Alcohol and Other Drug Studies

This program prepares students for certification as Alcohol and/or Drug Abuse Counselors. The Certificate of Achievement is designed to prepare students for entry level alcohol and drug counselor employment. The associate degree provides academic preparation for baccalaureate study in psychology, social work and related disciplines.

Program Emphasis

This program is both vocational and academic. It trains students in the core functions of an alcohol and drug counselor while providing a theoretical foundation in the behavioral sciences and human service professions.

Career Options

Upon completion of the certificate of achievement or associate degree, students may be eligible for entry level employment as alcohol and/or drug abuse counselors. However the state of California requires additional credentialing in order to maintain employment in this field. Persons hired as alcohol/ drug counselors have five years to become fully certified and most employers will want counselors to be certified within a year of being hired. California does not license alcohol and drug abuse counselors at this time. Certification is accomplished through private credentialing organizations that are nationally approved and approved by the State of California. The Alcohol and Other Drug Studies Program relates to two certifying organizations: The California Association of Alcohol/Drug Educators (CAADE) and the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (CAADAC). CAADE offers certification as a Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor (CATC) and CAADAC offers certification as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC). Both organizations offer several levels of certification depending on experience and academic achievement. There are four other counselor certifying organizations in California. Students who complete the certificate of achievement in AODS will have met the educational requirements of all certifying organizations.

Student Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the Alcohol and Other Drug Studies Program will:

  • Recognize, describe, and explain a variety ofmodels and theories of substance use, abuse, anddependence.
  • Identify diagnostic criteria and apply assessmentskills for substance abuse and dependence.
  • Describe and explain the social, political,economic, and cultural contexts within whichsubstance use, abuse, and dependence exist,including the risk and resilience factors that characterize individuals and groups and theirenvironments.
  • Identify the behavioral, psychological, physicalhealth, and social effects of psychoactivesubstances on the person and their significantothers.
  • Recognize the potential for substance usedisorders to mimic a variety of medical andmental health conditions.
  • Explain the potential for medical and mentalhealth conditions to coexist with substance use,abuse, and dependence.
  • Assess and evaluate the philosophies, practices,policies, and outcomes of the most accepted andscientifically validated models of treatment,recovery, relapse prevention, and continuing carefor addiction and other substance-relatedproblems, and value an interdisciplinary approachto addiction treatment.
  • Explain the importance of family, social networks,and community systems in the treatment andrecovery process.
  • Apply research and outcome data in clinicalpractice.
  • Practice in an internship the eight addiction counselor practice dimensions: clinical evaluation; treatment planning; referral; service coordination; counseling; client, family, community education; documentation; professional and ethical responsibilities.