Certificate Programs

Addictions & Substance Abuse Counseling

RMHC class


The field of substance abuse counseling has changed significantly over the last few years as a result of advances in brain imaging and a greater understanding of both brain chemistry and neuroadaptation (tolerance and withdrawal). Hence, there is an increasing tendency to recognize a variety of repetitive behaviors that result in an intemperate relationship with an activity as in addiction. There are adverse biological, social, or psychological consequences for the person engaging in such behaviors and process addictions such as gambling, compulsive shopping, sexual and pornography addiction, food addiction, and internet, cell phone and texting excesses. There will be an increasing need for treatment of these excessive behaviors.


This certificate is primarily designed for graduate students in rehabilitation counseling, mental health counseling, social work, psychology or other human services disciplines or for human services professionals who desire to learn about addictions and substance abuse counseling.

CEU/Licensure Credit: This graduate certificate program is approved for education and training by the Certification Board for Addictions Professionals of Florida (CBAPF approved provider #179A).

Course List

The 15 hours listed below are required for a Graduate Certifi­cate in Addiction & Substance Abuse Counseling. The three hour practicum must include 14 hours of work per week in a supervised substance abuse field site.

Required Courses
Course Number Course Name Credits
RCS 5450 Fundamentals of Substance Abuse Counseling 3
RCS 6459 Professional Skills for Addictions Counselors 3
RCS 6456 Counseling Approaches for Substance Abusers 3
RCS 6803 Practicum in a Substance Abuse Facility 3
Elective Courses (Choose One)
Course Number Course Name Credits
RCS 6930 Obesity and Eating Disorders 3
RCS 6930 Spirituality and Counseling 3
RCS 6930 Introduction to Mind Body Techniques 3
RCS 6930 Principles and Practices of Personal Change 3
  Or other approved elective. 3

Course Sequencing & Schedule

The Certificate has a specific sequence of courses to prepare students with the basic knowledge needed to excel in the more clinically advanced courses. Courses in the certificate are offered on a set schedule with Fundamentals of Substance Abuse Counseling being offered in both the spring and fall semesters and Professional Skills for Addictions Counselors and Counseling Approaches for Substance Abusers being offered every summer. For a full list of classes and when they will be offered, visit the USF OASIS Schedule of Classes.

Course Sequencing

No pre-requisites required

One pre-requisite required
(Fundamentals of Substance Abuse Counseling)

Admission Requirements

To qualify for admission into the Addictions and Substance Abuse Counseling Graduate Certificate Program, students must have completed or be in the process of completing a master's degree in the field of counseling or a related discipline leading to the coursework necessary to prepare them for a clinical Practicum experience. Students must apply before completing their first course in the certificate program.
To apply, a student must:

  1. Complete the Graduate Certificate Application (non-USF students must include a $30 application fee).
  2. Complete a 250 word personal statement.
  3. Provide a Resume
  4. Provide two letters of recommendation
  5. Provide transcripts from master's program


For more information on the Addictions and Substance Abuse Counseling, please contact:

Vicky Buckles, PhD
Addictions and Substance Abuse Counseling Certificate Director
Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling Program
University of South Florida
13301 Bruce B. Downs Blvd, MHC 1632
Tampa, FL 33612
Phone: (813) 974-6641
Fax: (813) 974-8080

Applications are available on the Graduate Certificate Web Page: Graduate Certificate in Addictions and Substance Abuse Counseling.