Substance Abuse Counseling Career Prep

525 Hours / 12 Months / Self-Paced

Course Overview:

Substance Abuse counseling is a growing field that requires specialized knowledge in the areas of substance abuse and counseling theories.  This course will provide an introductory foundation to all aspects of drug and alcohol counseling.  Students will receive a comprehensive overview of the different substances and the etiology of substance abuse.  In addition, students will learn about assessment and diagnosis, treatment settings and strategies, sobriety and relapse prevention, and general substance abuse prevention education and strategies.  This course will also examine issues related to working with special populations and diverse cultures.  Using a variety of instructional activities, this course will help prepare students to work with individuals and families in need of substance abuse treatment and counseling.  This course will provide an initial educational foundation for students preparing to take state licensing or certification exams.  However, since the requirements for each state differ, students will have to conduct their own research to determine state-specific certification requirements.  Depending on the state requirements,  the student may need to complete additional coursework or additional licensing requirements (e.g. externship or other work experience) beyond the completion of this course.

About ProTrain:

ProTrain is committed to offering world class interactive online courses that provide training and learning support for the student in a number of ways during their experience. The ProTrain course structure has been developed to provide activities to guide students throughout the entire process of learning. Learning activities include hands-on assignments that allow students to use what they are learning to allow better transferable skills within their work environments; and collaborative assignments, like wikis and discussion groups that allow them to share what they have learned with others in the same course.

While a student learns, they are not alone. Each student will receive guidance and support from his or her assigned Training Assessment Manager (TAM) and Student Services Specialist (SSS) representative. In addition, we will offer live monthly webinars and feedback sessions for various subject categories. Throughout the entire course, students are monitored by the SSS representative using progress reporting from the ProTrain Registration System (PRS).

ProTrain will provide Students who successfully complete their online certification programs and pass their industry level certification exams the access to the new ProTrain Education-2-Employment Career Tracker system. The Career Tracker will allow our students who pass exams to load their own resumes at no additional cost, and letting industry employers find their talent through the same database.

Curriculum Developer Biography:

Willow Nolland is an expert in education and eLearning, with more than ten years of experience in curriculum development and instructional design. She has worked in higher education for over twelve years, and has developed numerous courses and has been involved in curriculum development across disciplines. She has experience with academic program development and coordination, curriculum development, student learning outcomes, educational partnerships, and student development. In addition, she has developed and administered professional development programs for various groups, including teachers, counselors, healthcare workers and members of private industry. She is a certified Quality Matters Reviewer and has taken graduate courses in online course development. She designs and teaches online courses at the college level and is proficient in a variety of course management systems. She has helped educators redesign their courses to transition them from a face-to-face format to an online format, and has provided course editing assistance to others. As a freelance instructional designer and curriculum developer, her projects have included course editing and redesign of online continuing education courses for nurses, CEU curriculum development for healthcare workers and teachers, and course review and editing for various colleges and universities.

Course Outline:

Lesson 1: Overview of Drug and Alcohol Counseling

In this lesson, you will receive an overview of substance abuse and the field of drug and alcohol counseling.  In the first section, you will learn about the history of substance abuse, the impact of substance on society, substance-related diseases, and the current and future status of drug and alcohol counseling.  From there, you will learn about the ethical and legal issues related to substance abuse counseling.  You will learn about ethics and confidentiality, as well as the various ethical conflicts that may arise.  Upon completion of this lesson, you will have understand the importance of drug and alcohol counseling.

Lesson 2: The Major Substances of Abuse and the Body

In this lesson, you will learn about the different substances and their effects on the body.  First, you will learn about controlled substances and the controlled substances schedule.  From there, you will learn about each of the categories of substances and the specific drugs that are included in each category.  It is important to understand the different types of drug in order to assist clients with substance abuse problems.  Upon completion of this lesson, you will have a thorough understanding of the different substances and will be prepared to use this knowledge in a clinical setting.

Lesson 3: The Etiology of Substance Abuse

In this lesson, you will learn about the reasons why people use, and abuse, substances. You will receive an overview of the different theories of addiction and will have opportunities to apply the theories to real life situations.  Specifically, you will learn about:

  • Disease Theory
  • Genetic Theories
  • Behavioral Theories
  • Sociocultural Theories

Upon completion of this lesson, you will have a solid understanding of the reasons why people abuse substances, which will help you understand clients as you work with them.

Lesson 4: Assessment and Diagnosis

In this lesson, you will learn how to conduct a patient assessment and diagnosis.  You will learn about the various screening and assessment tools, as well as the diagnostic procedures that are used when working with patients suspected of having substance abuse problems.  You will learn about the behavioral characteristics common with substance abuse.  From there, you will learn how to assess behavioral symptoms, as well as the social and family relationships of patients.  Upon completion of this lesson, you will have a thorough understanding of the assessment and diagnosis process.

Lesson 5: Treatment Setting and Planning

In this lesson, you will learn about treatment settings and treatment planning.  First, you will learn about the importance of the treatment setting.  From there, you will learn about the different types of treatment settings.  Finally, you will learn about treatment planning and the specific steps involved in the treatment planning process.  Upon completion of this lesson you will have a thorough understanding of how to establish a treatment setting and develop a treatment plan.

Lesson 6: Types of Treatment

In this lesson, you will learn about the different types of treatment used with individuals with substance use disorders.  In the first section, you will learn about individual treatment programs.  Then, you will learn about the role of group treatment in the continuum of care.  Finally, you will learn about family treatment programs.  Some patients will only require one type of treatment, while others may require all types.  An initial assessment will help determine the specific type of treatment needed, and the counselor will work with the patient and the patient's family to ensure that the appropriate method of treatment is employed. Upon completion of this lesson, you will understand how to determine the treatment needs of the patient and differentiate between the different types of treatment.

Lesson 7: Sobriety and Relapse Prevention

In this lesson, you will learn about relapse prevention strategies that will help patients retain sobriety.  In the first section, you will learn about the determinants of relapse.  You will identify the potential triggers for relapse and learn about how and why patients relapse.  In the second section, you will learn about the models of relapse planning and management, as well as the various self-help recovery organizations that can help a patient maintain sobriety.  Upon completion of this lesson, you will have the skills necessary to assist patients in the recovery process and prevent patient relapse.

Lesson 8: Working with Special Populations and Diverse Cultures

In this lesson, you will learn how to work with special populations and diverse cultures.  In the first section, you will learn about prevention, intervention, and treatment strategies that can be used with special populations.  Specifically, you will learn how to work with children and adolescents, women, the GLBT community, people with disabilities, older adults, and homeless individuals.   In the second section, you will learn about the addiction patterns and cultural influences that impact substance users in various ethnic groups.  Upon completion of this lesson, you will have a thorough understanding of the needs of these special populations and you will have the counseling skills and strategies necessary to provide substance abuse treatment to these groups.

Lesson 9: Prevention

In this lesson, you will learn about the importance of prevention strategies and the development of prevention programs.  First, you will learn about the types of prevention.  From there, you will learn how to develop an effective prevention program.  Upon completion of this lesson, you will be fully prepared to develop and administer a comprehensive prevention program.


System Requirements:

Internet Connectivity Requirements:
  • Cable and DSL internet connections are recommended.

Hardware Requirements:
  • Minimum Pentium 400 Mhz CPU or G3 Macintosh. 1 GHz or greater CPU recommended.
  • 256MB RAM minimum. 1 GB RAM recommended.
  • 800x600 video resolution minimum. 1025x768 recommended.
  • Speakers/Headphones to listen to Dialogue steaming audio sessions.
  • A microphone to speak in Dialogue streaming audio sessions.
Operating System Requirements:
  • Windows Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 9, 10
  • Mac OSX 10 or higher.
  • OpenSUSE Linux 9.2 or higher.
Web Browser Requirements:
  • Google Chrome is recommended.
  • Firefox 13.x or greater.
  • Internet Explorer 6.x or greater.
  • Safari 3.2.2 or greater.
Software Requirements:
  • Adobe Flash Player 6 or greater.
  • Oracle Java 7 or greater.
  • Adobe Reader 7 or greater.
Web Browser Settings:
  • Accept Cookies
  • Disable Pop-up Blocker.


**Outlines are subject to change, as courses and materials are updated.**