Where The Future Is In Your Hands

At GMC the future is truly in your hands. Our new Substance Abuse & Addiction Counseling program is enrolling now.

After completing our Substance Abuse & Addiction Counseling program, graduates are awarded an Associate of Occupational Science degree and are ready for an entry-level position in the field of Addiction Counseling. Upon completion of the program students will have the opportunity for employment in treatment centers, hospitals, out patient clinics, and residential care facilities.

Our detailed curriculum will allow students to enhance their knowledge in the area of individual and group counseling, while learning the importance and the implementation of the 12 Core Functions.

Graduates of the AOS Program will qualify to be Registered & Certified with the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP).

Our Program


  • Program Length: 100 Weeks, 61 credit hours
  • Class Size: 15 to 1 Student to Faculty Ratio
  • Semester based program
  • Residential Program
  • High School Diploma or GED required
  • No Prerequisites Required
  • Associate of Occupational Science (AOS) Degree Awarded Upon Completion
  • Real-Life Training
  • Excellent Externship Program (Contracted by GMC)
  • Free Uniforms & Backpacks
  • Financing & Payment Plans Available
  • New Program – Limited Space Available

Occupation/Job Titles

Upon graduation, some of the occupations/job titles Substance Abuse & Addiction Counseling program graduates qualify for include (but are not limited to):

  • Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
  • Substance Abuse & Addiction Counselor
  • Substance Abuse Counselor (SA Counselor)
  • Addictions Counselor
  • Case Manager
  • Chemical Dependency Counselor (CD Counselor)
  • Chemical Dependency Professional
  • Clinical Counselor
  • Correctional Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Counselor
  • Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist (DATS)
  • Prevention Specialist

For a detailed job profile, please visit O*NET’s summary report for Substance Abuse Counselors here.

Program Objectives

Upon successful completion of the Substance Abuse & Addiction Counseling training program, graduates will:

  • Understand and implement the roles, responsibilities, and functions of professional counselors and their relationships with other human service providers
  • Know and implement counseling supervision models, practices, and processes
  • Understand the role of professional counselors as advocates of the profession and for clients, including addressing institutional and social barriers that impede access, equality, and success for clients
  • Be knowledgeable of the ethical standards of substance counselors and have the ability to solve ethical problems which arise in the practice of counseling
  • Understand multicultural and pluralistic trends including characteristics and concerns within and among diverse groups
  • Understand and implement the theories of multicultural counseling, identity development, and social justice
  • Be able to eliminate biases, prejudices, and processes of intentional and unintentional oppression and discrimination
  • Understand the theories of learning and personality development, including current understandings about neurobiological
  • Have experience with crisis intervention and suicide prevention models, including the use of psychological first aid strategies
  • Be able to provide essential interviewing and counseling
  • Understand the effects of crises, disasters, and other trauma-causing events on persons of all ages
  • Understand human behavior, including an understanding of developmental crises, disability, psychopathology, and situational and environmental factors that affect both normal and abnormal behavior
  • Understand the co-occurring disorders and their correlation to substance abuse
  • Have direct experience participating as group members in small group activity and practical counseling sessions

Federal Gainful Employment Disclosure

View this program’s Federal Gainful Employment Disclosure TBA.

Career Profile


Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, also called Addiction Counselors, work with clients individually and in group sessions. Many incorporate the principles of 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to guide their practice. They teach clients how to cope with stress and life’s problems in ways that help them recover. Furthermore, they help clients rebuild professional relationships and, if necessary, reestablish their career. They also help clients improve their personal relationships and find ways to discuss their addiction or other problems with family and friends.

Addiction Counselors may work with psychiatrists, social workers, physicians, and registered nurses to develop treatment plans and coordinate care for patients.

Some counselors work with clients who have been ordered by a judge to receive treatment for addiction. Others work with specific populations, such as teenagers, veterans, or people with disabilities. Some specialize in crisis intervention; these counselors step in when someone is endangering his or her own life or the lives of others. Other counselors specialize in non-crisis interventions, which encourage a person with addictions or other issues to get help. Non-crisis interventions often are performed at the request of friends and family.

Some Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors work in private practice, where they work alone or with a group of counselors or other professionals. These counselors manage their practice as a business. This includes working with clients and insurance companies to receive payment for their services. In addition, they market their practice to bring in new clients.

  • Evaluate clients’ mental and physical health, addiction, or problem behavior and assess their readiness for treatment
  • Help clients develop treatment goals and plans
  • Review and recommend treatment options with clients and their families
  • Help clients develop skills and behaviors necessary to recover from their addiction or modify their behavior
  • Work with clients to identify behaviors or situations that interfere with their recovery
  • Teach families about addiction or behavior disorders and help them develop strategies to cope with those problems
  • Refer clients to other resources and services, such as job placement services and support groups
  • Conduct outreach programs to help people identify the signs of addiction and other destructive behavior, as well as steps to take to avoid such behavior

Employment of Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors is projected to grow 22 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Growth is expected as addiction and mental health counseling services are increasingly covered by insurance policies.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Average Working Hours

Most Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors work part time and full time. In some settings, such as inpatient facilities or residential treatment facilities, they may need to work evenings, nights, or weekends. Sometimes they must also be on-call if needed.

Physical Demands
  • Standing: 5% of workday
  • Sitting: 90% of workday
  • Walking: 5% of workday
  • Lifting: 5 pounds
  • Carrying: 5 pounds
  • Reaching: No more than 1-2 feet
  • Neck Movement: 20 degrees maximum
  • Talking: Interaction with patients, employees and supervisors.
Typical Environment
  • Inside: 100%
  • Temperature: Average climate for office or hospital setting
  • Hazards: Working with patients (anticipated to be minimal)
Machines, Equipment, & Work Aids
  • Computer
  • Telephone
  • Fax machine

Program FAQ

What do Substance Abuse & Addiction Counselors do?

Substance Abuse & Addiction Counselors, counsel people who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, or other behavioral problems. They provide treatment and support to help the client recover from addiction or modify problem behaviors to prevent relapse.

How long is the Substance Abuse & Addiction Counseling program?

100 weeks

When does the program start?

AOS Degree programs are semester based programs. The Substance Abuse and Addiction Counseling program has 2 start dates annually – Spring semester and Fall Semester. Spring semester starts the first Monday of January and Fall Semester starts the first Monday of September, of every year.

Do you offer externships?

Yes, all of our programs include an externship. Click here for more information.

Is GMC accredited?

Yes. You can find our accreditation and approval information here, as well as on the ABHES website and BPPE website.

The Substance Abuse & Addiction Counseling Program is CCAPP approved and accredited by ABHES.

Is job placement assistance available?

Yes, we offer career counseling and planning services at GMC and are proud of our 85% institutional job placement rate.

What do I get when I finish?

Upon successful completion of the Substance Abuse & Addiction Counseling program at GMC, graduates will receive an Associate in Occupational Science (AOS) degree.

Graduates will also qualify to be Registered and Certified with the CCAPP.