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Millions of people in the United States battle with some form of substance use issue. Substance abuse can be extremely destructive for individuals and families, while also creating a significant social cost to healthcare, law enforcement, and lost employment. There is a strong demand for caring, compassionate substance abuse experts to help individuals win the fight with addiction.

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Many addiction counselors begin as volunteers, or come to addiction counseling from some other profession where they encounter and try to help addicts. For that reason, online degree programs are a good choice for prospective addiction counselors who want to keep their current jobs.

To help those who want to help others, Value Colleges has compiled a ranking of the top ten online addiction Master’s programs in order of lowest to highest cost per credit.

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Kaplan University Online

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Kaplan University is a part of Kaplan Higher Education LLC, which is a subsidiary of Kaplan, Inc.  Kaplan University is mainly a higher education distance learning institution. Kaplan University was named in honor of Stanley H. Kaplan, who founded Kaplan Test Prep. Kaplan University Online is dedicated to providing innovative undergraduate, graduate, and continuing professional education. Their programs foster student learning with opportunities to launch, enhance, or change careers in today’s diverse global society.

Kaplan’s Graduate Certificate in Addictions consists of courses that focus on  chemical and psychological dependency counseling, advanced addictions counseling, group counseling, psychopharmacology, and co-occurring disorders, with an emphasis on application.

Cost: $385 per credit hour

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University of South Dakota

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Established in 1862, the University of South Dakota is the oldest public university in the state of South Dakota. USD is located in Vermillion, South Dakota. It houses South Dakota’s only medical school, a law school, and an accredited business school. It is also home to the National Music Museum, with over 15,000 American, European, and non-western instruments.

SD Online and Off-Campus Education offers accredited, high-quality academic programs and courses with flexibility, convenience and affordability. With competitive tuition rates, all of USD’s online programs feature courses taught by the same faculty that teach on campus. This allows USD to maintain a challenging and rigorous curriculum focused on preparing students to move forward in their careers.  With online programs in Business, Healthcare, Education, and more, it’s easy to find the flexible and affordable program you’re looking for. Graduates of the online master of arts in addiction studies program will be eligible for the highest level of addiction/prevention credentialing in South Dakota.

Cost: $442 per credit hour

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Walden University

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If you’re committed to pursuing an education that can open doors to personal and professional achievement, Walden University may be the perfect fit for you. Founded in 1970, Walden University is a global leader in online education which attracts students and faculty from around the world. Walden’s mission is to “provide a diverse community of career professionals with the opportunity to transform themselves as scholar-practitioners so that they can effect positive social change. Three values—quality, integrity, and student-centered approach—are at the core of the university. A commitment to these values demands high standards of excellence, uncompromising openness and honesty, and primary attention to the progress of our students.”

Walden’s quality online programs feature nationally recognized experts, accomplished faculty, and visionary leaders—all professionals who are dedicated to upholding the university’s high academic standards. With Walden’s MS in Addiction Counseling program, you can gain the skills you need to offer guidance and treatment to people who struggle with addictive behaviors. The program focuses on ways to address substance abuse as well as addictive behavior exhibited through activities such as binge eating, pathological gambling, and hoarding.

Cost: $450 per quarter hour

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Grand Canyon University

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Grand Canyon University is located in Phoenix AZ. It was Founded in 1949 and it has grown a strong reputation as a premier private Christian university in Arizona. With tens of thousands of online students across the globe GCU continuously refines their digital platforms to deliver an outstanding experience. GCU is a respected leader in online education and has been providing a consistent and effective learning platform for more than a decade. With an advanced online learning management system and a variety of online library resources available anytime, anywhere you have the opportunity to study when it is convenient for you, with course credit options to help you graduate early.

Graduates from GCU’s Master of Science in Addiction Counseling program are prepared to meet the academic requirements for licensure in Arizona as a Licensed Associate Substance Abuse Counselor (LASAC) or a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC).

Cost: $500 per credit hour

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Capella University

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Capella University is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Capella is an accredited and nationally recognized university, meaning that it meets or exceeds standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, student services and fiscal stability. Capella offers a program called FlexPath which involves self-paced learning. It helps students build the skills employers are looking for at their own pace  — without the worry and pressure of predetermined deadlines. With FlexPath, knowledge and experience acquired on the job can help learners move quickly through subjects they’ve had experience with, while allowing more time to work through new or more difficult material.

The FlexPath model features curriculum that covers the specific knowledge, skills, theories, and abilities required for workplace success just like any other program. However, FlexPath is assessment-based. This means the learning is assessed through demonstration of key competencies, not through time spent in class. Capella asserts that an assessment-based approach is truly responsive to students’ unique experience and needs and allows them to choose their learning resources. It is self-directed and self-paced. No matter how many courses you complete, you’ll pay one flat tuition rate every 12 weeks. The faster your pace, the sooner you can complete your degree and the more money you’ll save.

At Capella you can earn your master’s degree in Addiction Studies in as little as two years.

Cost: $518 per credit hour

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Indiana Wesleyan University

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Indiana Wesleyan University is a private evangelical Christian university that is committed to liberal arts and professional education. IWU is Headquartered in Marion, Indiana and affiliated with the Wesleyan Church denomination. They are the largest member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and the largest private university in Indiana. They are also one of the largest employers in Grant County. U.S. News & World Report ranks Indiana Wesleyan University as “one of the best Master’s universities in the Midwest.” The University was founded in 1920 as Marion College and is committed to liberal arts and professional education. Indiana Wesleyan University prides itself on being an energized community committed to changing the world. They guide students in discovering their individual purpose and life calling and help them develop in character, scholarship and leadership.

Participants in the Master’s in Addiction Counseling program qualify for student membership and Addiction Professional in Training national certification through NAADAC and will be academically qualified to seek accreditation and become Master Addiction Counselors upon graduation. IWU provides a spiritually rich learning environment, academic commitment and caring instruction to develop in students the knowledge, skills and disposition to change the world for Jesus Christ.

Cost: $520 per credit hour

7

Liberty University Online

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Located in Lynchburg, Virginia, Liberty University is a private, non-profit Christian university with an annual enrollment including over 100,000 online students. Pioneering distance education since 1985, Liberty University is now the nation’s largest private, nonprofit online university. Liberty offers more than 245 distance learning degrees from the certificate to the doctoral level, Liberty Online is training students as Champions for Christ through online education.

Liberty is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the online Master of Arts in Addiction Counseling program “provides you with the education and training required for certification as a substance abuse or addiction counselor. It is designed to meet or exceed many national and state board requirements. Courses provide you with a strong understanding of biblical counseling principles and strategies in order to best care for others”.

Cost: $565 per credit hour

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Post University Online

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Post University was founded in 1890. Today, it offers high quality education and exceptional student support services, no matter how you earn your degree.  Students have the option to learn completely online through Post and the university states they provide guidance every step of the way. At Post University Online, courses are taught by scholar-practitioners with advanced degrees and years of real-world experience who are true experts in their fields.

This 125-year-old university has remained a forward thinking and innovative by continually evaluating current approaches to education.  Post offers innovative online programs  and a “curriculum that anticipates the world’s needs, not just reacts to them”. With Post’s Concentration in Alcohol and Drug Counseling, you’ll study in an accelerated degree program while you stay in your current career, with coursework that covers the latest and best practices for helping individuals and their families. When you earn your online master of science degree in human services alcohol and drug counseling at Post, you’ll be prepared to engage in the important work of Alcohol and Drug Counseling while you advance your professional development.

Cost:  $570 per credit hour

9

University of North Texas

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The University of North Texas is a major public research university “deeply committed to advancing educational excellence and preparing students to become thoughtful, engaged citizens of the world. This is accomplished through a broad and balanced array of programs where well-prepared students and dedicated scholars and artists collaborate with local and global communities in the creation, integration, application, and dissemination of knowledge. In this way, UNT creates an enriched and sustainable future for its students, the state, the nation and the world.”

By providing access, welcoming diversity and strengthening collaborations with the university’s many educational, business and community partners, as well as building new partnerships across the globe, UNT’s faculty and staff work each day to prepare students for the challenges they will meet. Masters degree in rehabilitation counseling program graduates work in the field as counselors and administrators, helping people with disabilities to “attain employment, well-being and optimum independence.”

Cost: $679 per credit hour

10

Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies

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The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation has been saving lives and restoring families from substance abuse and addiction for more than 60 years and they offer every patient the best chance of lifelong recovery. Betty Ford was one of the country’s first prominent advocates for recovery, and her legacy serves as the foundation of the Hazelden Betty Ford Institute for Recovery Advocacy. Founded in 1949 at a Minnesota lakeside farmhouse, Hazelden grew into one of the world’s largest and most respected private not-for-profit alcohol and drug addiction treatment providers, paving the way for its 2014 merger with the Betty Ford Center.

For those affected by addiction, the merging of Hazelden and the Betty Ford Center symbolizes a commitment to bring hope, healing and health to all those affected by this disease. At Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies you will study with leading addiction practitioners at the nation’s premier addiction treatment center. A Master of Arts in Addiction Studies from The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation will develop your knowledge and the skills necessary to treat and effectively promote recovery for individuals with addiction and co-occurring issues such as mental health and medical complications.

Cost: $710 per credit hour