Addiction Studies

What is the Addiction Studies Field?

"Chemical dependency treatment is a rewarding career where knowledgeable and skilled professionals provide quality care for their patients. Washington State is experiencing a counselor shortage and we want to encourage people to consider a career as a Chemical Dependency Professional. You will find this to be an exciting profession where you can truly help people overcome their addiction and put their lives back together again. It is a challenging and rewarding way to build a career and to contribute to your community."

David Dickinson, Director of the Washington State Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse

SFCC offers two ways of obtaining the educational courses the state requires to become a Chemical Dependency Professional. If you do not have an existing degree or at least 45 credits, you would enroll into our A.A.S. Human Services in Addiction Studies degree program. If you do have an existing degree, or 45 college-level credits, you may qualify for the Addiction Studies certificate program. Certification also requires up to 2,500 hours of field experience, and the NAADAC certification exam. If a candidate has more schooling, the field experience hour requirement is reduced. Students will be required to have a grade of 2.0 or better in each Addiction Studies (AS) course in order to graduate from the program.

For information about state certification, contact the Washington State Department of Health.

How much will I earn?

Salaries vary by region, but generally a counselor with two years of education will begin work at $10 to $15 per hour and with experience may earn $25 an hour or $35,000 - $40,000 a year. A bachelor's degree holder can expect to earn more and a holder of a master's degree will usually have wage parity with the mental health workers in similar positions.

Jobs are available in the Spokane area and nationwide. With the certification requirement, many counselors are finding that additional education leads to greater opportunities in Spokane and elsewhere.

Contact Information

Human Services Office: (509) 533-3148
Carla Dvoracek: (509) 533-3626
Kaydee Steele: (509) 533-3620

Gainful Employment Disclosure

A.A.S. Degree

The field practicum noted in the career guide is specifically designated for the field of addiction treatment and is overseen by the Washington Department of Health. It is therefore subject to the regulations of that agency which require the passing of background checks and counselor registration before placement in an approved field site. Field practicum from other social services related placements is not interchangeable because agencies must meet DOH licensure for CD treatment and because training-hour content is very specific. The faculty advisors at Spokane Falls Community College will gladly assist students with this process.

The Addiction Studies program includes classes in substance drug abuse, social services, counseling skills and other related topics that help individuals become effective with people who have drug problems. In addition, the training program includes practical fieldwork experience that provides students an opportunity to apply what has been learned and learn from the actual work experience.


For current certification requirements for alcohol/drug counseling in Washington State, please contact the program coordinator at Spokane Falls Community College or the Department of Health, CDP Division, Olympia, WA.

The one year certificate program offers a certificate from our college, which is not a substitute for State certification. The one year curriculum assumes that students have completed other college work. The state of Washington has a minimum requirement of 90 credit hours of education of which this certificate is only a part. You will need to demonstrate to the Department of Health that in addition to the certificate courses listed here, that you have a MINIMUM total of 90 approved credit hours, half of which are the certificate courses.

Prerequisites for entry into this certificate program include HSSUB 131, ENG 101 and GBUS 102.

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