Those who practice in the field of psychology are concerned with how and why people think and behave, and what contexts influence these functions. Factors like genetics, social impulses, learned behavior, and thought processes greatly impact the psychological health of the individual. Substance abuse psychologists are most concerned with the psychological, emotional, and social effects of chemical dependency on the individual.
Students who decide to pursue the bachelor’s in substance abuse psychology will receive an introduction to the integral theories and concepts behind psychology, in addition to the fundamentals of chemical addiction. However, the educational process does not end there; throughout their career, substance abuse psychologists will undergo continuing education in order to develop practical skills, collaborate with other professionals, and help clients. Key competencies for this profession include interviewing clients, conducting assessments, and monitoring and evaluating clients’ progress.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree in Substance Abuse Psychology?
The bachelor’s degree is a gateway to advanced education. Students who earn upper-level degrees in this field may decide to seek work as licensed counselors, clinical psychologists, and other occupations that require extensive knowledge and expertise to diagnose patients and treat their psychological conditions. It is important to note that graduate degrees are unnecessary for many positions in the field. For instance, many substance abuse psychology degree holders obtain entry-level positions at vocational rehabilitation centers, where they work one-on-one with clients to help them return to work.
Getting Into a Substance Abuse Psychology Bachelor’s Program
Every bachelor’s degree psychology substance abuse program adheres to a different set of admission criteria. Students must first apply to the university or college of their choice, and then submit an application to the school’s psychology department once they have completed a set number of college credit hours. They should research the requirements for entrance into the major, so that they can plan the first year of their bachelor degree accordingly.
- High school diploma or GED
- ACT or SAT scores
- Letters of recommendation
- Completed application and fee (if applicable)
- Personal essay
- Online application
Most bachelor’s degrees require a commitment of at least four years. Some bachelor’s programs may offer an accelerated track. Also, students may take more than four years because they choose to switch majors and need to fulfill additional credits. The cost of tuition for bachelor’s programs in substance abuse psychology varies considerably, so it is important to do your own research. Some programs may include an internship or supervised fieldwork. The tuition for these programs generally ranges from $60,000 to 70,000.
On average, students must fulfill 150 credits to complete the degree. Required courses for substance abuse psychology majors include case management, lifespan development, substance abuse prevention and treatment, and clinical psychology. They will explore contemporary and established research, learn the impact of chemical dependency on mental health, and gain experience in working collaboratively with social workers, doctors, and counselors.
What’s Next for Substance Abuse Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Holders?
Graduates will have the expertise necessary to enter entry-level positions in addictions centers, correctional programs, outpatient care centers, and counseling clinics. However, not all students will enter the field upon graduation. Some degree holders will find success in sales, administration, human resources, or other occupations where expert knowledge of psychology and human behavior will serve them well.
For students who wish to continue their education, the master’s degree in psychology with a concentration in substance abuse will prepare students to work as licensed substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, or mental health and substance abuse social workers. For the latter position, a master’s degree in social work can prove beneficial. According to One*Net OnLine, these professionals earned a median salary of $39,230 annual in 2011.