A counselor reaches out to the shoulder of a patient

Substance Use Disorder Counseling - Associate Degree

The Substance Use Disorders Counseling Associate Degree is designed for individuals interested in working with addiction issues. The SUDC profession is held to high ethical standards to inspire respect, trust and confidence. To succeed, skills and character must include: emotional stability, maturity, self-awareness, self-discipline, and personal responsibility; a minimum of one year free of substance use-related problems; an interest in working with people and appreciation of cultural diversity; strong reading, writing, critical thinking and decision-making skills. Potential employment includes: substance abuse counseling, correctional facilities, employee and student assistance programs, and various community and social service agencies. Program graduates are eligible for licensure in Wisconsin as Substance Abuse Counselors-In Training, qualifying for entry-level employment.

Program Code: 105501
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Inspire Change

as a substance abuse counselor

Do you feel drawn to the helping professions? Do you have a deep compassion for those with addictions? Whether your family has been affected by alcohol or drugs, you are recovering, or you simply want to make a difference in the lives of others, you may thrive as a substance abuse counselor (also called an AODA counselor).

Gain all the skills and knowledge you need to become a licensed substance abuse counselor in the state of Wisconsin. Learn to interview clients and assess problems, facilitate group counseling, examine signs and symptoms of mental illness, complete ethical case management, understand the effects of drugs and alcohol, and much more.

Program Costs & Financial Aid

See costs of tuition, books, and supplies.

This program is fully eligible for financial aid.

Estimates based on in-state residency. Learn more about tuition and fees.

Explore Locations

Offered At:


  • Day
  • Evening
  • Full-time
  • Part-time

How do I get started in this program?

Requirements for Program Entry

  • Completed application.
  • To be admitted to this program, learners must achieve a prior cumulative high school or college grade point average of 2.6 or higher OR a satisfactory academic skills assessment score. College grade point average must be based on 15 credits or more. To learn more about starting this program, please contact an admissions advisor at (920) 498-5444 or (888) 385-6982.

What are my courses?


Students following the study plan below will complete the Substance Use & Disorder Counseling Associate program in the number of semesters shown.

Total Credits 63
  • Curriculum Note: Students must earn a "C" or higher in all 10-520-XXX and 10-550-XXX courses. A student who withdraws or receives a grade lower than a "C" may retake the course.
  • Students must earn a "C" or higher in 10-801-136; English Composition 1, 10-809-198; Intro to Psychology, 10-809-188; Developmental Psychology, 10-801-196; Oral/Interpersonal Comm, 10-809-172; Intro to Diversity Studies, 10-806-112; Principles of Sustainability, 10-804-134; Mathematical Reasoning.
  • It is recommended to complete English Composition 1 (10-801-136) during the summer before the first semester.
  • The credit for 10-890-101, College 101 is an Institutional Requirement for graduation. Consequently, it is not part of the program requirements, but must be passed with a C.
  • Admitted students may be invited to attend the Substance Use Disorder Counseling program orientation; attendance is strongly recommended.
  • As a part of this program, students will have internship experience. Please see a program faculty for more information.
  • For more information, please call 920-498-5444 or 1-800-422-NWTC.
  • Health care facilities participating in internships require an official criminal background check in compliance with Wisconsin Statutes 1998 Caregiver Law.

Program Outcomes

  • Clinically evaluate for substance use disorders and treatment needs
  • Develop treatment plans
  • Facilitate referral to meet needs
  • Demonstrate case management skills
  • Demonstrate counseling skills with individuals, groups and families
  • Provide culturally relevant education related to substance abuse
  • Document and maintain clinical records according to agency, federal and state guidelines
  • Adhere to accepted ethical and behavior conduct

What's next after graduation?

Start here. Finish at a four-year.

NWTC transfer programs are offered through collaborative agreements with our four-year college and university partners. See where your associate degree credits will transfer.


Classes wherever you have an internet connection. 

  • An in-person career experience, such as an internship, practicum, or credit for prior learning, may be required.
  • Some online courses may be held at specific dates/times.
Classes between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Classes between the hours of 5:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.
A combination of online classes and Saturday and/or Sunday classes.
12 or more credits per term.
Fewer than 12 credits per term.