Grand Canyon University

M.S. in Addiction Counseling


3300 W Camelback Rd

Phoenix, AZ 85017

United States



Program Information

Degrees Offered:

M.S. in Addiction Counseling

Format: Online

Program Description:

Best Online Master's
Grand Canyon University is ranked as the Best Online Master of Science Degree in Addiction Counseling1

Help Others With an MS in Addiction Counseling from GCU

Substance use and addictive disorders are diseases that adversely affect individuals, families and communities as a whole. As an aspiring addiction counselor, you could work toward effecting meaningful change in the lives of people in your community. A master’s degree is a required steppingstone for a license in addiction and substance abuse counseling in many states. The Master of Science in Addiction Counseling at Grand Canyon University follows a rigorous curriculum designed to introduce students to evidence-based substance use disorder assessments and treatments.

Offered by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, this MS in Addiction Counseling is designed to blend classroom instruction with real-world, hands-on learning experiences. Students examine matters of professional ethics, counseling theories and principles, psychopharmacology and chemical dependency in adolescents. Graduates with a master’s in addiction counseling emerge fully prepared to pursue licensure and work opportunities in various settings.

Examine the Origins of Addiction and Treatment During the Master’s in Addiction Counseling Program

Students may take courses online or at approved campus locations for evening classes. All classes are taught by fully qualified instructors who guide students through a curriculum designed to provide foundational knowledge and skills in the counseling field. GCU seeks to graduate students who are skilled communicators and effective servant leaders, capable of thinking critically about ethical issues and dilemmas.

In courses such as Introduction to Addictions and Substance Use, Co-Occurring Disorders and Social and Cultural Diversity Issues in Counseling, students will examine the following topic areas:

    The stages, processes and effects of substance use, as well as the professional’s role in prevention, intervention and aftercare
    Screening, assessing and treating individuals with co-occurring disorders, and associated strategies for risk management
    Theories of multicultural counseling, multicultural competencies and strategies for working with diverse populations, including immigrants and refugees
    Major counseling theories and principles, including existential psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral, reality therapy/choice therapy and rational emotive behavioral therapy (REBT)

In addition, all students in the MS in Addiction Counseling program are required to complete the Pre-Practicum. This is a supervised fieldwork experience that includes counseling-related and direct-contact practicum hours. The Pre-Practicum is followed by the Practicum/Internship, which enables students to develop their counseling skills in a real-world setting under supervision.

Prepare to Become a Professional Counselor Specializing in Substance Abuse Addiction

According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, 75,100 new jobs are estimated to open for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors from 2020 to 2030.2 More qualified counselors are needed to meet the rising demand for substance abuse and addictive disorder treatment. Professionals with this background may pursue work in any of the following settings:

    Inpatient addiction treatment facilities
    Outpatient treatment programs
    Jails, prisons and juvenile detention centers
    Community mental health agencies
    Human services organizations

Graduates with an MS in Addiction Counseling are academically prepared to meet the requirements for licensure in Arizona as a licensed associate substance abuse counselor (LASAC) or a licensed independent substance abuse counselor (LISAC). Graduates may also be prepared to seek licensure or additional certification in other states they may wish to practice in. All students are responsible for understanding the licensing requirements for their state, as criteria may vary from state to state.

1 Retrieved from, “The Best Online Master’s In Addictions And Recovery Degree Programs” in July 2022

2 COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is based on September 2021, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors, retrieved on 02/01/2022.

3 Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder and Mental Health Counselors. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path.


North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission

Eligibility Requirements:

Must have a bachelor's degree to apply. Due to state requirements, we cannot accept inquiries from Oklahoma or New Jersey at this time.

Facts & Figures

Classification: Master's College or University I

Loans Offered: Perkins Loan, Stafford Student Loans, PLUS Loans, Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) State Grant, Arizona Post-Secondary Education Voucher Program State Grant, Federal Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG)

Locale: Large City

Size & Settings: 0-999

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