Certificate in Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling – Worcester Program


The Certificate in Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling program is designed to prepare graduates for positions as substance abuse counselors. The curriculum includes alcohol and drug specific studies, substance-use service assessment, counseling techniques, professional ethics, and behavioral and social issues.

This eight-course certificate program provides students with a firm understanding of the knowledge needed to be an effective Alcohol and Drug Counselor. The courses at Continuing & Career Education (CCE) are also designed to prepare students to apply what they have learned in an Alcohol and Substance Abuse treatment facility. During the internship portion of the program, you will deepen your knowledge through direct hands-on experience.

“The Assumption College program appears to be a very integrated program combining both issues in addictions, addiction counseling, psychiatric disabilities, as well as issues related to co-occurring disorders. This, I think, makes the program of study quite unique in its scope.”
–Jacquelyn Cummins
Executive Director, Massachusetts Board of Substance Abuse Counseling Certification

The required coursework and supervised practical training are designed to fulfill the education eligibility requirements for the Certified Alcohol/Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC) exam and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for Licensure of Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADCII and LADC Assistant) certification. This program has also been approved by the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC).

NOTE: The Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling is designed to meet Massachusetts state standards for certification of alcohol and drug abuse counselors. This program may not meet the requirements for certification in other states. Students are required to verify work experience eligibility through the Massachusetts Board of Substance Abuse Counselor Certification and Alcohol and Drug Counselor Licensure.


The program is designed specifically for students to fulfill the education requirements for taking the exams for Certified Alcohol/Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC) licensure and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Licensure of Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADCII and LADC Assistant).

Approved by:

  • National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC)
  • Massachusetts Dept of Public Health for Licensure of Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADCII & LADCA)
  • Massachusetts Board of Substance Abuse Counselor Certification (CADC)

Every course in the program directly relates to a career in substance abuse counseling. No other courses are required.
Curriculum includes alcohol and drug specific studies, substance-use service assessment, counseling techniques, professional ethics, and behavioral and social issues.
Students deepen their knowledge through direct hands-on experience during the program internship.


Employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is expected to grow by 27% through 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected as more people seek treatment for their addictions or other behaviors.

Employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors in residential mental health and substance abuse facilities is expected to grow by 44% to 2020.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook
Interested in learning more about careers in Substance Abuse Counseling? Visit Massachusetts Substance Use and Addictions Workforce site here.


This 30 credit certificate program consists of seven courses, 21 credits, and a required 300-hour (9 credit) internship in an alcohol and substance abuse treatment facility. The experience provides students with the opportunity to work on the core functions of alcohol and substance abuse counseling: assessment, treatment planning, case management, support, intervention, client education and documentation.


HRS119E Introduction to Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies
This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies. The information presented in this course is intended for students in ALL majors so that they may become politically, culturally, socially and humanly aware of the issues many individuals with special needs face. This course employs a social justice framework and provides students with information about the history, legislative underpinnings, mission, purpose, and services provided to individuals across the lifespan by human and rehabilitation service organizations. This course examines the major models and theories of helping that can be used to support/help individuals experiencing the myriad of developmental, environmental, economic, political, social, vocational, behavioral, physical, psychological and learning issues. Current issues and trends in human service provision are covered with specific attention to disability and other types of diversity. Ethics and ethical decision making in the human services is covered in this course. A service learning component may be integrated in this course to provide students with the opportunity to observe and volunteer in a human and/or rehabilitation service setting. This course fulfills the social science requirement in the Core Curriculum.
HRS200E Addiction: Etiology, Assessment, Treatment and Rehabilitation
This course will provide an overview of addictions and addictive behavior. Topics such as the historical, psychological, social, societal, physiological, family and relationship aspects of addictions will be covered. The pharmacology, treatment, prevention, intervention, and rehabilitation related to substance abuse, alcohol dependence, eating disorders, gambling addictions, steroid use, etc. will also be explored. This course will introduce students to the different theories of addiction (e.g., biological, psycho-dynamic, social-learning, and socio-cultural) and the implications for successful intervention. Ethical issues related to addictions and addiction counseling will also be discussed. (Fall/Spring) Staff/Three Credits
HRS320E Psychiatric Rehabilitation
As an introduction to psychiatric rehabilitation, this course emphasizes an understanding of lifespan development with an appreciation for the complex interaction of biological, social and psychological variables that influence human behavior. From this bio-psycho-social framework, the course will review major psychiatric and developmental disorders with attention to diagnostic and intervention strategies. This course will also address the co-occurrence of psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders in individuals. The challenging nature of treatment and rehabilitation for individuals with co-occurring disorders will be identified and covered. Educational and vocational factors as they impact the rehabilitation of individuals with psychiatric and co-occurring disorders will be discussed. Students will gain an understanding and appreciation of the personal experience of psychiatric disabilities and co-occurring disorders with a focus on recovery. This course will provide an understanding of the core principles and motives of psychiatric rehabilitation.
Prerequisites: HRS 119; HRS 121
HRS330E Interviewing Techniques in Human and Rehabilitation Services
This course is designed to provide students with a thorough understanding of the interview process. A strong emphasis will be placed on developing skills in applying and utilizing specific interviewing skills and techniques in human and rehabilitation service settings. Students will understand the impact of diversity, culture, and individual lifestyles on the helping process. The course will assist students to apply effective interpersonal skills in interviewing and communicating with persons with disabilities, their families, related professionals, and the general public. Client choice and consumer self-direction will be emphasized in interviewing and counseling situations. Students will be taught to incorporate cultural sensitivity into daily practice and interactions with clients. Ethical principles and decision making will be covered and practiced. Prerequisites: HRS 119 (Fall) Staff/Three Credits
HRS340E Principals of Case Management
This course is designed to assist students in developing the necessary case management skills that are essential to the human and rehabilitation services fields. It will provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to facilitate client movement from initiation of services to case service termination. Students will be exposed to case management practices across human service agencies. Efficient case documenting, case recording and time management approaches will be developed along with case planning skills that recognize individual client needs. Community resource utilization, goal development, action planning, advocating, service coordination and utilization of assessment information will also be covered. This is a skill-based course that aims to teach organizational principles, practices and processes to students, thus enabling them to be effective in human and rehabilitation service delivery systems. Prerequisites: HRS 119 (Spring) Staff/Three Credits
HRS420E Family Aspects of Disability
This course uses a family systems approach to cover the life cycle of the family. Students will learn to develop and use a genogram to better understand the family system. The course also takes a specific focus on the complex challenges that families face when a family member has a chronic illness, severe disability or substance use disorder. The course will examine family risk factors and interventions employed to prevent and mitigate the effects associated with these factors. The course will focus on developing specialized skills and techniques for working with families in an attempt to foster family cohesion to confront challenges. This course attempts to provide students with a context and a philosophy for facilitating families as they move through time. Furthermore, the course aims to teach professionals to assist family members in becoming a positive resource and support for each other as they confront the many challenges associated with disability, chronic illness or substance use disorders. The course covers a variety of family assessment and intervention models. The course includes an analysis of relevant and critical issues to consider when working with families during the treatment, intervention, and/or rehabilitation processes. Specific attention is given to the family life cycle and the effect of risk factors, such as disability, chronic illness or substance use disorders on the family.
HRS431E Treatment Strategies and Interventions for Substance Use Disorders
This advanced course will focus on the theories, approaches, strategies and interventions currently utilized for the effective treatment of alcohol and substance use disorders. Specific attention will be paid to change theory and the importance of motivating individuals for change. Evidence-based interventions such as motivational interviewing and cognitive-behavioral techniques will be highlighted. Content covered will deepen students understanding of substance use disorders and facilitate the development of skills and competencies associated with addiction intervention strategies. A variety of individual and group treatment modalities will be covered with specific attention paid to psycho-educational strategies. This course will also introduce crisis intervention for treating clients with substance use disorders. Prerequisite HRS 200 and HRS 330
HRS490E Internship in Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies
This course is a field-based, professional opportunity for students to apply the theories, strategies, interventions, and knowledge learned through the HRS coursework specific to the certificate program in alcohol and substance abuse services. Students will be applying their classroom learning in a professional human and/or rehabilitation service setting providing treatment services to individuals with substance use disorders. The internship is an intensely supervised and supported experience as students are supervised by both a faculty and an agency supervisor. There are three phases to the internship experience: orientation, observation, and performance. Students will perform all aspects of the substance abuse treatment provider’s job e.g., intake interviewing, assessment, action planning, service planning, case management and case closure. The internship is a competency driven experience and specific skills related to the direct provision of services will be evaluated.


There are multiple ways to combine the certificate program with CCE’s Bachelor of Arts in Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies. Students completing the certificate program may choose to apply all credits earned in the certificate towards the bachelor degree program. Or, individuals wishing to enter the bachelor degree program may choose a concentration in Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling, which includes all of the courses in the certificate program. Either way, after completion, you’ll meet the requirements of CADAC Certification and LADC Licensure with a clear path to employment as an entry-level counselor.

Degree Programs in the Same Field:

  • Associate of Science in Social Science with a concentration in Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies
  • Bachelor of Arts in Human Services and Rehabilitation Studies with a concentration in Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling

For information about our graduation rates, the median debt of students who have completed the Alcohol & Substance Abuse Counseling program, and other important information, visit here.


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Requirements for Professional Certifications:


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Contact the CCE office at 508-767-7364 or goplaces@assumption.edu