School of Education & Counseling

Alcohol & Drug Counseling Certificate  Pre- or Post-Baccalaureate Certificate

Prepare for careers helping others overcome drug and alcohol addiction. The Alcohol & Drug Counseling certificate program provides professional training in substance abuse and addictions treatment, education and prevention.

18 Credits
Starts September 3, 2024


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group therapy

Alcohol & Drug Counseling Certificate Program Overview

Successful completion of the Alcohol & Drug Counseling certificate program at Cambridge College prepares students for drug and alcohol counseling certification or licensure (LADC) in Massachusetts. The program can be taken as a pre-baccalaureate certificate or a post-baccalaureate certificate.

Alcohol & Drug Counseling Certificate Program Highlights

Take the next step toward a rewarding career in the fast-growing field of drug and alcohol counseling. Cambridge College offers a flexible, affordable certificate program specifically designed to meet the needs of adult learners.

  • Flexible online classes: Online (asynchronous) classes give you lots of flexibility. You can take them anytime (and from anywhere) they fit your schedule each week. Field experience must be completed in person.
  • Hands-on training: Gain real-world experience including 10 hours in each of the 12 core functions of an addictions counselor working in a licensed counseling facility under the guidance of an approved supervisor.
  • Exceptional value: Get a quality education while saving on tuition at one of the most affordable private nonprofit colleges in the United States.
  • Experienced faculty: Work closely with expert faculty who bring professional counseling experience and real-world insights to the drug and alcohol program.
  • Diverse students: Collaborate with students from all over the world at one of the most ethnically diverse colleges in America.
  • Convenient location: All of our classroom locations are close to public transportation and/or offer free parking for students.

Apply Drug and Alcohol Courses Toward a Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree at Cambridge College

In addition to being offered as a standalone certificate program, drug and alcohol counseling courses may also be accepted into a Cambridge College bachelor’s or master’s degree program. Courses must meet current program requirements at time of matriculation.

For example, courses in this certificate can apply towards our hybrid Psychological Studies master's program in Boston that prepares students for LADC 1 licensure.

Alcohol & Drug Counseling Program Learning Outcomes

As an addiction counselor, you’ll need to be able to communicate effectively, think critically, adapt to different situations and manage stress. You’ll also need to be an excellent listener with strong interpersonal skills.

The certificate in Alcohol & Drug Counseling at Cambridge College helps to develop your abilities in each of these areas, in addition to providing professional training in the 12 core functions of an addictions counselor:

  1. Screening
  2. Intake
  3. Orientation
  4. Assessment
  5. Treatment planning
  6. Counseling
  7. Case management
  8. Crisis intervention
  9. Education
  10. Referral
  11. Reporting and record keeping
  12. Consultation with other professionals

When you complete your drug and alcohol certification, you’ll be ready for interdisciplinary counseling practice working with individuals, caregivers, families, staff and other professionals.

“The support here is definitely different than what I’m used to!”

Ba'Ran Lewis, Transfer Student
Human Services Bachelor’s Degree Class of 2023

Alcohol & Drug Counseling Certificate Tuition Information

Cost Per Credit
Total Program Tuition
Cost Per Credit$639
Credits* 18 credits
Total Program Tuition $11,502

*See curriculum sheet for a breakdown of credits and credit ranges.

  1. Choose your program of study. Browse our Program Finder to find your program.
  2. Complete and sign the online application.
  3. Pay the $50 application fee ($100 for international students) by the term start date.
  4. Send official transcripts directly to Cambridge College in a sealed, unopened envelope. Learn How to Send Transcripts
  5. Fulfill any additional program-specific admissions requirements.
  6. Ensure you have internet access, and a fully functional laptop or desktop computer that can play audio and video and access Microsoft Office (Word, PowerPoint).

Note: Your admission file must be complete and accepted before your financial aid may be awarded, before your transfer credit may be evaluated, and before you may register for classes.

Cambridge College undergraduate admission also requires at least one of the following:

  • Original high school transcript showing graduation or a recognized equivalent such as a General Educational Development (GED) or HiSET certificate
  • Or an affidavit confirming high school program completion in a state-approved homeschool setting.
  • Or, if not required by state law, proof of high school education in a homeschool setting meeting state attendance exemptions
  • Or enrollment in an eligible career pathway program
  • Or proof of passing scores on an approved ability-to-benefit test (such as the Accuplacer Test administered by Cambridge College)
  • Or nine credit hours of Cambridge College course work, applicable toward an undergraduate degree or certificate, completed with grades of B or better. (Non-matriculated students may not receive aid while earning credits.)
  • Or 24 or more credits earned from a regionally or nationally accredited college or university. Note: Official college transcripts are evaluated for transfer credit. Courses not included in an earned associate degree must be earned at a grade of C or better to be eligible for transfer.

Prospective graduate degree students for programs in the School of Education & Counseling must satisfy the following requirements plus any program-specific requirements your program may have.

  1. Complete and sign the online application.
  2. Pay the application fee. Pay your $50 ($100 for international students) application fee by the term start date.
  3. Send official transcripts. Maildirectly to Cambridge College in a sealed, unopened envelope. Learn How to Send Transcripts. Required degrees must be from accredited colleges or universities.
    • Master's and most graduate certificate programs require an earned bachelor's degree.
    • Post-master's certificates and CAGS require an earned master's degree.
    • International transcripts must be translated and evaluated by an approved agency. See all international student requirements
  4. Send your résumé and work experience. Send your resume that details your education and work experience, including how they pertain to your career goals. If your SEC program has a work experience requirement, it will be listed in the Program-Specific Requirements section below.
  5. Submit your personal statement. Write a 500-word, typed, double-spaced essay describing your professional experience, goals and objectives for graduate study. How do you expect your graduate studies to enhance your future career?
  6. Include two professional recommendations (not required for fully online programs). These should address your professional character and ability to perform graduate work. Download Applicant Recommendation Form
  7. Interview (required for some programs). If your program requires an interview, it will be listed in the Program-Specific Requirements section below.
  8. Satisfy Health Insurance & Immunization requirements. (Massachusetts only). These are required only for graduate students taking six or more credits per term in Massachusetts through on-campus or hybrid classes. Health insurance may be waived.

Teacher Licensure Program Requirements

In addition to the requirements listed above, our Teacher Licensure Programs have these additional requirements:

  1. Earned bachelor's degree with 3.0 or higher GPA.
  2. MA Educator Documentation from the Massachusetts Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) website. Keep copies of all documents submitted and, upon admission, post in your electronic portfolio:
    1. Massachusetts Educator Personnel ID (MEPID number)
    2. MTEL Communication & Literacy Test, successfully completed.

Required if completed:

  • Massachusetts preliminary license, if held
  • Sheltered English Instruction requirement
  • Fingerprinting and Criminal Offender Record Information

Applicants who do not initially meet all requirements (e.g. GPA of 3.0 or MTEL) for admission into their chosen licensure program must enroll in the corresponding non-licensure degree option. Students who achieve a 3.0 GPA upon completion of the first three SEC courses, pass the MTELs, and now meet all requirements, may request a change of program.

Disclosures: For all Licensure Programs

  • Licensure requirements are subject to change per Massachusetts regulations. All Cambridge College licensure programs are based on current regulations.
  • All candidates admitted for licensure programs must successfully complete the program in its entirety.
  • All requirements at the time of program completion must be finalized prior to seeking Massachusetts endorsement for licensure purposes.
  • If you have any licensure questions, please speak to your program chair.

Program-Specific Admission Requirements

This certificate is offered by the School of Education & Counseling (SEC) for both graduate and undergraduate students. In addition to the regular undergraduate requirements, the following are required:

  • High school diploma/GED, bachelor's, or higher degree
  • Interview with and approval of the SEC Admissions Committee
  • Current resume
  • Two professional recommendations

Careers in Alcohol and Drug Counseling

Drug and alcohol counseling is a field that offers above-average job security. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the yearly median salary for a substance abuse counselor is $49,710.* Keep in mind that your drug and alcohol counseling salary will vary based on location, years of experience and other factors.

Employment in this field is projected to grow 18 percent from 2022 to 2032 — much faster than the average for all occupations. It's important to know that a majority of states require a form of certification to enter the occupation.

U.S. News & World Report ranked substance abuse counseling at #53 in the nation and #5 in the category of “Best Social Services Jobs” in its list of “The 100 Best Jobs of 2023.” The report ranked jobs according to salary and employment potential.


Annual median wage for substance abuse counselors with a bachelor's degree*


Industry growth between 2022 to 2032*

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors, (visited Nov. 9, 2023).

Drug and Alcohol Counseling Jobs

Drug and alcohol counseling professionals assess addiction problems and treat patients in a variety of ways. In addition to working with patients on an ongoing basis, addiction counselors also consult with the families of patients to help determine the best treatment options.

Drug and alcohol counselors work in job settings such as:

  • Public health agencies
  • Youth services
  • Residential treatment programs
  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient substance abuse programs
  • Homeless shelters
  • Outreach programs

Faculty Spotlight

Edward P. Stone

Edward P. Stone


Senior Faculty Member

Ed is a clinical social worker who has been working as a mental health clinician in schools for 12 years. He completed his B.A. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and an M.S.W. from Boston College. Ed is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) in the state of Massachusetts and holds professional licensure as a School Social Worker/School Adjustment Counselor through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. He is a Senior Faculty member in the...