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  • Online Master's in Addiction Counseling Degree

    ***The MS in Addictions Counseling program will not be accepting new students for the Academic Year 2023-2024. We encourage you to check back in a year for more information. ***

    Drexel’s online Master of Science in Addictions Counseling program is designed to provide you with the ability to apply evidence-based practices to meet the needs of an ever-growing population of people experiencing drug and alcohol use disorders as well as behavioral (process) addictions. Whether you are looking to advance your career options or have a greater impact on the development of workforce competencies and treatment policy and resources, you will benefit from the advanced addictions counseling curriculum.

    What is a Master's in Addiction Counseling?

    Due to the growing opioid epidemic, there is an increased, emerging need for addiction and substance abuse counselors. The online master's degree in addiction counseling will benefit professionals working in fields such as probation and parole, criminal justice, nursing, physician assistants and public health. Graduates will learn to improve their effectiveness in responding to the clinical problems associated with the opioid epidemic and substance use disorders. In addition, this MS in Addictions Counseling degree will provide a pathway to eligibility for your state addiction counseling certifications.

    Upon graduation, you will be able to:

    • Administer Treatment
      • Understand the established diagnostic criteria for substance use disorders, and describe treatment modalities and placement criteria within the continuum of care
      • Consider the readiness of the client and significant others to participate in treatment
    • Clinically Assess
      • Use relevant assessment information to guide the treatment planning process
      • Analyze and interpret the data to determine treatment recommendations
      • Document assessment findings and treatment recommendations
    • Plan for Ongoing Treatment
      • Develop understanding of models of substance use prevention, abuse, recovery, and relapse 
      • Be familiar with medical and pharmacological resources in the treatment of substance use disorders
      • Formulate mutually agreed-on and measurable treatment goals and objectives
    • Provide Counseling Services
      • Cultivate a non-judgmental attitude about substance use behavior by understanding the stages of change and strategies associated with each phase of treatment 
      • Describe a variety of helping strategies for reducing the negative effects of substance use, abuse, and dependence
      • Establish rapport, including management of a crisis, and determine need for additional professional assistance
      • Work appropriately with the client to recognize and discourage all behaviors inconsistent with progress toward treatment goals
      • Make constructive therapeutic responses when the client’s behavior is inconsistent with stated recovery goals
    • Coordinate Documentation
      • Demonstrate knowledge of accepted principles of client record management 
      • Describe and document the treatment process, progress, and outcome
      • Document service coordination activities throughout the continuum of care
    • Serve as a Case Manager
      • Coordinate treatment activities and community resources in a manner consistent with the client’s diagnosis and existing placement criteria
    • Oversee Discharge and Continuing Care
      • Arrange referrals to other professionals, agencies, community programs, or appropriate resources to meet the client’s needs
      • Inform the client of confidentiality rights, program procedures that safeguard them, and the exceptions imposed by regulations
      • Adhere to established professional codes of ethics that define the professional context within which the counselor works to maintain professional standards and safeguard the client
      • Adhere to Federal and State laws and agency regulations regarding the treatment of substance use disorders
    • Supervise Family Involvement
      • Understand the characteristics and dynamics of families, couples, and significant others affected by substance use
      • Assist families, couples, and significant others in understanding the interaction between the family system and substance use behaviors
      • Assist families, couples, and significant others in adopting strategies and behaviors that sustain recovery and maintain healthy relationships

    Archived Webinar

    What is the Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) and Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC) Credential?

    The online MS in Addiction Counseling curriculum has been designed to not only advance your career but prepare you for the educational portion of the requirements, in most states, needed to sit for the Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC) or Master Addictions Counselor (MAC) certification exams.

    In addition to the educational requirements, some of the certification exams, such as MAC, will require additional components post-graduation in order to be qualified to sit for the exam. For example, the Master Addictions Counselor certification exam, which is credentialed by NAADAC, also requires at least 500 contact hours of education and training in Substance Use Disorder/Addiction, with at least 50% of those hours being face-to-face.

    To prepare for a state credential in addiction counseling, please schedule an appointment with your faculty advisor during your first term in the program to discuss individual state requirements.

    What Can you Do with a Master’s in Addiction Counseling?

    Along with the industry certifications that are required, the online MS in Addictions Counseling will provide you with the education needed to work with substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health patients. You will have the opportunity to learn the skills needed to provide integral counseling and recovery treatment plans to patients and their families who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, mental health issues, or other mental or behavioral problems. 

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the projected rise in employment for professionals in the addictions and behavioral health industry is very positive at 23% by the year 2026. This is considerably higher than the 7% national average. With a wide variety of employment settings to choose from, including mental health centers, community health centers, prisons, government agencies, prisons, and private practice, employment opportunities will continue to grow as the number of people seeking addiction and mental health treatment continues to rise.

    What is the Salary and Job Outlook for a Master’s in Addiction Counseling?

    Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors help clients recover from addiction or mental health issues, or modify problem behaviors.

    2021 Median Pay

    $48,520 per year
    $23.33 per hour

    Typical Entry-Level Education

    Bachelor's degree

    Work Experience in a Related Occupation


    On-the-Job Training


    Number of Jobs, 2021


    Job Outlook, 2021-31

    22% (Much faster than average)

    Employment Change, 2021-31


    Data from bls.gov

    Master's in Addiction Counseling Program Features

    • Designed to meet the educational requirements outlined by the Certification as an Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC)
    • Curriculum also covers the knowledge, theory, and skill development areas as suggested by the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC)
    • Beginning in the 2020-2021 academic year, field practice and clinical supervision will be an optional component of this program (some states require a practicum experience during the master’s degree)
    • Courses taught by experienced and internationally-recognized faculty of the Department of Counseling and Family Therapy in the College of Nursing and Health Professions

    For Questions, Please Contact:

    Adelina Marini
    Admissions Coordinator

    Related Programs

    Drexel University offers a variety of Graduate Minors that can be added to any master's degree program.
    State restrictions may apply to some programs.


    This program is organized into four 10-week quarters per year (as opposed to the traditional two semester system) which means you can take more courses in a shorter time period. One semester credit is equivalent to 1.5 quarter credits.

    Required Courses
    BACS 500 Theories of Counseling 4.0
    BACS 510 Introduction to Addictions and Substance Use Disorder 3.0
    BACS 530 Understanding Prevention and Prevention Programs 3.0
    BACS 531 Research Methods in Behavioral Sciences 4.0
    BACS 532 Ethical Issues in Addictions Counseling 4.0
    BACS 535 Motivational Enhancement Skills 3.0
    BACS 537 Psychopharmacology & Addictions 3.0
    BACS 540 Treatment Planning and Relapse Prevention 3.0
    BACS 545 Psychopathology & Co-Occurring Disorders 3.0
    BACS 568 Substance Use Counseling with Special Populations 3.0
    BACS 570 Clinical Supervision Skills 3.0
    BACS 573 Group Dynamics and Techniques 4.0
    BACS 646 Multicultural Approaches in Addictions Counseling 4.0
    BACS 672 Family Trauma and Addictive Disorders 4.0
    CFTP 513 DSM I: Adult Psychopathology 3.0
    CFTP 516 Behavioral/Process Addictions 4.0
    CFTP 517 Addictions in The Family 4.0
    CFTP 521 Human Development 4.0
    CTCN 603 Clinical Appraisal and Assessment 4.5
    Practicum Courses
    BACS 541 Addictions Practicum Supervision I 2.0
    BACS 542 Addictions Practicum Supervision II 2.0
    BACS 543 Addictions Practicum Supervision III 2.0
    Total Credits 73.5

    View Course Descriptions

    Admissions Criteria

    • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university
    • GPA of 2.5
    • While specific clinical work and/or volunteer experience is not required, it may make your application more competitive

    Required Documents

    With multiple ways to submit documents, Drexel makes it easy to complete your application. Learn more by visiting our Completing Your Application Guide.

    • A completed application
    • Official transcripts from all universities or colleges and other post-secondary educational institutions (including trade schools) attended
    • Two letters of recommendation from either professional colleagues or your previous academic professors—you may submit two professional letters, two academic, or one of each. All letters should:
      • Be submitted on letterhead
      • Include how the writer knows you, in what capacity, and for how long
      • Highlight the academic, personal, and professional qualities that would make you a good candidate for the program
      • Specifically state whether or not the writer would recommend you for graduate admission into the MS in Addictions Counseling program (yes or no)
    • Personal statement describing your reason for applying to the program and how its mission fits with your professional goals
    • Resume
    • Additional requirements for International Students


    The tuition rate for the academic year 0-1 is $0 per credit.

    For the academic year 2024-2025, students enrolled in an online graduate academic program will be charged a graduate online program fee of $125 per year.

    • This program is eligible for Financial Aid.
    • Special tuition rates available for Drexel University AlumniMilitary members, and members of our Partner Organizations
      • These rates apply only to new online students and students being readmitted.
      • Tuition rates are subject to increase with the start of each academic year in the fall term.
      • All students must contact applyDUonline@drexel.edu within the first two weeks of the term to request tuition savings for which they qualify.
      • Special rates cannot be combined. If you qualify for more than one special rate, you'll be given the one with the largest savings.
      • When receiving special tuition plans with Drexel University Online, you may not combine them with other tuition benefits that may be available from Drexel University.


    Academic Calendar

    2023-2024 Academic Year


    Classes Begin

    Classes End

    Exams Begin

    Exams End

    Fall 2023

    September 26, 2023

    December 9, 2023

    December 11, 2023

    December 16, 2023

    Winter 2024

    January 8, 2024

    March 16, 2024

    March 18, 2024

    March 23, 2024

    Spring 2024

    April 1, 2024

    June 8, 2024

    June 10, 2024

    June 15, 2024

    Summer 2024

    June 24, 2024

    August 31, 2024

    September 3, 2024

    September 7, 2024


    Apply for admission to Drexel University

    This program is not currently accepting new applicants.

    Previously enrolled at Drexel? Learn more about readmission.

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