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Oct 4 2017

Bachelor – s Degree Programs in Substance Abuse Psychology #substance #abuse #degree #programs


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Bachelor’s Degree in Substance Abuse Psychology

  1. “Boston Drug Programs Nearing Capacity,” by Matt Rocheleau, Boston Globe, May 27, 2015, https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/05/27/boston-drug-programs-nearing-capacity-report-finds/60nA4jP7CpX1ihwVwDSWnK/story.html#
  2. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections, Fastest Growing Occupations 2012-2022, viewed May 27, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_103.htm
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Economic News Release, Fastest Growing Occupations 2008-2009, viewed May 27, 2015 http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ooh.t01.htm
  4. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, viewed May 27, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm#tab-1
  5. National Institute on Drug Abuse, Overdose Death Rates, viewed May 27, 2015, http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
  6. ONet Online, Summary Report for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, viewed May 27, 2015, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/21-1011.00
  7. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers, viewed May 27, 2015, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211023.htm

Substance abuse is an umbrella that encompasses drug addiction and alcoholism, and it’s long been a central concern among the behavioral disorders that psychology majors learn about as undergraduates, and psychologists study and treat in professional settings. But, as the science surrounding addiction and treatment has become more nuanced, and the treatments for substance abuse more varied and sophisticated, this branch of behavioral and clinical psychology has come into its own as a growing subspecialty. The so-called war on drugs, along with the move toward legalizing marijuana and a greater awareness surrounding prescription drug abuse and addiction, have helped propel substance abuse psychology to a prominent position in the discipline, both professional and academically.

By way of example, the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s 2008-2009 Occupational Outlook Handbook ranked substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors as the 10th fastest growing profession at the time, with a projected 34.3 percent growth rate between 2006 and 2016. It’s since fallen to 30th in the BLS employment projections, although it’s still expected to grow at a robust rate of 31.4 percent from 2012 to 2022.

There’s another reason that substance abuse counseling looks to have a rosy future: It’s an unfortunate fact that this trend is paralleled by real-world statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention that indicate a marked rise in drug-related deaths from 2001 through 2013. This includes a two-and-a-half fold increase in prescription drug related fatalities, a three-fold increase in fatalities from painkillers, and a five-fold increase in fatalities from heroin. As of May 27, 2015, the Boston Globe was reporting that, “Detox programs to help drug addicts in Boston have nearly reached capacity and may soon have to turn patients away, if they haven’t already, as a surge of opioid abuse threatens to increase demand on the services.” That’s just an anecdotal example of what other cities and states are experiencing nationwide.

Given the convincing proportion of those numbers, it’s probably not surprising that more and more colleges and universities have been developing and implementing on-campus and online bachelor’s degree programs in substance abuse psychology. In this guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at these programs and the various options for earning an undergraduate degree in psychology tailored toward the growing field of substance abuse and addiction counseling, treatment, and prevention. We’ll also survey the kinds of jobs that are open to bachelor’s degree graduates and the salary outlook for those positions.

What Is a Bachelor’s Degree in Substance Abuse Psychology?

Actually, a better question might be, how does a bachelor’s degree in substance abuse psychology differ from a regular bachelor’s degree in psychology? The answer lies in the details. A bachelor’s degree in substance abuse psychology includes much of the foundational coursework that’s typically found in most undergraduate psychology programs, including classes in the general principles of psychology, the history of psychology, psychological theories of development, and psychological research methodologies and statistical analysis. It should also introduce students to the concepts surrounding social psychology, or the dynamics of individual behavior in group settings, and cognitive psychology, although these classes may also be tailored to the unique demands of substance abuse treatment, prevention, assessment, and counseling.

Bachelor’s in Substance Abuse Psychology Concepts

  • Examine the prevention, development, and treatment of substance abuse
  • Classifications of illicit, prescription, and over-the-counter drugs
  • Physiological and psychological effects of various drugs
  • Relation of brain and addiction
  • Diagnostic criteria for determining substance abuse
  • Psychosocial issues associated with substance abuse
  • Educational models
  • Demographics associated with levels of abuse
  • Counseling psychology aspects
  • Case management issues
  • Foundations of psychology

Bachelor’s degrees in substance abuse psychology sometimes fall under the heading of substance abuse counseling, addition treatment, or other related terms. In other cases, colleges and universities may offer a substance abuse studies minor through their psychology department. And, bachelor’s degrees in substance abuse psychology can be bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degrees. The former may include more general education requirement, while the latter could include more in the way of scientific study. But, these things tend to vary from program to program, and school to school, much more so than, say, any standard deviation between a typical BA and a typical BS in psychology or substance abuse psychology.

Substance Abuse Psychology Coursework

Below is a chart that illustrates what a well-rounded, four-year course of study in substance abuse psychology or addiction studies and treatment might look like in terms of core areas of concentration.

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Selected Programs:

  • B.S. in Counseling with an Emphasis in Addiction, Chemical Dependency, and Substance Abuse
  • B.S. in Behavioral Health Science
  • B.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance and Sports Psychology
  • B.S. in Psychology
  • More.

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Selected Programs:

  • B.S. in Human Services / Counseling
  • B.A. in Psychology

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