Counseling Psychology with Substance Abuse and Addiction Counseling

School of Adult & Graduate Studies

Classes start April 29, 2024

Become a Substance Abuse and Addiction Counselor

Montreat College’s Master of Science in Counseling Psychology with Substance Abuse and Addiction Counseling program is designed for students with a desire to become a certified Substance Abuse and Addiction Counselor to treat and help clients in the recovery process.

Counseling Psychology: Substance Abuse and Addiction Counseling Highlights

  • Learn how to integrate Christian faith with the best practices of mental health, addiction recovery, psychological science, and counseling ethics.
  • Study the causes of addiction and how to help people resolve their unsolved issues that may have led to addiction.
  • Develop critical thinking skill to prepare you for a career in the field of substance abuse and addiction counseling.
  • Enjoy the benefits of online learning. Study when it is convenient in the comfort of your personal environment, while learning from supportive professors who care about your success.
  • Become equipped with the clinical skills and professional preparation for certification as a substance abuse counselor.

For over 25 years, Montreat College’s School of Adult and Graduate Studies has been helping adult students acquire essential skills, complete their degrees, and take their career to the next level. Montreat offers undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs in a classroom or online.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When are the start dates for the MSCP: SAAC program?

Please see the admissions page for specific enrollment and start dates.

How long does it take to complete the MSCP: SAAC program?

If students take 1 or 2 courses each session/2 or 4 courses per semester, they should complete this program within 6 to 8 semesters.

How much does the MSCP: SAAC degree program cost?

The cost is $595 per credit hour plus a $225 student fee per semester. In addition, there are multiple college and government financial aid programs available to help mitigate the cost of your education. You can learn more about your financial aid options.

What are the length of online courses?

The courses for this graduate program are eight-week sessions. There are 2 sessions in a semester. To be considered a full-time graduate student, a student must take 6 credit hours per semester. The student must take 1 course (3 credit hours) the first eight-week session and 1 course (3 credit hours) the second eight-week session. Semesters in this program are Spring, Summer, and Fall.

What jobs can you pursue with a MSCP: SAAC degree?

This degree prepares students to become Licensed Substance Abuse and Addiction Counselors. Substance Abuse and Addiction Counselors work in a variety of fields such as:

  • Community Health Worker
  • Mental Health/Behavioral Counselor
  • Residential Assistant/Advisor
  • Social/Human Services Assistant
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Youth Counselor/Worker

What is the job market like for people with a MSCP: SAAC degree?

The regional outlook is strong with 14.47% job growth expected over the next 10 years and national outlook is strong with 14.88% job growth expected over the next 10 years.


How much money do MSCP: SAAC professionals typically make?

The average regional and national salary of graduates from this type of program is $36,000, with top salaries for master’s graduates ranging over $73,000.

What are the admissions requirements?

Applicants to the MSCP: SAAC must submit a Montreat College Application for Admission and meet the requirements of program entry as outlined in the School of Adult and Graduate Studies (AGS) Academic Catalog. Requirements for program admission are as follows:

  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 from the last 60 credit hours of undergraduate study*
  • Submit official transcripts for all colleges attended
  • Complete and pay for a national background check
  • Complete and pay for a standardized drug screening

*If applicant has a GPA below 2.75 in their last 60 credit hours of undergraduate study, a “Low GPA” essay is required. The essay should cover challenges that contributed to the low GPA, as well as specifically what the applicant will do to maintain a 3.0 overall GPA in the MSCP: SAAC program.

What are the graduation requirements?

In order to graduate, MSCP: SAAC students must meet graduation requirements as outlined in the AGS Academic Catalog. Requirements for program graduation:

  • Completion of a minimum of 36 credit hours of graduate work at Montreat College (up to 12 credit hours may be transferred from a regionally accredited institution)
  • A cumulative grade point average of 3.0
  • If at any time a student receives a grade below a B-
    • the student must retake that course, as all graduate-level courses must be passed with a minimum grade of B-
    • the student must meet with his/her Department Chair and/or advisor.
  • Completion of graduate course work within five years of the date of admission into the MSCP: SAAC program
  • Successful completion of counseling internship hours within MSCP6224
  • Payment of all tuition and fees
  • Approval of the faculty


COUN5212: Ethical and Legal Issues in Counseling

This course will examine ethical standards and ethical decision making for the practice of counseling. Applicable Codes of Ethics will be examined and case studies will be used to challenge students to think critically about ethics and ethical decision making. Ethical issues in individual, group, family, and couples counseling will be covered as well as multicultural consideration. The course will also address confidentiality, informed consent, boundaries, multiple relationships, supervision, and consultation within an ethical framework.

COUN5213: Theories in Counseling

This course provides an overview of counseling theories and related techniques including psychoanalytic, gestalt, behavioral, cognitive, reality, existential, Adlerian, family systems, feminist, and postmodern therapies. Students will demonstrate beginning skills for counseling through videotaped role play session with classmates.

COUN5222: Mental Health Diagnosis and Treatment

This course will provide students an overview of clinical diagnoses according to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual-5 (DSM-5). Diagnosis criteria will be reviewed and current best practice treatment options will be reviewed. Case studies will be utilized to provide students opportunities to practice diagnostic skills. Treatment planning in counseling will also be discussed.

COUN5216: Assessment in Counseling

This course will provide an overview of assessment methods and tools used in counseling, including intakes as well as standardized assessments. Ethical standards for the use of assessments in counseling will be reviewed. Students will experience taking an assessment, writing an assessment report, and providing a critical review of assessment.

COUN5261: Substance Abuse Counseling

This course will provide an overview of the nature of substance use, abuse, and dependency. Education, prevention, treatment, and recovery will be addressed.

MSCP5214: Techniques in Addiction Counseling

This course provides students an understanding of effective addiction counseling interventions from individual, relational, and systems perspectives with unique emphasis on motivational interviewing. Students also examine personal characteristics and their effect on individual, couple and family counseling using case discussion and analysis.

MSCP5280: Client, Family, and Community Education in Addiction Counseling

This course provides an overview of the process of providing clients, families, significant others, and community groups with information on risks related to psychoactive substance use, as well as available prevention, treatment and recovery resources. Cultural diversity is appreciated and highlighted. Factors that increase the likelihood for an individual, community, or group to be at-risk for, or resilient to, psychoactive substance use disorders are described, as well as health and behavior problems related to addiction including infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB, and STDs.

MSCP5252: Case Management and Relapse Prevention in Addiction Counseling

This course emphasizes the coordinated approach to the delivery of substance abuse and addiction services. Effective case management focuses on the whole person, addresses other client psychosocial problems, and is associated with treatment retention which leads to better outcomes. The role of effective documentation, referral, and relapse prevention are highlighted.

COUN5217: Research Methods in Counseling

This course will provide an overview of qualitative and quantitative research methodology and techniques and discuss the role of research in counseling. Ethical standards for conducting research will be discussed. Students will develop the ability to read and critically evaluate counseling literature as well as develop a research prospectus.

MSCP6150: Methods in MFT

The purpose of this course is to develop students’ knowledge and skills in therapeutic approaches to individuals, marital, and family therapy within a systemic perspective. Students will examine theoretical foundations, research findings, basic principles, assessment techniques, and the intervention strategies of relational and systemic/interactional therapy. These examinations are applied to a wide variety of problems in marriage, family, and social relationships and are framed within a Christian theological context.

MSCP5232: Diagnosis and Treatment Planning of Addictive Disorders

A course designed to introduce the student to current counseling and treatment techniques for substance abuse. Emphasis is placed on etiological factors, physiological and psychological effects, and related behaviors.

COUN5223: Group Counseling

This course will provide an overview of theory and principles of effective group work, provide students an opportunity to develop skills in using group techniques, and plan activities for groups. Students will participate in a group experience during this course. Ethical standards for group counseling will be reviewed.

COUN5231: Spirituality and Religion in Counseling

This course will examine the role of spirituality and religious beliefs in the counseling relationship and process. Students will explore how different religious traditions that clients may participate in could influence the counseling process, as well as examine their own religious and spiritual foundations for their counseling theory and practice. Students will explore the concept of toxic faith and how toxic beliefs can manifest and present within the therapeutic setting. Ethical standards will be discussed.

COUN5215: Multicultural Counseling

This course will provide students an opportunity to begin to develop skills for multicultural competency when providing counseling services to clients of diverse backgrounds. Multicultural competencies will be reviewed, and students will explore their own identity as a cultural being.

COUN5251: Crisis Intervention and Crisis Counseling

This course will provide students with an overview of counseling skills for working in crisis and trauma situations as well as crisis intervention theory. Students will review case studies and create a crisis resource for a client population or counseling setting of interest.

MSCP6224: Addiction Counseling Internship

This course involves an intensely supervised experience in the student’s designated program area at an approved site. Students are required to complete a total of 300 clock hours of addiction counseling and related services, 150 of which are direct client contact hours. While gaining direct service experience with clients, students regularly meet with an approved supervisor. Student counseling performance is evaluated throughout the internship. The student’s professional development along with the dynamics of the counseling relationship, diagnosis, treatment, and legal/ethical issues are primary areas of focus.


Gregg Blanton

Dr. Gregg Blanton
Professor of Psychology, Human Services, and Clinical Mental Health