Program Outline

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 graduate practicum.
  • 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 MSW students)
  • Cultural Competency in Substance Abuse Treatment (45 clock hours or SOCW 524 for WCU MSW students)
  • 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

Assistant Professor
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
(919) 832-0975

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