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What is Addiction Counseling?

Addiction counseling focuses on helping patients overcome substance abuse disorders and other unhealthy dependencies. Addiction counselors provide and coordinate services for people with a range of substance use and other behavioral addictions and health problems. They provide treatment and support to help the client recover from addiction and modify problematic behaviors.

Addiction counselors take a holistic approach to providing care — they help clients improve personal relationships and find ways to discuss their addiction or other problems with family and friends. Counselors work with clients to rebuild professional relationships strained by addiction and, when necessary, re-establish their careers.

Addiction counselors employ a range of skills to provide patient care including appraisal, individual and group counseling, treatment planning, referral and coordination with other service providers and assisting clients to cope effectively with their environment and function as independently as possible.

About the Master's in Addiction Counseling

The Master of Science in Addiction Counseling (MASC) program at TTUHSC was established the Spring of 2017 as one of the first counselor education programs in the United States to train practitioners simultaneously in clinical counseling skills and distance service provision techniques (telehealth or telemedicine).

Using the latest in online education technologies, the MASC program is available wherever you are located throughout Texas, the United States, and globally. Our online program is particularly designed to allow you the flexibility of pursuing your degree while maintaining existing professional or personal responsibilities.

Health Care delivery to Meet Critical Care Needs

As an addiction counselor, you will provide and coordinate services for people with a range of substance use disorders such as alcohol or drug use, or other behavioral addiction and health issues. You’ll provide treatment and support working with clients individually and in group sessions. You will teach clients how to cope with stress and life’s problems in ways that help them recover and maintain a healthier lifestyle. You may also work in facilities that involve interprofessional relationships with other health care providers.

An integral part of the TTUHSC MASC curriculum is an emphasis on telehealth. This model of distance-based service provision is a cutting-edge technique growing in practice and acceptance nationwide and globally. With the critical and growing need to provide essential health care to underserved populations across diverse geographic locations, telehealth will continue to play an increasingly important role in patient care.

All MSAC program graduates receive a certificate in telehealth.

The MSAC program is applying for accreditation with the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

Learn how to apply to the Master of Science in Addiction Counseling.

Becoming a Certified Addiction Counselor

On completion of the MSAC program, you will possess the competencies and experiences necessary to take the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) as a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) and be able to apply for licensure as a Professional Counselor (LPC) in many states where it is required. Licensure requirements vary by state; you can find specific state information on the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) website.

Outcomes 2018-2019

  • The first Master of Science in Addiction Counseling program student (N = 1) graduated.
  • The Master of Science in Addiction Counseling program had a graduation rate of 100%. (Graduation rate = number of graduates divided by the number of students scheduled to graduate.
  • Certification / licensure exam pass rates for this year were not reported.
  • For the past academic year our students had a completion rate of 95% (Completion rate = graduates + degree seeking students divded by total students.
  • Employment rates for the past year were not available at the time of this report.

MSAC 2018-2019 Full Outcomes and Report

A group counseling session led by a certified counselor

Addiction Counseling As a Career

Addiction counselors work in a variety of health care environments including mental health centers, community health centers, prisons, and private practice.

Increased access to health insurance has created a shortage of qualified addiction counselors and contributed to the growth of addiction counseling as a career. Opportunities for employment and professional development in the field are numerous and the demand for highly qualified addiction counselors is especially high.

  • The State of Texas has an acute shortage of addiction counselors, a challenge that is projected to worsen over the next 10 years.
  • The behavioral health care industry is growing rapidly, nationwide, due to recent changes in federal legislation and the rise in substance abuse and other behavioral disorders. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the need for addiction counselors to grow by 23% through 2026, much faster than other occupations.

The Master of Science in Addiction Counseling Curriculum

The goal of the Master of Science in Addiction Counseling program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center is to provide a practitioner training program focused on the unique needs of diverse communities, especially in rural settings. The program is committed to training you as an entry-level addiction counselor to work competently and ethically through the mastery of evidence-based counseling practices. Our focus centers on preparing you to understand the unique needs of persons with substance use and behavioral health disorders and to assist clients in learning to use their own resources and opportunities to meet their developmental, educational and interpersonal needs.

The curriculum of the TTUHSC MSAC program consists of 60 semester credit hours and includes addiction-specific clinical experiences. Classes include:

  • Psychopathology and Diadgnosis.
  • Treatment Planning and Case Management.
  • Multicultural Counseling.
  • Foundations of Addiction Counseling and Ethical Development.
  • Neurobiology of Addiction.

Successful completion of the program culminates in athe Master of Science in Addiction Counseling degree.

"The AC Program prepares students with the knowledge and skills to work in the rapidly expanding industry of behavioral health. Numerous employment and career advancement opportunities exist for addiction counselors with masters-level training."

Zach Sneed, Ph.D., CRC, LCDC, BC-TMH 

Assistant Professor / Program Director, Master of Science in Addiction Counseling  Department of Clinical Counseling and Mental Health, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center

Learn more about classes and clinical experiences.

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School of Health Professions Office of Admissions and Student Affairs

T: (806) 743-3220 


Zach Sneed, Master of Science in Addiction Counseling Program Director
Zach Sneed, PhD, LCDC, CRC
Program Director