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Chemical Dependency Counseling

The Degree

Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.)

The Outlook

An increased demand for professionals in the area of chemical dependency counseling and a greater emphasis on alcohol and drug abuse education has created positions in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and government/social service agencies. The Occupational Outlook Handbook reports that employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is expected to grow 31 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. The growth level in this field is high as addiction and mental health counseling services are increasingly covered by insurance policies.

The Program

By combining academic background with extensive field experience, the Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree program in Chemical Dependency Counseling at FLCC educates and trains you to work as a counselor with alcoholics and addicts. The program prepares you to take the Chemical Dependency Counseling examination and utilizes the technically advanced Educational Technology Classrooms and videos.

Honors Courses: In addition, the College offers honors courses that provide enhanced educational experiences for students who have demonstrated outstanding academic ability. Enrollment in honors courses is open to qualified students in this degree program, as well as all other qualified FLCC students. Successful completion of honors courses or an Honors Certificate may increase student transfer options to four-year institutions.

Program Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this degree program, students will be able to demonstrate:

  • knowledge of addiction including concepts, causes, models, the impact on health, society and treatment.
  • the ability to recognize symptoms of substance abuse and dependence, to take an alcohol and drug use history, and to make a diagnosis.
  • the ability to apply group counseling skills and techniques learned in class.
  • an understanding of the documents appropriate to CDC treatment for the following documents: biopsychosocial evaluations, treatment plans, progress notes and placement criteria.
  • knowledge and understanding of ethical issues related to CDC, including (but not limited to) confidentiality, boundaries, ethical decision making and mandatory reporting.
  • understanding and knowledge of treatment modalities, relapse and relapse prevention, recovery and self-help.
  • understanding of the following topics as they relate to substance abuse, dependence and recovery: culture (the student’s own and the client’s), spirituality, mental health and co-occurring disorders.

The Experience

A required 300 hours of field experience in settings such as the Canandaigua Veteran's Administration Hospital, Geneva General Hospital, Finger Lakes Alcoholism Counseling and Referral Agency (FLACRA), Park Ridge Chemical Dependency (PRCD), Clifton Springs Hospital and Clinic, and the Council on Alcoholism provide you with extensive experience in the field before graduating. Field trips to Tully Hill Treatment Center, PRCD and FLACRA, along with workshops and trainings in the area provide additional information and networking opportunities for students.

The Graduates

Graduates of this program have found employment as entry-level substance abuse counselors at all area treatment centers, while others have successfully transferred to baccalaureate programs in counseling, health science, and social work at four-year institutions such as SUNY College at Brockport, Nazareth College of Rochester, and Syracuse University, to name a few.* Some graduates have completed Master in Social Work (M.S.W.) programs after earning their four-year degrees.

In addition, an alumni group for Chemical Dependency Counseling program graduates provides fellowship and networking opportunities.

Salary: According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median annual wage for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was $38,520 in May 2012.

* This is a sampling of some of the four-year colleges and universities to which our students have transferred. Please consult your advisor or the Educational Planning and Career Services office for a complete listing of transfer agreements between Finger Lakes Community College and four-year institutions.

The Scholarships

Students who are interested in transferring to pursue a higher degree in chemical dependency counseling or human services and who meet the specific criteria may be eligible for the Ontario County Council of Social Agencies Members (OCCSAM) Scholarship. Contact a member of the Chemical Dependency Counseling Department or Financial Aid Office for more details.

The Faculty

The Chemical Dependency program includes a full-time faculty, all with a master's degrees in Public Administration and credentials in the field.