Substance abuse and behavioral counselors work closely with individuals or groups to help people overcome addiction, eating disorders, or other behavioral disorders. In Washington, schools across the state are increasingly offering chemical dependency programs to certify future counselors, particularly as health insurance coverage for mental health care is on the rise.
Washington Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselor Schools
There are many substance abuse counselor schools in Washington offering various levels of degrees and certifications for prospective counselors. Below are just a few of the larger institutions in the state:
- Bellevue College: Located outside of Seattle, Bellevue is among the largest community colleges in Washington, offering transfer Associate and Bachelor's degrees, as well as professional degrees and certificate programs including Alcohol and Drug Counseling and Psychology.
- Central Washington University: Central Washington University offers certification programs, Bachelor's, Master's and doctoral degrees. Both undergraduate and graduate studies are available through the school's Psychology and Mental Health Counseling programs.
- University of Washington Seattle: The University of Washington Seattle is the largest university in the nation's northwest, and offers degree and certificate programs at all levels. Programs across Health Service Psychology, Psychology, Behavioral Health, and more prepare students for careers in Substance Abuse and Behavioral counseling.
- Washington State University: Washington State University offers programs from undergraduate degrees through its Department of Psychology to graduate-level Counseling Psychology programs through its College of Education.
- Western Washington University: Western Washington University is a state-funded school that offers pre-professional, professional, undergraduate, and graduate programs from Psychology to Behavioral Neuroscience.
Coursework for Washington Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselor Programs
The two major substance abuse counseling programs in Washington prepare candidates with the following skills and completed coursework:
- Understanding addiction
- General psychology
- Cultural diversity
- Chemical dependency clinical evaluation
- HIV/AIDS intervention for the chemically dependent
- Individual, group, and family counseling
- Adolescent development
- Group dynamics
- Developmental psychology
- Abnormal psychology
- Addiction pharmacology
- Case management
- Ethics, professionalism, and crisis management
- Patient confidentiality
- Clinical documentation
- Relapse prevention
Washington Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselors License
Two major tiers of substance abuse counseling exist in Washington State. The first level is the Chemical Dependency Professional Trainee program (CDPT), and the Chemical Dependency Program (CDP) program. To enter a CDPT program, a candidate needs only a high school diploma or GED. However, the candidate must be enrolled in a Chemical Dependency Counseling Bachelor's program, have completed required AIDS transmission training, and pass a criminal background check.
The full CDP title requires completion of the Chemical Dependency Counseling Bachelor's degree, as well as required coursework as described above, field experience, and professional training. A candidate must also pass either the IC&RC or the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) exam. The complete CDP program also requires 2,000 hours of supervised work, which can be lowered to 1,500 with the completion of a Master's degree.
Resources for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselors in Washington