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Alcohol & Drug Counseling Graduate Certificate

  • Credits:
  • Degree:
    Graduate Certificate

Program Description

Best Mental Health Counseling Degree School

A graduate certificate in Alcohol & Drug Counseling is for students seeking professional training in substance abuse/addiction treatment, education and prevention, leading to certification or licensure.

In 2021, Cambridge College's mental health counseling certificates were ranked as #1 in New England for Best Quality, #2 in New England for Best Value and #25 in the U.S. for Best Value by Healthcare Degree Search (HDS), an organization that specializes in promoting healthcare careers, and ranks programs on outcome-based factors, based on data from the U.S. Department of Education. Learn more.

Learning Outcomes

Students become familiar with addictions counseling, its professional ethics, and its role in society. They learn the 12 core functions of an addiction counselor: screening, intake orientation, assessment, treatment planning, referrals, reports and record keeping, and consultation with other professionals. They know and apply current theory and research in their field, and gain sufficient knowledge for competent interdisciplinary counseling practice. They exhibit socially-conscious behaviors, critical thinking, and effective communication skills in their work with individuals, caregivers, families, staff, and other professionals.

Careers and Further Study

Addictions counseling professionals help people through public health agencies, youth services, residential treatment programs, hospitals, outpatient substance abuse programs, and homeless shelters   Alcohol and Drug Counseling program completers may submit applications based on:

  • Bachelor’s degree – applicants may request transfer into a master’s degree program.
  • Without a bachelor’s degree – applicants may request portfolio evaluation of these courses for transfer toward a bachelor’s degree program.
  • LADC licensing by the Mass. Dept. of Public Health.


For more information, please contact Admissions at 1-800-829-4723.


Alcohol and Drug Counseling Courses

Please note: this certificate was reduced to 18 credits effective 2020-2021. To view previous years' curriculum, see our catalog back issues.

Alcohol and Drugs in Society
ADC 505 3 credit(s)
This course provides an overview of alcohol and other drugs of abuse in our society today. The common drugs of abuse will be named and their actions based on substance, setting and individual psychological set will be described and examined. We will explore the consequences of abuse and dependence to the individual, the family, and society at large. Historical approaches to this issue including understanding etiological factors, as well as scientific methods of treatment, rehabilitation and prevention will be covered. Bio-psychosocial assessment and related interventions will be identified, including medications, counseling, 12 Step support and other psychological methods.
Family Treatment of Substance Abuse
ADC 611 3 credit(s)
This course bridges the gap between substance abuse counseling and family therapy. It examines the specific interactional patterns that help to maintain addictive behavior within the family. Case examples illustrate how to intervene in addictive families. The following topics are covered: a systemic perspective on addictive behavior; assessing substance abuse and setting treatment goals; the over responsibility/ under responsibility dynamic in families; the family intervention model; treatment needs of young children and adult children of addictive families; and facilitating family adjustment to sobriety. Course requirements include class attendance, reading, participation in experiential exercises and role play.
Role of the Professional in Alcohol and Drug Treatment
ADC 601 3 credit(s)
This course introduces students to the role of the professional in alcohol and drug treatment. The historical development of treatment services and the various professionals associated with the field. The development of treatment modalities, the influence of the federal government and private facilities in developing standards and credentials for counselors and other professionals as well as certification, licensing standards, the institution of organizations and agencies designed to promote appropriate and evidence based treatment for alcohol and drug abuse/dependency will all be explored. The language and descriptors of treatment. Patient placement criteria of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and other instruments will be demonstrated. The “12 core functions” for substance abuse counselors, five domains and 46 global criteria of the international Certification Consortium will be presented and demonstrated. Levels of care and various settings of treatment programs will be explored.
Psychopharmacology in Addictions Treatment
ADC 625 3 credit(s)
The use of medications in the treatment of alcohol and drug dependence has often been controversial. Recent times have seen the advent of more and different types of medications to address addiction directly. Agonist and antagonist drugs are designed to have a direct impact on the neurochemistry of addiction. The use of other psychotropic drugs can be contra-indicated in persons with addictive disorders. Because psycho-pharmacology treatment depends on diagnosis, this course will review the medical model’s analytical mode, differential diagnosis. A brief review of relevant neuroanatomy and neurophysiology will then set the stage for an examination of the major psychotropic medications: anti-psychotics, anti-depressants, mood stabilizers and anti-anxiety agents. The course will be grounded throughout in clinical material, and case histories will be discussed during each class. Requirements will include one topical presentation. We will also share responsibility for presenting cases.
Addiction Counseling
ADC 642 3 credit(s)
Designed for counselors with some knowledge in treating and educating substance abusers and their families, this course offers an in-depth examination of special populations and specific issues related to substance abuse treatment. Topics include: working with dual diagnosis clients; adolescent substance abuse; women treatment issues; working with diverse client populations including HIV positive clients; cultural competency; infectious diseases; tobacco cessation; relapse prevention; the use of strategic and paradoxical interventions; and certification of substance abuse counselors. Evidence based treatment from psychodynamic to motivational enhancement as well as modern approaches to relapse prevention will be explored.

Includes 300 hours of supervised practical experience in an approved substance abuse treatment program with appropriate supervision.

Practicum Seminar in Alcohol and Drug Counseling
ADC 521 3 credit(s)
Enrollment limited to 10. This course is for students beginning their alcohol and drug counsel­ing program fieldwork. Counselor trainees become familiar with the following: basic professional counseling skills and behaviors; working with agencies/systems; the use of supervision; beginning diagnostic skills; and DSM-IV TR. The 300 hour practical supervised experience takes place in a facility or agency licensed to provide counseling services. An opportunity to provide 10 hours in each of the “12 core functions” will be part of this experiential placement. Participants complete case presentations, case scripts, process notes and take an active part in the didactic and demonstration parts of the class. Readings and active discussion are required. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts specifies that this practicum be supervised by an “approved supervisor” as described in (CMR) 262, in order for students to meet requirements for licensure as a an LMHC. Requirements for those not seeking a mental health license will be provided by the program director or your advisor.

Program Chair

Core Faculty

Senior Instructor



  • Admission Test:

    No standardized graduate school tests required for admission into non-licensure programs

  • Admissions Office:
  • Application Form:
  • Application Fee:
    $50 ($100 for international students)

Program Requirements

High School Diploma, GED or Bachelor’s Degree is required.

Applicants must interview with and gain approval from the program chair.

Health Requirements for Massachusetts Students 

The Massachusetts Health Department and Cambridge College require the following of students in Massachusetts:

Immunizations – All students in Massachusetts are required to get certain immunizations before you can register for your first term. See form

Health Insurance – In Massachusetts, undergraduate students taking nine or more credits/term and graduate students taking six or more credits/term must enroll in the College’s health insurance plan. Students who have insurance with comparable coverage may request a waiver. See information and enroll or waive.


School Requirements

International Students 

International students need to provide supplemental documentation:

  • Official demonstration of English language proficiency
  • Supplemental documentation for issuance of I-20
  • International transcripts, evaluated by an accepted evaluation service

Transfer Credit 

Please complete the transfer credit request form if you wish to have prior course work evaluated for transfer. Learn more about transferring credits.



  • Credits:
  • Application Fee:
    $50 ($100 for international students)
  • Health Insurance Fee:
    $3,940 - Required for Massachusetts students only. See waiver details on Tuition & Fees page.)
  • Internship/Practicum Fee:

Note: Rates are as of July, 2022, and are subject to change without notice. Rates apply to all students, unless otherwise noted.

Financial Aid

Cambridge College offers financial aid to students in our degree programs who are enrolled at least half time. Undergraduate students must be enrolled in at least 6 credits each term. Graduate and doctoral students must be enrolled in at least 4 credits each term. Learn more

Grants, Scholarships and Loans

Cambridge College welcomes the opportunity to support your efforts to pay for college.  Federal, state and local resources in the form of grants, scholarships, loans and work-study, including Cambridge College Scholarships, are available to help defray the cost of tuition. Learn more

Getting Your Company to Help

Many companies have tuition assistance programs, designed to help their employees with their professional development. Learn more

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