Albright College to Offer Online Addiction Studies Minor, Certificate Program

Recognizing the increased need for substance abuse counselors, driven in large part by the opioid crisis, Albright College will soon begin offering an online minor and certificate program in addiction studies.

The new offerings are part of Albright’s School of Professional Studies (SPS), and are available to adult students in the accelerated degree program. The courses begin in January, and allow for flexibility to take courses around work and family schedules.

“A lot of our students, especially in the organizational/applied psychology program, are interested in working in the addiction field,” said Wendy Bartkus, program coordinator for SPS’ organizational behavior/applied psychology program.

The opioid crisis, said Bartkus, has hit home for many students, who have specifically requested such a program. “There’s a growing need for addiction counselors,” she said.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors is projected to grow 20 percent from 2016 to 2026. In Pennsylvania, substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is listed on the 2017 high priority occupations list for many counties, including Berks.

Albright’s 5-course, 300-hour program enables students pursuing a bachelor’s degree through SPS to complete a minor in addiction studies. The minor will likely be of particular interest to students in the organizational behavior/applied psychology program or the crime & justice program, but it is open to any bachelor’s degree-seeking student within SPS. Non-bachelor’s degree-seeking students can complete a certificate of professional studies in addiction studies.

All courses are offered online and taught by existing SPS faculty. The program covers a range of addiction-related topics, including theories and treatments of addiction behaviors, treatment planning, psychopharmacology, and addictive behaviors among special populations (adolescents, veterans, the elderly, etc.).

The courses fulfill the educational requirements needed to become certified as an alcohol and drug counselor (CADC), or associate addiction counselor (AAC) by the Pennsylvania Certification Board. Students would still need to complete industry-wide exams and work experience requirements to be certified as counselors.

“We are meeting one of the puzzle pieces to certification – the education piece,” said Kevin Ezzell, director of SPS.

The addiction studies program is the first fully online program offered by Albright. “We are adapting and evolving to meet the needs of today’s adult learners,” said Ezzell.

Albright’s SPS offers seven majors for accelerated adult learners at 10 locations throughout central and southeastern Pennsylvania, and a graduate degree in education at its main campus.