Substance Abuse Counseling

The University of St. Francis is ideally positioned to offer YOU the education you want in substance abuse counseling!

With its extensive background in preparing students to serve others with respect, service, integrity, and compassion, USF is well situated to help you prepare for a career in substance abuse counseling. Courses in psychology, social work, criminal and social justice, nursing, and therapeutic recreation give you the skills you need to take professional certification exams and to succeed as a substance abuse counselor, while the broad foundation provided by a liberal arts education at USF will prepare you for the adventure of the rest of your life!

The B.A. degree program in Substance Abuse Counseling at USF has been approved by the Illinois Certification Board (ICB) as an Advanced Accredited Training Program. On November 20, 2015, ICB had a four-person team conduct the site visit. After meeting with the SAC faculty, students, representatives from the program sites and administrators, the ICB site visit team concluded that “University of St. Francis is committed to providing excellent education to their students.”

USF’s program will be recognized as an ICB Advanced Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Counselor Training Program from Sept. 1, 2017 to Sept. 1, 2019. It stands among 26 ICB-Accredited programs in Illinois. As an Advanced Accredited Training Program, USF’s substance abuse counseling students, upon graduation, are prepared and meet all requirements to take the certification exam to become Certified Alcohol and Other Drug Counselors (CADC) by ICB. They are also prepared to begin a master’s curriculum in the fields of psychology, social work, criminal and social justice or many other fields if so desired.


Highlights of the Major

  • USF is the only school in Illinois that offers a B.A. in Substance Abuse Counseling
  • An opportunity for many students with an associate degree in this field to obtain a B.A. degree at USF
  • A demand for substance abuse counselors in the market
  • Required supervised counseling service delivered to clients and their family members


About the Major

In keeping with USF’s mission of respect, service, integrity, and compassion, the Substance Abuse Counseling major will prepare students to provide compassionate and respectful service as certified alcohol and other drug abuse counselors (CADC) to individuals struggling with chemical addictions.

More than 1 in 12 Americans has a problem with drug or alcohol use… but only a tenth of those who need treatment receive it (National Institute on Drug Abuse, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Drug Facts).

Perhaps it’s a parent, or a sibling, or a friend of yours… or your own experiences that sparked your interest in helping those who struggle with substance abuse and dependence. Substance abuse is a complex and fascinating topic of study, with new research emerging regularly on how best to assist people in overcoming their misuse of drugs and alcohol. By majoring in substance abuse counseling at USF, you will become part of the cutting edge of specialists learning how to cure this damaging disorder.


What Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors do

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors advise people who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, or other behavioral problems. They provide treatment and support to help the client recover from addiction or modify problem behaviors.


Work Environment

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors work in a wide variety of settings, such as mental health centers, community health centers, prisons, and private practice. Most work full time.


Career Outlook

Nationally, the field of substance abuse/addictions counseling is expected to enjoy faster than average job growth (2014 Occupational Outlook Handbook).

“Employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is projected to grow 31 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected as addiction and mental health counseling services are increasingly covered by insurance policies,” according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014, Jan. 8). The median annual salary for an substance abuse/addictions counselor was $38,520 in May 2012, with the top 10 percent earning more than $60,000. Thus, the field of substance abuse counseling represents a wise choice for students interested in entering the helping professions.