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A drug alcohol counselor is someone who works with patients who experience drug and alcohol problems. These counselors work with individual patients as well as in group settings in rehabilitation centers and private hospitals. To become a certified drug alcohol counselor online, you first need to find the right school.
Attend a four-year college and finish a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. You can attend classes online, or take classes offline depending on your schedule and your choice. In some cases, you’ll have the chance to take an internship, which helps you study and work directly in the field.
Look for schools that offer certification in drug alcohol counseling online. Certification is generally considered a master’s degree in the field, though some schools may offer a one-year program that culminates in a certificate rather than a second degree. Capella University, Grand Canyon University and others offer certificates and degree programs.
Research the school carefully to ensure that it meets your needs. Ask about the number of students who successfully complete the program, the average amount of time it takes to complete the program and help in finding employment once you finish the program.
Decide on the right online school by asking questions about the drug and alcohol counseling program. You should have the option to gain course credit by working in the field and have the chance to speak directly with your professors over the phone, or in person.
Complete the application and attend courses as directed until you finish the counseling program and receive your certification. Some schools have a rolling admission process, which lets students apply at any point throughout the school year, while others only allow students to apply at certain points throughout the year.
If the school only offers the one-year program, consider working on your master’s and then doctorate degree rather than simply completing a certification program. Many employers prefer their workers have as much education as possible, and you may find that some jobs are only open to those with more education.
Check the accreditation of the school before you begin attending classes. There are some schools offering courses and programs online that aren’t affiliated or accredited. If the school isn’t accredited, your drug and alcohol counseling certification is basically worthless.