Substance abuse and behavioral counselors work with individuals facing a wide variety of behavioral health challenges, including addiction. If you pursue this career, you'll have the opportunity to work in behavioral health facilities, community health centers, private practice, and outpatient facilities. In your day-to-day job, you develop treatment plans and support your clients in their efforts to overcome their behavioral health challenges.
Arizona Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselors Schools
Launching a career as a substance abuse counselor in Arizona requires, at a minimum, an associate degree in a social or behavioral health program. Across the state, students have a number of choices in schools that offer these programs, including the following:
- Rio Salado College: This school offers students an associate degree in behavioral health/addictions and substance use disorders program. Graduates leave this program prepared to take the licensing exams by the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners (AzBBHE).
- Grand Canyon University: This private Christian college offers a bachelor's degree in counseling with an emphasis on addiction, chemical dependency, and substance abuse. Students have both on-campus and online class options.
- Pima Community College: Students at this school can earn an associate degree in social services or substance use disorders specialty, both of which qualify graduates for AzBBHE licensure examination.
- Mohave Community College: This school offers an associate degree program in substance abuse counseling. Graduates leave the program prepared for licensure and an entry-level position in their new career.
- Ottawa University: Students who prefer an online option may attend Ottawa University to earn a master's degree in addiction counseling. This advanced degree prepares graduates for clinical practice and the highest levels of licensure and certification.
After completing your education, you need to complete continuing education courses for higher certification levels, in addition to supervised work experience.
Coursework for Arizona Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselors
Whether you choose an associate degree program, or opt to pursue a bachelor's or master's degree, standard coursework includes:
- Cultural competency
- Addictions theory
- Addictions counseling skills
- Abnormal psychology
- Psychoactive drugs
- Family education
- Ethics & professional development
- Developmental psychology
Coursework focus on how addiction affects not only your clients but also their families and communities. You learn how to develop treatment programs specifically designed for the individual seeking treatment, as well as how to understand their struggles.
Arizona Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselor Certification
Arizona requires certification through the AzBBHE, and offers applicants three levels of certification from which to choose:
- Licensed Substance Abuse Technician (LSAT): Requires either an associate or bachelor's degree in chemical dependency.
- Licensed Associate Substance Abuse Counselor (LASAC): Requires a bachelor's degree in chemical dependency.
- Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC): Requires a bachelor's degree in a behavioral science program with 30 semester hours of counseling-related coursework, or a master's degree with 24 semester hours of counseling-related coursework.
Resources for Arizona Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselors