Addictions (Graduate Certificate)

Other Information

Graduate Catalog: CPCF

  • Admission requirements
  • Program details
  • Course descriptions
  • Internship information

Application Deadlines

Department: Community Psychology, Counseling and Family Therapy

Graduate Director:
Dr. Barb Vesely

Program Location

This graduate certificate is offered on-campus and is also available for completion on-line. For more information on our online offered programs, please visit The Center For Continuing Studies.

Program Overview

  • This graduate certificate program provides academic and experiential training intended to prepare persons in counseling for chemical dependency counselor licensure.
  • Our curriculum prepares you for the Minnesota License Alcohol and Drug (MLADC) comprehensive examination and to become credentialed as a Board Certified Counselor (BCC).
  • Prospective students should study additional details and forms on the LADC license process.

Admission Information

  • Careful attention will be given to previous work experience, academic background, scholarship, interpersonal skills, and commitment to the field of addictions.
  • A specific Statement of Intent for applicants to the Addictions program is to be submitted electronically through the online admission application.  To address in the Statement of Intent:
    • Describe your personal experiences with counseling or therapy, and your own self-growth experiences.
    • Describe the significant life events that have contributed to who you are today.
    • Please describe why the field of chemical dependency treatment is of interest to you.
      • If you have been diagnosed with a substance use disorder, what is your sober date?
      • How did you find recovery?
      • How do you maintain your sober lifestyle?
    • Identify areas of strength and challenges in pursuing this degree.

Application Review Process

  • Applications are reviewed twice a year in a pool of candidates for fall and spring semester intakes.
  • Strong candidates will be invited to a group interview.
  • An e-mail will be sent from the department support person with potential interview dates. If attendance at an interview is totally impractical, the graduate director may designate an alternate method.
  • Complete a group interview with counseling faculty. An interview is required and is held in late February or early March.
  • Admission decisions are made after review of applications and the group interviews are completed. 
  • Generally, notice regarding admission decisions are completed and sent to applicants within approximately two weeks of the group interviews.
  • Applicants can enhance their chance for an admission offer by having all application materials in by the deadline and demonstrating clear and compelling responses to the interview questions in the group interview.
  • Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Gainful Employment

Certain undergraduate and graduate certificates at St. Cloud State University prepare students for employment in specific fields and do not result in a degree. Federal law requires publication of data associated with those programs of study, including approximate program costs, program length, and employment statistics. The Minnesota State Colleges and University's (MnSCU) Chancellor's office has provided this report containing the aforementioned information for all required programs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to have personal experience with chemical dependency or treatment to become an addiction counselor?
No. The science and practice of counseling individuals and groups who are affected by addiction requires advanced education and training in counseling and in understanding addiction and treatment.  Personal experience with substance abuse, chemical addiction, or treatment does not make a person more qualified to effectively counsel individuals affected by chemical addiction than a person without personal experience.

Can I work as an addiction counselor if I have been treated for chemical dependency?
Yes. Agencies and clinics require at least two year’s sobriety prior to placement in an internship and prior to hiring. All applicants seeking state licensure are required to sign a statement verifying a minimum of two year’s sobriety. The state of Minnesota may deny, suspend, or revoke a license if an individual has “habitually overindulged in the use of or the dependence on alcohol within the past two years” and/or has engaged in the illegal use of any controlled substance within the past two years.

Applicants to SCSU’s chemical addiction certificate program must provide written verification of one year of abstinence from drugs if chemically dependent and in recovery.

How will an addiction counseling certificate help me in a counseling career?
Most counselors will have clients who have problems related to chemical addiction during their career, and therefore could benefit from advanced education and training in this area. 

Does the certificate meet Minnesota Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counseling (LADC) requirements?
Yes. The certificate program is approved by the Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy (MnBBHT), which is the state agency responsible for licensing addiction counselors. The program provides academic and supervised, experiential training intended to prepare individuals for the Minnesota LADC licensure examination.

Where do I apply for licensure?
The Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy (MnBBHT)

Can credits I’ve earned elsewhere be applied to the certificate program at SCSU?
Maybe. With approval of program faculty, it is possible that some credits from previous coursework might apply to prerequisite or Addiction Counseling certificate core courses. It is important to meet with a program advisor to determine which, if any, previously earned credits may be applied to the certificate program requirements.

Can my previous work or volunteer experience count toward certificate requirements?
No. Students are required to complete all prerequisite and core courses, and the supervised internship.

Why is it important that I apply for admission to the graduate program?
Several requirements must be met for a student to be admitted to the certificate program.  It is not possible to earn the certificate without being admitted to the program. The list of requirements is available in the Graduate Catalog.

Do I have to take the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and obtain a certain score to be considered for admission to the certificate program?
No. The GRE is not required for the Addiction Counseling certificate program.

How long does it take to complete the program?
It depends. Full time students who have completed all the prerequisite courses could complete the core courses in 1-2 semesters, and the internship in 2 semesters, for a total of 3-4 semesters.  Part time students, students who need to complete prerequisite courses or students with other extenuating circumstances would need more than three semesters to complete the program.

Can I include the certificate in a Master’s degree program?
Yes. Many students include Chemical Addiction certificate coursework in their Master’s program.

Do I have to take the courses in a specific order?
No. Courses can be taken in any order, but all courses must be completed before the internship can begin.

Where can I learn more about careers associated with this certificate?
Mental Health Counselor career information is available at

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor career information is available at

State job postings can be found at

Are there professional organizations of chemical addiction counselors?
Yes. The nation’s largest professional organization is the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC). The association’s web address is  The Minnesota Division of NAADAC is at

MARRCH (Minnesota Association of Resources for Recovery and Chemical Health) “As a collective body, MARRCH works to educate, support and guide individuals and agencies while speaking with a unified voice in public policy venues.”