Why This Matters

  • FIELD EXPANDING MUCH FASTER THAN AVERAGE

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for substance abuse counselors will increase by 25% over the next decade.

  • THE U.S. NEEDS 79,000 MORE ADDICTION COUNSELORS BY 2028

    Changes in the way we handle substance abuse from a medical, judicial, and psychological point of view translates into greatly increased need for those skilled in treatment options.

  • EARN $46,240 OR MORE PER YEAR

    Addiction counselors in private practice may earn six-figure salaries, while those in health centers, government jobs, or hospitals earn an average of $46,240 a year.

Our Research

Our chosen programs are all at the master’s level, but whether it’s a master of science or master of art depends on the focus on the individual program. They range from 33 to 69 credit hours, although the length of time it takes you to complete your chosen program will depend on whether you are attending classes full time or part time.

All the colleges and universities on our list are accredited by the appropriate regional or national credentialing organization, which includes the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, and the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. The periodic accreditation process ensures students that they are receiving the highest quality curricular material, offered by professors with the terminal degree in their field and real-world knowledge.

We evaluated each program on the basis of flexibility, faculty, course strength, cost, and reputation. Then we calculated the Intelligent Score for each program on a scale from 0 to 100. For a more extensive explanation, check out Our Ranking Methodology.

  • 56 hours to write this article
  • 57 universities and colleges we assessed
  • 95 education programs we compared

The Top 32 Master’s in Addictions And Recovery Degree Programs

Best Master's in Addictions And Recovery Degree Programs
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What You Should Know About This Degree

There are a number of venues where the holder of a master’s in Addiction and Recovery may find work. Hospitals, community health centers, and employee assistance organizations all offer addictions counseling. As we learn more as a society about the challenges of addictions, courts are becoming more likely to send offenders to counseling rather than jail — leading to increased municipal recovery programs.

Health insurance companies may hire and work with addictions counselors to assist policyholders. Establishing a private practice may also be a rewarding, and financially satisfying, way of using your degree to help those in need.

Professional credentials or licensure are usually required to practice, but these vary from state to state. This is worth noting if you choose an online program in a different state from your own — you’ll want to be sure that your coursework will be acceptable for getting licensed in your own state.

What’s Next?

Here are some questions to ask when researching Addictions and Recovery degree programs:

  • Am I eligible for this program? For many graduate programs in Addiction and Recovery, your primary requirement is an undergraduate degree at an accredited college or university with a GPA of 2.5 or higher. Some institutions privilege those whose bachelor’s degrees are in areas such as social work, psychology, health, or other social service majors. Check with an admissions counselor at your chosen institution to ensure that you’ve got all the necessary requirements to apply.
  • Are courses offered synchronously or asynchronously? Online programs offer two options: you may attend classes at a predetermined time (synchronous), or you attend classes at your own convenience (asynchronous). There is often some flexibility in submitting assignments with the latter option. If you are continuing to work while attending graduate school, asynchronous course delivery may be a better option for you.

A good admissions counselor can be a great support when you are researching and applying to programs. They can answer questions, direct you to the appropriate resources, and facilitate your application. They may also be able to help with financial aid applications.

The financial aid available to you can play a major role in your decision on what college to attend. But don’t stop there: you may find scholarships, grants, or loans from professional organizations that you belong to, or even from your own employer.