Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling

Acquire the knowledge to become an effective substance use disorder counselor. Learn the skills to help clients identify and change addiction-related beliefs and behaviors. Format: Remote (Required Courses). Internship may be in-person or remote.

This program is perfect for...

  • Aspiring substance use disorder counselors
  • Allied health professionals seeking specific or additional training in substance use disorders and counseling
  • Criminal justice and law enforcement professionals
  • Students preparing for graduate studies in marriage and family therapy, clinical social work or psychology

What you can learn.

  • Conduct motivational interviewing, client assessment and treatment planning
  • Prepare for individual, group and family counseling
  • Meet educational requirements for certification through the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP)
  • Learn vital techniques for screening, brief intervention and referral treatment
  • Practice skills and receive coaching during internship experiences

Pursue a substance use disorder counseling career.

counseling session

Addiction is one of the most pressing public health challenges in society today. With nearly 21 million Americans—a number that is greater than all cancer diagnoses combined—suffering from substance use disorders, there is an urgent need for competent and knowledgeable counselors in the field.

To help address this serious issue, the UCLA Extension Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling Certificate program prepares students for professional certification and careers in substance use disorder counseling.  

Format: Remote (required courses). Internship may be in person or remote.
Duration: 1.5 years

Practical training and coaching

Our program prepares individuals interested in getting started in the field, as well as those already working in it, to identify addiction-related behaviors and help clients find their motivation to change them using evidence-based practices. Students emerge with a comprehensive set of skills; program graduates are trained to counsel clients and families, and participate in treatment planning.

The UCLA Extension difference

UCLA Extension works to ensure students are provided with the most current, relevant and scientifically sound curriculum and training available.

Students participate in a supervised field work practicum, where they not only have the opportunity to put their skills into practice, but are able to contribute to the community while still in school. Further, graduates meet the educational requirements for professional certification through the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP).

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Information Session and New Student Orientation

Attend our free information session and new student orientation to learn more about the growing profession of substance use disorder counseling and meet instructors who teach in the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling Certificate. Attendance is required to complete the application to the program.

Register Today

California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP) logo

The UCLA Extension Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling Certificate is approved by the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals Education Institute (CCAPP-EI).

What our students are saying.

I can’t thank UCLA Extension enough for launching my counseling career. I received excellent training from the program’s knowledgeable and dedicated teachers. UCLA Extension’s reputation has opened many doors for me. I now have the privilege of doing work that I love through facilitating groups at rehabs in the Los Angeles area and working as a counselor and case manager.

Certificate Graduate


Click below to view the required and elective courses, if applicable, for this program.

COM HLT X 470.1
Typically Offered: Fall
COM HLT X 470.5
Typically Offered: Fall
COM HLT X 470.7
Typically Offered: Winter
COM HLT X 470.8
Typically Offered: Spring
COM HLT X 470.9
Typically Offered: Spring
COM HLT X 470.3
Typically Offered: Summer
COM HLT X 470.6
Typically Offered: Summer
COM HLT X 470.10
Typically Offered: Summer
COM HLT X 470.4
Typically Offered: Fall
COM HLT X 470.11
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter
see all courses

This program begins in Fall quarter. All prospective certificate candidates must complete an application process prior to enrolling in required courses.

To apply:

  1. Apply for the certificate candidacy by clicking "Apply Now" below
  2. Enroll in and attend the New Student Orientation offered in Summer quarter
  3. Enroll in and complete the Study Skills course offered in Summer quarter

    You may waive this course requirement if you have successfully completed an associate degree or higher. To waive the prerequisite, please upload unofficial transcripts when applying for the certificate.You can also mail transcripts if you prefer to the following address:

    UCLA Extension
    Department of Health Sciences and Sciences
    10960 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1600
    Los Angeles, CA 90024-3802

Upon completion of steps 1-3, successful applicants will be assessed a $125 nonrefundable candidacy fee, payable once permission to enroll in the program is granted

The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling Certificate program includes:

  • A convenient schedule that allows completion of all required courses in 1½ years (6 quarters) if coursework begins in the fall
  • Completion of all prerequisite courses to sit for the CCAPP certification exam
  • Over 343 hours of education
  • 255 Supervised Field Work Practicum hours

Additional benefits exclusive to UCLA Extension certificate students:

  • Access to Handshake, UCLA Career Center’s online job board, with access to thousands of job and internship postings
  • Become a member of the UCLA Alumni Association (upon completing your certificate) and a nationwide network of Bruin family
  • Join us for the annual UCLA Extension Graduation Ceremony on campus to celebrate all your hard work 
  • Get access to UCLA Recreation facilities as a student affiliate*
  • Open an affiliate/Guest UCLA Bruin ID Card* for a number of student-related benefits
  • PLUS, all UCLA Extension students have access to UCLA Extension’s Career Resources including online career coaching, workshops and networking events
*Nominal fee required 

Practical training is offered through fieldwork experience—including an opportunity to participate in a two-quarter Supervised Field Work Practicum course.

Both experiential and didactic, this practicum incorporates information learned in prerequisite courses and serves as the capstone experience in the curriculum. Students spend 255 hours in direct agency internship, and complete 18 classroom sessions that utilize role playing, case studies and other exercises to troubleshoot counseling issues.

Students are encouraged to research facilities of interest to them at the beginning of their coursework, and must secure their field work practicum site and complete paperwork prior to enrolling in the Supervised Field Work Practicum course.

Learn more

The Zappala Family Scholarship, established in 2013, supports students enrolled in the UCLA Extension Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counseling Certificate.

When it comes to the cycle of addiction, skilled and well-trained substance use disorder counselors make all the difference in the lives of those who struggle with the disease. This scholarship was created to provide qualified individuals the opportunity to pursue professional careers as addiction counselors.

The Zappala family has been personally touched by the devastating effects of addiction and strongly believes in supporting the education of those seeking to help individuals and families overcome addiction, achieve recovery, and return to a healthy way of living. Thanks to the support of qualified and compassionate counselors, a member of the Zappala family successfully received treatment for addiction, rebuilt a sober life, and later pursued his own career in substance use disorder counseling after completing his certificate in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling at UCLA Extension. In gratitude for that support, the Zappala family offers assistance to those pursuing careers in substance use disorder counseling to ensure that expert counselors are readily available for other families like theirs.

Apply Today

Please note: Applications will be accepted Monday, April 1, 2024, at 8am through Monday, July 1, 2024, at 11:59pm (PT).

Estimated Cost Breakdown

All courses in this program are paid for individually, unless otherwise noted. An application form is required to establish candidacy in this program. From the 'Apply Now' button, complete the online application and pay the application fee if applicable.

Application & Candidacy Fee


Estimated Program Tuition


Estimated program textbook/materials


*The Application & Candidacy Fee establishes your candidacy in the program for a period of time covering normal progress toward completion and may allow you to access a variety of program benefits.

**Federal Financial Aid Gainful Employment Disclosures

The U.S. Department of Education requires colleges and universities to disclose certain information for any financial aid eligible program that, “prepares students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation”. This information includes program costs; occupations that the program prepares students to enter; occupational profiles; on time completion rate; and for the most recent award year: the number of students who have completed the program, the number of students who complete the program within the estimated duration, the job placement rate, and the median Title IV and private loan debt incurred by those who complete the program. For gainful employment information for this program, visit our Financial Aid page.

The UCLA Extension Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling Certificate meets the educational requirements for those seeking professional certification from the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP) and its certification board, CCAPP Credentialing

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