Master’s in Addiction Counseling Program Guide

Improve your expertise in substance disorder treatment and counseling with a master's in addiction counseling.
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Updated on June 4, 2024
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This graduate program helps provide you with the skills and expertise needed to support people with various addiction and mental health challenges. You can also pursue licensure for a more prominent role and a more significant treatment scope. Read on to learn more about a master's degree in addiction counseling and its career potential.

Featured Online Master's in Addiction Counseling Programs

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Why Should You Get a Master's in Addiction Counseling Degree?

  • Diverse career paths: A master's degree in addiction counseling can lead to a rewarding career in a growing industry. You can pursue addiction or mental health counseling positions, licensure, or a doctoral degree.
  • High demand: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 18% job growth in the field between 2022 and 2032, more than four times faster than the projected growth rate for all occupations.
  • Personal satisfaction: Counseling professionals enjoy the personal rewards of helping individuals, families, and entire communities while also benefiting from strong salaries and growth potential.

What Will You Learn in an Addiction Counseling Master's Program?

Master's programs in addiction counseling can feature very different curricula. Many schools offer foundational coursework in addiction and the various causes that can lead to addiction, such as mental health disorders and societal influences.

You can choose between MA and MS programs in addiction counseling. While these two degree types can offer similar coursework, some MA programs feature more interdisciplinary approaches, whereas MS programs tend to focus more on technical skills and clinical practice.

In both programs, you'll likely cover topics in:

  • Treatment
  • Prevention
  • Mental Health
  • Clinical
  • Play Therapy

What Can You Do With a Master's in Addiction Counseling?

A master's degree in addiction counseling prepares you for health and community service occupations. In the addiction counseling field, you can pursue leadership positions and licensure. You can also pursue doctoral degrees in addiction counseling or a related field.

Your salary depends on experience, licensure, and location. According to the BLS, community and substance use, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earned a median annual wage of $53,710 in May 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Addiction Counseling Programs

What is addiction counseling?

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Addiction counseling is a form of treatment and therapy for individuals struggling with substance abuse, alcoholism, and gambling. Counselors assess patients and help them form a treatment and management plan. Licensed counselors may diagnose and treat various conditions.

Is a master's in addiction counseling worth it?

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For many people, a master's in addiction counseling is very worthwhile. The degree offers access to a personally and professionally rewarding career. According to the BLS, the field features a growing workforce and a higher median annual wage than the median salary for all occupations.

How much do addiction counselors make with a master's degree?

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According to the BLS, addiction counselors make a median annual wage of $53,710. With a master's degree in addiction counseling, professionals may have access to higher salaries in the field, such as in hospital positions, which pay a median annual wage of $59,010. The top 10% of earners in the field close to $90,000 per year.

What degree do you need to be an addiction counselor?

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Graduates with a bachelor's degree may find employment as an addiction counselor, but requirements can vary. For licensure, you usually need a master's degree in addiction counseling, along with substantial clinical experience.


Note: The insights on this page — excluding school descriptions — were reviewed by an independent third party compensated for their time by BestColleges. Page last reviewed April 30, 2024.

BestColleges.com 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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