Substance Abuse Counselor Certificate Program
New Online Cohort Starts January 2016. Click to here to apply!
The Substance Abuse Counselor Certificate Program is designed to help individuals acquire the skills and certification necessary to counsel those who suffer from the effects of substance abuse.
University of the Pacific's Substance Abuse Counselor Certificate Program gives you the knowledge and experience to become certified in substance abuse counseling. Our program meets the educational and training requirements established according to regulations from the State of California Department of Health, Division of Alcohol and Drug Programs. It was developed by the Center for Professional and Continuing Education (CPCE) in conjunction with professionals and experts in the field of substance abuse.
Scope of Training
The University of the Pacific's Substance Abuse Counselor Certificate Program is designed to provide participants with the skills necessary to counsel clients in the recovery process. Topics and skills include assessment, treatment planning, individual and group counseling, case management, crisis intervention, client education, and community resources. Special issues are addressed including sexual harassment, gender, aging, disabilities, cultural differences, and co-occurring disorders.
Curriculum and training stress a full continuum of treatment, focusing on issues involving the individual, the family, the community and the environment; relapse prevention; short and long term effects of substance abuse; and techniques for improving the client's quality of life. The program consists of 16 total units of instruction taken sequentially in either the classroom or online format. Each course is 45 hours of instruction and two extended education units of elective credit (eight of these units may be applicable towards an undergraduate degree at Pacific).
Classroom courses meet on weeknights. Online courses will be 6 weeks, occasionally requiring synchronous interaction. For both programs students take 2 classes at a time.
In addition to the coursework, students are required to complete 300 hours (255 site, 45 classroom) of supervised internship in order to receive our certificate. Previous internship or experience cannot be counted toward these 300 hours. We recommend you complete the program within six months but it must be completed within three years. If requirements and/or courses have changed during an absence in your attendance, repeating of some classes may be required.
Students are required to begin the program with XSAP 150 IIntroduction to Addiction Counseling. Accumulated internship hours may not be done until after the classroom portion is completed and a passing grade is earned in XSAP 157.
CPCE also offers our Substance Abuse Counselor Certificate Program online! Through the use of Canvas, students can now get the education they want without leaving their home. Online courses run for 6 weeks, opening on Mondays and closing on Sundays. Two classes are offered at a time. Students will not be entered in the class until payment has been received. We suggest you register at least 3 days prior to the start date so there will be no delay in class entry or late fee accessed. All coursework can be taken online at this time. Internships can be accepted in your local area with approval from the Program Director.
University of the Pacific is approved by CAADAC's Commission of Alcohol and Drug Counselors Education Programs.
Students who have participated in prior drug and alcohol counseling programs and/or have attended college or university courses that may meet the requirements of the program, should submit official, sealed transcripts and course descriptions for consideration, along with the application prior to starting the program. They will be reviewed to determine if any classes are eligible for waiver. Please Note: Coursework that is waived for our program may not meet the requirements of the certifying body. Please check with the state agency to meet their requirements.
Click in the appropiate link to download the class schedule: In-seat Cohort | Online Cohort
150 Introduction to Addiction Counseling and Program Overview:
This course is an overview of the substance abuse/addiction counseling industry. History of addiction, theories, regulatory issues, etc. will be included. It covers the eight domains of knowledge in the field of addiction: Clinical Evaluation, Treatment Planning, Referral, Service Coordination, Counseling Clients, Family and Community Education, Documentation, and Professional and Ethical Responsibility. Additionally, the twelve core functions (Screening, Intake, Orientation, Assessment, Treatment Planning, Counseling, Case Management, Crisis Intervention, Client Education, Referrals, Record-keeping and Consultation with Relevant Professionals) are explored. Community resources, advocacy and educational programs will be covered. Career pathway employment opportunities coupled with state and national licensing requirements will be discussed.
Course Code: XSAP 150 (2 Extn. Units)
Counseling Theory, Cultural Diversity and Special Populations:
This course provides a comprehensive overview of theories and strategies for the prevention of and intervention with alcohol and drug abuse. Social norms, peer pressure, stereotyping, biases, interpersonal and intrapersonal factors will be explored in relationship to cultural influences and diversity. Special populations such as Americans with Disabilities, LGBTQIA, gangs, elderly and prisoners will be included. .
Course Code: XSAP 151 (2 Extn. Units)
Individual, Group and Family Counseling :
This course provides a survey of the impact of addiction on the individual, the family and in society. A comprehensive study of the dynamics operating in groups and families including the identification of healthy versus dysfunctional groups/families; methods of intervention in dysfunctional groups/families; and the techniques of facilitating treatment groups will be covered. This course offers a practical study of helping strategies and interpersonal skills by engaging students in practicing interview skills and procedures through classroom role playing exercises.
Course Code: XSAP 152 (2 Extn. Units)
Physiology, Pharmacology and Mental Health:
This course provides an understanding of the addiction process including the various models of addiction. It includes basic pharmacology of drugs, and the history, pharmacology and physiological impact of each drug category. Treatment methodologies including abnormal behavior as delineated in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) will be covered along with co-occurring disorders. Topics include classifications, clinical pictures, casual factors, treatment and outcomes of maladaptive patterns, assessment, therapy and prevention.
Course Code: XSAP 153 (2 Extn. Units)
Assessment and Treatment Planning:
This course covers the assessment processes used in treating people with addiction. The student learns how to administer and score a variety of addiction screeners and assessment tools. Based on the assessment information, the student will create effective treatment planning and programs. Various treatment models and plans will be discussed.
Course Code: XSAP 154 (2 Extn. Units)
Case Management and Relapse Prevention:
This course is a review of basic skills for effective and efficient casework management. It will include goal analysis, identification and specification of client objectives, case planning, client contracting, data collection, record keeping, and client progress evaluation and reporting. Skills are applied using actual client examples. Students will be expected to write case plans, client contracts and treatment goals. Relapse, triggers and relapse prevention will be included.
Course Code: XSAP 155 (2 Extn. Units)
Law, Ethics and Communicable Diseases:
This course covers professional ethics in the addiction field. Topics will include boundaries, code of conduct, confidentiality (including 42 CFR Part II, Health Insurance Portability Accountability Act (HIPAA) etc.) and sexual harassment. The dynamics of addiction for the criminal justice client is studied in depth including parole and probation systems along with alternatives to incarceration in the criminal justice system (Drug Courts, Re-Entry Courts, Proposition 36, AB 109, etc.). Communicable diseases (HIV, AIDS, Hepatitis A,B,C and other sexually transmitted infections) will also be included.
Course Code: XSAP 156 (2 Extn. Units)
Internship, Employment and Certification Preparation:
This class is a culmination of all courses and allows the student to put their knowledge and skills into practical application. The class is a total of 45 hours devoted to the internship process. Students will review state licensure requirements. The course will cover common problems, situations and experiences that may arise during the internship. The practicum consists of 255 supervised hours on site at a State Certified Treatment Program. Students are required to complete the entire 300 hours (45 hours in class and 255 practicum) prior to receiving their substance abuse counseling certification.
Course Code: XSAP 157 (2 Extn. Units)
Application Fee: $ 50.00 - Before November 30, 2015. Late application fee $75.
Program Tuition: $ 3,600.00 ($450/per course)
Administrative Fee: $ 95.00
Textbooks (approximate*): $ 250.00
Total Program Cost (est.): $ 3,995.00 Fees are subject to change.
*Books will be available through Pacific's bookstore but may be purchased through any retail source.
New Online Cohort Starts January 2016.
To apply for admission to the University of the Pacific’s Substance Abuse Counselor Certificate Program, please submit the following items:
- A completed application: Click HERE to apply online or download form HERE to submit via mail or fax)
- A $50.00 non-refundable application fee (payable by cash, check, money order, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express) - late admission fee is $75.
- An essay (250 words minimum) stating why you want to participate in this program.
- Two letters of reference from individuals who have knowledge of your interest and ability to become a substance abuse counselor (excluding family members).
- Transcripts and course descriptions of any college or university coursework or degrees.
Center for Professional and Continuing Education University of the Pacific
3601 Pacific Ave. | Stockton, CA 95211
or return the application packet to the CPCE office located at:
1776 W. March Lane, Suite 290, Stockton, CA 95207
Need to talk to someone?
Contact Kyle Harkness, Associate Director of Programs at:
or fill out the form below:
Click Here to Download Program Brochure