Substance Abuse Counselor Education

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Substance Abuse Counselor Education

Technical Diploma

27 Credits | 1 Year

Financial Aid-Eligible

Ashland, New Richmond, Rice Lake, Superior

Hybrid instruction

Career Cluster: Human Services

The Substance Abuse Counselor Education technical diploma will provide you with the coursework required to pursue a career in the field of substance abuse counseling within the state of Wisconsin. You will acquire the education and related skills necessary to work with individuals, families and groups in need of substance abuse assessment, treatment and counseling.


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Financial assistance may be available to assist with your healthcare training as part of the Collaboration of Wisconsin Rural Investment in Community Healthcare grant. To determine if you're eligible, please connect with Dawn Knapp, grant project coordinator at the Northwest Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board. 

Learn more about this opportunity here

Email Dawn | Call Dawn

Additional financial assistance may be available through the Support for Communities grant. Learn more about the Support for Communities opportunity here.


Program Overview

Help to address substance abuse challenges within your communities. The Substance Abuse Counselor Education technical diploma is pre-approved by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services to meet the six content areas (360 hours) of educational requirements for substance abuse counselors. This program will provide you with the foundational coursework necessary to begin working with individuals, families and groups in need of substance abuse assessment, treatment and counseling.

Upon completion, graduates pursuing various levels of Wisconsin Substance Abuse Counselor certification will also need to pass the required state examination and obtain supervised counseling hours, as designated by the Wisconsin Department of Safety & Professional Services. This technical diploma is also fully embedded within the Human Services Associate program, creating a direct pathway for graduates to continue their education and obtain their Human Services Associate of Applied Science degree.

Program Outcomes

Substance Abuse Counselor Education graduates will be able to:

  • Apply case management skills
  • Identify professional SUDC documentation requirements
  • Apply the client SUDC evaluation process
  • Analyze professional conduct in the clinical setting
  • Counsel Clients
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Earn credentials each step of the way through Career Pathways. Upon completion of the Substance Abuse Counselor Education program, you can continue your education to obtain the associate degree in Human Services Associate. 

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Full program course offerings are available at Ashland, New Richmond, Rice Lake and Superior. Take courses via hybrid instruction. 

High Future Demand

Meet the emerging need for substance abuse counselors within the state of Wisconsin. 

Accessible Delivery

This program blends in person, online and hybrid experiential learning, ideal for pursuing or enhancing your career. 

Pursue Certification

Graduates will meet the 360-hour educational requirements needed for Wisconsin Substance Abuse Counselor certification, as pre-approved by the Wisconsin Department of Safety & Professional Services. Certification also requires state application, examination and supervised counseling experience outside of this program. 


Coursework meets the 360-hour educational requirements needed for Wisconsin Substance Abuse Counselor certification, as pre-approved by the Wisconsin Department of Safety & Professional Services and includes the six content areas of assessment, case management, counseling, education, professional responsibility and electives within domains.

Explore the Curriculum

Featured Substance Abuse Counselor Education Courses

| 3 CR
Students gain a basic understanding of the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs. Emphasis is on historical and social perspectives of drug use, trends of use, and legal and social responses to problematic alcohol and illicit drug use. Additionally, this course provides an accurate description of the effects of psychoactive drugs, identifies methods of substance abuse treatment, and introduces the student to local treatment services.
| 3 CR
This course will gain further understanding of substance abuse and dependence, assessment and treatment interventions. Emphasis is on assessment, diagnostics, and treatment of substance use disorders. Students will also gain further understanding of levels of care, community-based sober support, referrals and family system interventions. PREREQUISITE: 10520104 Issues in Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and COREQUISITES: 10520110 Group Facilitation and 10520106 Methods of Social Casework
| 3 CR
This course is designed to provide the student with an overview of the major counseling theories and techniques and applications to various situations. Students will apply concepts and skills through practice in initiating, structuring, and terminating counseling sessions. COREQUISITE: 10520106 Methods of Social Casework

Substance Abuse Counselor Education is Part of a Career Pathway

As a Substance Abuse Counselor Education student at Northwood Tech, you can earn credentials each step of the way! 

*Career qualifications vary based on licensure application, examination and supervised practice/employment hours as specified and approved by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Download the Career Pathway Map

You could take this first and get a credential.

Technical Diploma
27 credits/1 Year Full Time
Potential Careers
Substance Abuse Counselor - in training, Assessment Counselor, Intake Counselor, Substance Abuse Counselor
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You could continue your education to obtain your associate degree.

Associate Degree
60 Credits / 2 Years Full Time
Potential Careers
Case Worker, Community Outreach/Support Worker, Income Maintenance Worker, Human Services / Information and Referral Specialist, Substance Abuse Counselor (with specialized field experience), Intake Worker, Prevention Worker, Residential Manager
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Transfer your credits to obtain your bachelor's degree.

Human Services Associate Transfer Options

UW-Eau Claire | UW-Stout | UW-Superior | UW-Whitewater | Bellevue University | Concordia University Wisconsin | Franklin University | Lakeland University | Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) | The College of St. Scholastica

Admissions and Tuition

Northwood Tech has a simple admission process that can be completed in one visit. Please see the details under the "Requirements and Application" section to get you started.

Requirements and Application

Tuition and Fees

Northwood Tech breaks down the cost of education, so you'll have a good idea of how much your education will cost. 

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to help you pay for your education. It can come in the form of grants, loans, federal work study, military and veterans benefits, division of vocational rehabilitation benefits and scholarships. 

Learn More About Paying for College

Estimated Total Program Costs 2022-23*

Substance Abuse Counselor Education

27 Credits | 1 Year


*Tuition is an estimate and does not include any miscellaneous fees for various courses, tools, books, supplies or uniforms. Program book costs are in addition to tuition and fees and vary depending on course selection and where the books are purchased or rented. 

After the Northwood Tech Substance Abuse Counselor Education Program

Upon completion of the program, you will obtain a Substance Abuse Counselor Education technical diploma. 

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Transfer Options

Transfer your Northwood Tech credits to a four-year college in Wisconsin to obtain your bachelor's degree and beyond.

View Transfer Options

Career Outlooks

Northwood Tech's graduates experience success. Learn more about the types of careers you can get after graduation.

View Career Options

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Professional Licensure and/or Certification Information

Northwood Tech’s Substance Abuse Counselor Technical Diploma is designed to meet the State of Wisconsin’s Substance Abuse Counselor-In Training licensing criteria. However, Northwood Tech has not made a determination whether this program meets licensure requirements in states other than Wisconsin. Students who may be seeking professional licensure or certification in states other than Wisconsin should contact the appropriate licensing board in that state to verify that the Northwood Tech program meets licensure or certification requirements.

To learn more, visit:

Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services


Choose a campus to view contact information, or for general assistance, please contact us.

Rice Lake Admissions Contact

Nicole Messicci

Admissions Advisor



Ashland Admissions Contact

Jennifer Bednarik

Admissions Advisor



New Richmond Admissions Contact

Jodi Saliny

Admissions Advisor



Superior Admissions Contact

Rachel Lee

Admissions Advisor



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Are you ready to experience success? Northwood Tech staff are standing by to support you in reaching your educational and career goals, so do it. Take the leap.