learners excel academically.

Many degree-holders go on to apply for higher-level positions in their field. Learners pay affordable per-credit tuition rates. Grants and scholarships can help degree-seekers minimize student debt. In most cases, applicants to master's programs need a bachelor's.

The school is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, a regional accrediting body.

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#4

Central Texas College

School Information
Location Killeen, Texas
Graduation Rate 15%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 64% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

From its Killeen campus, Central Texas College offers in-person and online degrees as a public institution. Degree-seekers can enroll in the associate of applied science in chemical dependency program, one of the institution's 26 online associate programs. 

Applicants need a high school diploma or the equivalent. The school administers placement tests to create customized graduation plans for incoming students. Prospective enrollees work with admission advisors to complete the application process.

An online associate degree gives students the flexibility to maintain a job while in school. The program offers asynchronous courses that let learners complete assignments on their own schedule.

Associate degree candidates can often apply their credits toward a bachelor’s degree. Most schools maintain articulation agreements with four-year colleges, enabling graduates to transfer their credits seamlessly into a bachelor’s program.

Central Texas College Numbers:

Online Enrollment: 10,662

Acceptance Rate: N/A

Percent of Students who Earn a Bachelor's Degree: 15%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 24-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $3,390

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $7,050

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#5

Northwestern State University of Louisiana

School Information
Location Natchitoches, Louisiana
Admission Rate 82%
Graduation Rate 44%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 82% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Based in Natchitoches, Northwestern State University of Louisiana is a public postsecondary institution. The school offers affordable and accessible online programs. Online learning's flexibility makes pursuing a degree easier for busy students. 

Learners pursuing the school's bachelor of science in addiction studies program complete general education and major classes. Enrollees can research available programs and requirements on the institution's website. The school's advisors, IT support professionals, and other support staff help online learners earn their degree. Bachelor's degree-seekers enhance their resume through practical training experiences such as internships.

Graduates can also pursue master's studies or apply learned skills in the workforce. The institution charges learners affordable per-credit tuition rates. 

Northwestern State University of Louisiana is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

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#6

Kansas City Kansas Community College

School Information
Location Kansas City, Kansas
Graduation Rate 32%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 30% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Kansas City Kansas Community College, a public institution in Kansas City, Kansas, offers on-campus and online degrees. The school's 14 online associate programs include an associate in applied science in addiction counselor. Students can gain admission to the two-year program with a high school diploma or GED. Incoming students may need to take a placement test to determine their class selections. The program provides additional information about admission requirements and start dates.

The online learning format puts more control in the hands of busy learners seeking an addiction recovery degree. The program offers asynchronous courses that let degree candidates complete assignments on their own schedule.

Associate degree-seekers can often apply their credits toward a bachelor’s degree. Most schools maintain articulation agreements with four-year colleges, enabling graduates to transfer their credits seamlessly into a bachelor’s program.

Kansas City Kansas Community College At a Glance:

Online Enrollment: 1,801

Student Admission Rate: Not Known

Student Graduation Percentage: 32%

Student-to-Faculty Ratio: 14-to-1

Undergrad Tuition In State: $2,640

Undergrad Tuition Out of State: $5,850

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#7

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus

School Information
Location Cincinnati, Ohio
Admission Rate 77%
Graduation Rate 71%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 49% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

At University of Cincinnati-Main Campus, students can choose from several degree and certificate programs. One option includes a certificate in substance abuse prevention. The school offers student support services. Learners can access peer and professional tutoring.

Certificate-holders can pursue associate or bachelor's studies. They can also start their careers immediately. The school charges affordable per-credit tuition rates. 

University of Cincinnati-Main Campus has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

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#8

Northcentral Technical College

School Information
Location Wausau, Wisconsin
Graduation Rate 30%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 53% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

The associate in substance use disorder counseling program at Northcentral Technical College prepares enrollees for new career opportunities and advancement. The institution's offerings include accessible online associate programs. Students choose this online associate degree for flexibility. 

Enrollees complete general education and major classes. Prospective students can find graduation requirements on the school's website. The school provides advisors, IT support professionals, and other support staff to help online students. Associate-level curricula feature hands-on training components.

Many associate degree-holders immediately begin their career. To qualify for high-level roles, associate degree-holders can earn a four-year degree. The institution charges associate degree-seekers affordable per-credit tuition rates. After accounting for financial aid, learners pay an average of $9,820 to attend the school. 

Northcentral Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accrediting body.

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#9

Western New Mexico University

School Information
Location Silver City, New Mexico
Graduation Rate 34%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 66% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Silver City-based Western New Mexico University offers several online programs, including a bachelor of science in psychology. Full-time enrollees can typically complete a bachelor's in about four years. 

The school offers advisors, IT support professionals, and other support staff for distance learners. Degree-seekers gain practical experience in their major to prepare for entry-level positions.

Degree candidates can also pursue master's studies. Some students may choose to enter the workplace right after graduation. The institution charges a cheap per-credit rate. Many bachelor's degree-seekers qualify for financial aid. 

The school holds accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accrediting body.

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#10

Union College

School Information
Location Barbourville, Kentucky
Admission Rate 55%
Graduation Rate 39%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 71% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

A bachelor's in substance abuse at Union College leads to new career opportunities and increased responsibilities. Students can earn their online bachelor's in about four years. Enrollees often complete internships to prepare for entry-level positions. Degree-seekers can access the school's student support services online and in person. Among the institution's support services is peer tutoring.

Bachelor's graduates often start their careers immediately. They can also enroll in master's programs. The school charges a cheap per-credit rate. Financial aid helps degree-seekers afford this bachelor's degree. For admission, applicants to the institution should have graduated high school or passed the GED.

Union College holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, a regional accrediting body.

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AffordableCollegesOnline.org is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Counseling Programs

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