From a single class to a PhD, there are many educational resources for the addiction professional or someone just exploring the field.
- Find education options for each career on its Career Path page.
- Go directly to education options for Counselors/Clinicians, including Certificate Programs to prepare you for becoming a licensed (LADC) or certified (CADC) counselor.
Which level of education is right for you?
See Career Paths to find which one is right for your goals.
You may need
- High school equivalency (formerly a GED),
- Some college level work, or
- A full degree at the Associates, Bachelors, Master’s or Doctoral level.
Where and when should you study?
You can study
- At a campus
- A blend of online and campus studies
- At your worksite in some cases (see Work-based Learning)
- Full-time or part-time
Many programs are designed for working people and hold classes outside work hours.
Which program should you attend?
Many professions have nationally standardized education/experience requirements, national licensing or certification accepted in most states, and standard progressions of responsibility. You should ensure that any step you take is consistent with the Massachusetts standards for your field.
Choose an Accredited Educational Program
Many disciplines have standards for educational programs. Before you pay for any class or program, make sure that the appropriate body has accredited the program, and that the coursework and experience will apply to the license or certification you may seek. See Career Paths and Licensure/Certification for guidance related to your goals.
Note: “Accreditation” of educational programs is not related to “Accreditation” of hospitals or other treatment facilities, which is a completely different process.
In Massachusetts, basic accreditation of colleges and universities is provided by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Specialty accreditation is often given by agencies affiliated with professional organizations, such as the
- Council on Social Work Education (recognized by the federal government’s Council on Higher Education)which accredits Social Work programs.
- American Psychological Association for psychology programs
- Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) for nursing programs
- Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) for medical schools which must also be accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
Professional training in a discipline does not necessarily prepare one to be licensed (or certified) in addiction work. For that preparation, see the Licensure/Certification information on individual Career Path pages (see below under "Where do you fit in).
Be aware that the least expensive way to meet one set of requirements, such as education, may still leave you short for another, such licensure or certification. For example, a two-year BSW/MSW program might be the best monetary value to get to a masters’ level, but at the end you may still need to take one or two more classes to become licensed.
If you know you are planning to get certified or licensed in a particular field, find out what the coursework requirements are before choosing an educational program. Ask the educational programs you are considering to tell you which certifications and licensures their education meets the requirements for, and ask the certification/licensure entities to let you know which educational programs meet their requirements.
The links below provide overviews of addictions careers and include links to education resources related to each field.