Studies have shown that each year, millions of people suffer from substance abuse. Substance abuse refers to the habitual use of an addicting substance that alters the brain in some way. This can consist of alcohol or drugs. Substance abuse cause the general deterioration of the body and a number of physical and mental symptoms. Besides affecting the abuser, substance abuse also impacts the near and dear ones of the patient, thus affecting families. Substance abuse counselors can help these individuals and also to work with them to prevent the aggravation of the problem. Counseling along with other interventions can help these individuals to overcome their substance dependence and turn over a new leaf to live a healthy life.
Below is the list of colleges offering the most affordable affordable online degree in substance abuse counselling:
|#1||Fort Hays State University||$6,399|
|#2||Union College – KY||$6,750|
|#3||SUNY Empire State College||$8,000|
|#4||University of Central Arkansas||$8,550|
|#5||University of Maine at Augusta||$9,207|
|#6||Northwestern State University of Louisiana||$9,600|
|#6||Southern New Hampshire University Online||$9,600|
|#8||University of South Dakota||$10,050|
|#9||Ottawa University Online||$10,800|
|#10||Indiana Wesleyan University Online – Adult Education||$11,250|
The number of jobs in field are only on the rise. Professionals can find work in various sectors such as hospitals and rehabilitation centers, detention centers, schools and social service facilities. The mean annual salary depends on a number of factors such as degree level, work experience and whether the area is a densely populated metropolitan or a sparsely populated rural area. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2011, the median annual salary for substance abuse counselors was reported as $38,560. In In 2014, national estimates show an increase in this number to $41,870. A 22% growth in jobs is expected from the year 2014 to 2024. Individuals who have a master’s degree or a doctorate often tend to earn more than those with an undergraduate degree.
A degree in substance abuse counseling can be earned mainly three degree levels, i.e. bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctoral degree.
Bachelor’s degree: A bachelor’s degree in substance abuse counseling takes an average of 4 years to complete. This is often the minimum requirement for getting employment as a counsellor in most organizations. Typical course work includes subjects such as Pharmacology and psychopharmacology, group counseling, individual counseling, sociology of addiction, psychological evaluation and chemical dependency diagnosis. After completing undergraduate studies, students can give licensing examinations offered by a number of state authorities in order to acquire the necessary license to practice as a counselor.
Master’s degree: A master’s degree adds on to the knowledge which is gained during the bachelor’s program. There are various specializations in the topics covered during the bachelor’s program. The coursework usually consists of in depth knowledge about topics learnt during the bachelor’s program.
It has become increasingly common for students to pursue a master degree after doing a bachelor’s degree. Graduates set themselves apart from other peers in the field. They are hence preferred by employers. License requirements in certain states may even mandate a master’s degree. Admission into a master’s program usually requires a bachelor degree from a good accredited university. The exact requirements may differ from one university to another. The coursework usually consists of in depth knowledge about topics learnt during the bachelor’s program. The program consists typically of 60 credit hours.
Doctoral degree: Individuals who are interested in research, private practice or teaching usually seek a PhD. Such a program usually consists of 50 to 120 credit hours and students typically take five to seven years to complete the program. The requirements to get admitted to such a program typically consists of a master’s degree in an aligned discipline with good grads. Since this is a higher level degree, entrance exams and interviews are also common during the admission process.
Selecting the right university
Choosing the right university and program is the most important decision that students have to make as this can influence future job prospects. As there are hundreds of universities to choose from, selecting the right one becomes a difficult task. Schools offer programs which have varied focuses, and it is hence crucial to evaluate your own interests and career goals. The right school for someone else might not fit your educational needs and may not be the right one for you. It is also important to take into consideration the kind of accreditation the college has. Accreditation is a symbol of quality of the college itself and the program. It shows whether a certain college or program lives up to the set quality standards. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is the main body that gives accreditation to counseling programs. Employers often take the accreditation of the university into consideration while looking for new employees. Accreditation status can have a big impact on the chances of receiving financial aid or to transfer credits to another degree or school, if needed. The information about accreditation is generally easily available on the website of the school. Further the US Department of Education provides a database of recognized accredited colleges across the country.
In today’s internet age, education online has become more accessible than ever before. Online degrees have grown in popularity in the last few years and there is a rapid rise in the number of students choosing an online degree over a traditional on-campus degree. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), one in three students in the USA is now taking at least one class online. There are several amazing programs available online which are offered by various universities. Most of these programs are not in any way inferior to a program offered on-campus. There are now several universities that offer an online degree in Substance abuse counseling. Career opportunities for people with an online degree are only on the rise.
The cost of a college degree can vary significantly depending on the college, the type of degree and the major. Tuition fees for online degrees aren’t really cheaper than on-campus degree programs, but you can save money in other aspects such as the cost of relocation or commutation and cost of materials. The flexibility offered by online degrees also gives you an opportunity to work alongside your studies.
Most students taking up online programs, pay out of pocket or by taking education loans from banks or by getting help from relatives. There are several online colleges that also allow tuition fee payment in zero interest installments under the condition that the entire sum must be paid off by the end of each term.
The bottom line
A career in substance abuse counseling can be a very gratifying, especially for individuals who desire to put help troubled people. Substance abuse counselors play an important role in the efforts to combat the rising cases of addiction in our society. Individuals who are interested in this field should thoroughly do their research about the various universities, programs, specializations and career options before taking the decision to enroll in a program.
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