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Substance Abuse Counselor Certificate Program

Substance Abuse Counselor Certificate


Online program offered biannually every January and July.
Inseat program offered annually every July.

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.

The 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. Participants completing this program will be prepared to apply for certification from CAADAC, CAARR, Breining, or other State approved providers. Resources may be provided to assist students in locating counseling internships and counselor positions.

Scope of Training

The program is designed to provide participants with the skills necessary to counsel clients in the recovery process in as little as one year. Topics and skills include assessment, treatment planning, individual and group counseling, case management, crisis intervention, client education, and community resources. The program consists of 16 total units or 360 hours of instruction. Both in-class and online cohorts will be offered. In-class sessions meet on weekday evenings, Monday - Thursday, 6:00pm - 10:00pm. All courses run for 6 weeks. In addition to coursework, the program also requires 255 hours of supervised internship in the 12 core functions.  Though State certification only requires 160 hours of internship, our extended hours should meet all qualifications for whatever certifying board you ultimately choose to join, including CAADAC, CAARR, or Breining. Previous internship or experience cannot be counted toward these hours. We recommend the internship be completed in six months.

Online Option

Through the use of our Learning Management System, 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.

Previous Coursework:   
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 . 

Introduction and Overview:   

This course is divided into 3 sections:10 hours of program overview, 15 hours of career assessment, and 20 hours of core functions and certification requirements/regulations for the state of California. The course covers evaluating the substance abuse counseling field and locating an intern site. Students will also receive Internship information, which includes all the necessary documentation to verify 255 hours of internship in the twelve core functions.

Schedule: 1/12/15 - 2/22/15  
Course Code: XSAP 130 (2 Extn. Units)

 Physiology and Pharmacology:   
This course provides an understanding of the addiction process. Discussion of the current drugs of abuse by category; physical and mental effects of alcohol and other drug use; tolerance, cross tolerance and behaviors; and damage to the brain, liver, and other organs will be covered. The Disease Model of Addiction is also discussed. Students will be introduced to mental illness and the medications used to treat the different diagnosis, the DSM - V, and the physical and mental effects of alcohol and other drugs. Co-occurring disorders (mental illness and addiction) will also be discussed.

Schedule1/12/15 - 2/22/15  
Course Code: XSAP 131 (2 Extn. Units)  

Law and Ethics:   
This course covers the current legal sanctions foruse of illegal drugs and the illegal use of legal drugs. Information on Client Rights guaranteed under 42CFR, Part 2, and HIPPA is given, as well as the mandatory reporting and process. Code of conduct, boundaries, ethics and professional conduct, and sexual harassment are discussed. Students will discuss the "Recovery Counselor" and some of the limits and liabilities they face, as well as counselor burnout and how to recognize and treat it. The need for personal and professional growth and the requirements for continuing education are also discussed. The CCBADC career path, including California's Counselor Regulations, will also be reviewed.

Class starts: 2/23/15 - 4/5/15  
Course Code: XSAP 132 (2 Extn. Units)  

Case Management and Counseling Theory:   
This course introducesthe student to the assessment and treatment planning process utilizing the Addiction Severity Index and helping the client develop their treatment plan. Initial intake and case management with referral are discussed, along with the function of Program Orientation for new clients and signed consent to abide by the program rules and conditions. Report and recordkeeping, the need for a continuing care plan at completion of the program, and utilizing professional consultation when needed are all discussed, as well as the current practices in the alcohol and drug field on treatment and recovery approaches. Models of treatment and relapse prevention models are also covered.  

Schedule2/23/15 - 4/5/15   
Course Code: XSAP 133 (2 Extn. Units)

Individual and Group Counseling:   
Taking a look at the counseling relationship and exploring problems are discussed in this class, as well as the need for individual, family or group counseling, and when it is appropriate to use each. This class includes a practicum on group counseling and provides each student with the opportunity to lead a "mock" group teaching practical applications, role playing, and scenarios with hands-on experience  

Schedule4/6/15 -5/17/15    
Course Code: XSAP 134 (2 Extn. Units)  

Addiction and Working with Criminal Justice Clients:   
Discussion of the various norms of living in prison for an extended time period and what to look for is extremely important in society today. The dynamics of addiction for the criminal justice client is studied in depth. Students will look at the parole and probation systems, the issues they bring to the counselor, and how to identify the key components of an Assessment of Incarcerated individuals. Alternatives to incarceration in the criminal justice system (Drug Courts, Re-Entry Courts, Proposition 36, AB 109, etc.) and the new challenges they bring to our system will also be reviewed.
Schedule4/6/15 - 5/17/15    
Course Code:
 XSAP 135 (2 Extn. Units)

Cultural Competency and Communicable Diseases:   
This course will cover how the counselor approaches the differences inherent with special populations and communicable diseases, the cultural and traditional values of different ethnic populations, and issues with the identification of disabilities, the handicapped and Gender Choice (LGBTQ) populations. Communicable diseases (HIV, Hepatitis C, and other Sexually Transmitted Diseases), with impacts on at risk populations and prevention strategies will also be discussed.
Schedule5/18/15 - 6/28/15  
Course Code:
XSAP 136 (2 Extn. Units)  

Counseling Internship:   
This class is a total of 45 hours devoted to the Internship process. Students will review the internship process, from finding a site to completion of the required time, as well as the twelve core functions and scope of practice. As students work towards completing their internship, the course will cover common problems, situations, and experiences that may arise. Information and skills the internship should be providing will also be covered. The practicum consists of 255 supervised hours on-site at a State Certified Treatment Program. If the student has not begun their Internship, they will finalize the process of finding and securing an internship site. Students are required to complete the entire 300 hours (45 hours in class and 255 hours on-site practicum) prior to receiving their Substance Abuse Counselor Certificate Program certificate.
Schedule: 5/18/15 - 6/28/15  
Course Code:
XSAP 137 (2 Extn. Units)

This program is not eligible for University of the Pacific Financial Aid.

Application Fee: $ 50.00 - Before November 30, 2014. 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.

IMPORTANT!! NEW  COHORTS WILL START JULY, 2015!  Click here to apply now!
apply for admission to the University of the Pacific’s Substance Abuse Counselor Certificate Program, please submit the following items:

  1. A completed application: Click HERE to apply online or download form HERE to submit via mail or fax)
  2. A $50.00 non-refundable application fee (payable by cash, check, money order, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express) - late admission fee is $75.
  3. An essay (250 words minimum) stating why you want to participate in this program.
  4. Two letters of reference from individuals who have knowledge of your interest and ability to become a substance abuse counselor (excluding family members).
  5. 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
Phone: 209.946.2424
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:

Fill out my online form.

Click to Apply!