In 2005, the General Assembly enacted Senate Bill 705, which, according to the North
Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board (NCSAPPB), makes the substance
abuse credential mandatory for all substance abuse professionals. Although professional
credentialing assists in ensuring credibility, competency, and professionalism, it
has left a dearth of qualified substance abuse practitioners in North Carolina. Western
Carolina University’s Department of Social Work is responding to this workforce crisis.
The social work department has been approved by the NCSAPPB and the University for
a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Substance Abuse Studies Program in spring 2009.
Benefits of obtaining the Certificate in Substance Abuse Studies:
- Practitioners who provide direct substance abuse services must be under the auspices
of the NCSAPPB due to recent changes in legislation.
- Applicants for licensure must have 4000 hours (2 years) of post-graduate supervised
practice. Certificate students complete the first year of supervised practice in their
- Practitioners must acquire 180 hours of substance abuse specific training. MSW students
are able to meet this requirement while in their graduate program.
- There is a high demand for substance abuse credentialed, master’s level practitioners
so certificate students will be more marketable.
- Practitioners must complete a 300-hour practicum. WCU graduate students will complete
this practicum as part of their academic program.
Core components of the Certificate in Substance Abuse Studies Program:
- Four Substance Abuse Specific Courses (12 semester hours or 180 clock hours)
- Addictions (45 clock hours or SOCW 520 for WCU MSW students)
- Practice Methods in Substance Abuse Treatment (45 clock hours or SOCW 522 for WCU
- Cultural Competency in Substance Abuse Treatment (45 clock hours or SOCW 524 for WCU
- Science of Addiction (45 clock hours or SOCW 526 for WCU MSW students)
- HIV/AIDS & other communicable diseases & Ethics workshop (3 days, 18 hours)
- Concentration year field placement in substance abuse treatment setting
- Supervision by a NCSAPPB approved supervisor (CCS or CSI)
For more information contact:
Beth Young, MSW, LCSW, LCAS, CSI
Substance Use Studies Certificate Program Coordinator
Department of Social Work
College of Health and Human Sciences - Room 318
Western Carolina University
Office Phone: 828.227.3842 / Fax: 828.227.7708
P.O. Box 10126
Raleigh, NC 27605