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2023 Best Online Substance Abuse Counseling Degrees in Arkansas

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 9/27/2023

Becoming an addiction and substance use counselor requires training in fundamental theories, practices, diagnoses, and the most effective treatments available. Earning a bachelor's degree in substance use counseling is a solid first step toward entering this field. Completing your college education online can be an affordable and convenient way to prepare for this in-demand field and obtain state licensure. 

Our list below highlights degrees in Arkansas offering online substance use counseling programs that can help you achieve your goals. Additionally, we have a list of the most affordable online substance use counseling programs as well for those who are on a budget.

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University of Central Arkansas

  • Locations: Conway
  • Annual Tuition: $16,433

The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway is a mid-sized, public institution with an online degree in SA counseling.

  • The Bachelor of Science in Addiction Studies - Treatment (Degree Completion) is an online program designed for associate degree graduates. It's accredited by the National Association of Substance Abuse Counselors. Graduating requires completing 47 hours of general education requirements and 32 hours for the coursework associated with the Treatment track. Some of the online classes include Etiology and Epidemiology of Addiction, Group Counseling Skills, and Legal and Ethical Issues in Addiction. A practicum is also required. This curriculum aims to help prepare students for work in hospitals, clinics, schools, the criminal justice system, and government agencies. Bachelor's graduates are eligible for the Alcohol and Drug Counselor certification, which is offered by the Arkansas Substance Abuse Certification Board.

UCA uses the Blackboard learning management system to deliver 100% online and asynchronous programming. It provides distance learners remote access to several student resources, including the bookstore and library, disability services, technical support, career services, and tutoring.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 96%
  • Avg. Aid Package: $7,693
  • Repayment Rate: 90%
  • Acceptance Rate: 90%
  • Avg. Graduation Rate: 49%
  • Retention Rate: 71%
  • Recommend Rate: 98%
  • School Type: Nonprofit (Public)
  • Undergraduate Online: 437 enrolled
  • Graduate Online: 858 enrolled
  • Certificate Online: 12 enrolled
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Overview of Substance Abuse Counseling Degrees in Arkansas

Arkansas, like so many other states in the nation, is battling the effects of substance misuse and chemical dependency. Opioids pose a particularly dangerous threat to the state's residents, as the age-adjusted death rate due to opioid overdose more than doubled between 2011 and 2021. Yet, in 2021, opioids accounted for only 61% of all drug overdose deaths in the state. The rest were due to the misuse of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, and other substances.

To help address this public health issue, Arkansas established the Substance Misuse Education and Prevention Section within the Arkansas Department of Health. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the section employs a number of tactics to raise public awareness of the dangers of chemical dependency.

In addition to their focus on prevention, Arkansas lawmakers and policymakers are also striving to help those who are struggling with addiction. For example, there are 148 treatment centers across the state that provide medical interventions, peer support groups, and counseling for substance abuse. Experts expect the demand for trained substance abuse counselors to grow by 26.9% in Arkansas over the next decade or so.

Want to start your counseling career with an online bachelor's degree? Explore our lists of the best online substance abuse counseling programs, the most affordable online substance abuse counseling programs, and the best online counseling programs.

FAQs About Substance Use Counseling Degrees in Arkansas

What Can You Do With a Substance Use Counselor Degree in Arkansas?

Whether you've earned a traditional or online substance abuse counseling degree, you'll be prepared to follow a variety of career paths in the Natural State. 

If providing substance abuse counseling in Arkansas is your goal, your bachelor's degree will help you qualify for licensure as a Licensed Associate Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselor (LAADAC). However, if you want to advance in the field in this state, you'll need a master's degree to become a Licensed Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselor (LADAC).

A bachelor's degree in substance abuse counseling or a similar field of study also prepares you for several nonclinical roles that don't require licensure. For example, you could work in a government agency or nonprofit organization as a community health worker or health education specialist. As you progress in your career, you may decide to move into management, which is likely to offer a higher salary.

How Much Does a Substance Use Counselor Make in Arkansas?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the mean annual salary for all substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health therapists in Arkansas is $63,250. As of 2021, there were 2,190 professionals working in the state, but the BLS projects a significant 26.9% increase in demand from 2020 to 2030.

How Do I Become a Substance Use Counselor in Arkansas?

Substance use counseling in Arkansas is structured on a two-tier system that is tied to education. To become an Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselor in Arkansas, you'll need a bachelor's degree in substance use counseling or a related field to meet the requirements for the lower LAADAC tier credential. A master's degree in the behavioral health fiels is required to qualify for the upper LADAC tier credential.

Both substance abuse counseling bachelor's degrees and substance abuse counseling master's degrees — including many affordable master's degrees in substance abuse counseling — are available online. You'll want to attend an institutionally accredited school, and you may also want to choose a degree program that has been accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). 

Your college transcripts must also show that you've completed specific courses to qualify for substance abuse counseling certification in Arkansas. These requirements include courses in pharmacology, psychopharmacology, addiction processes and theories, treatment models and methods, and professional standards and ethics.

After earning your online degree, you'll need to complete a minimum of three years of supervised work experience under a pre-approved supervisor. Your supervisor must be in good standing with the Arkansas State Board of Examiners of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (ASBEADAC). You'll also need to follow the board's guidelines for documenting your clinical hours.

The third major milestone on the path to certification is passing a written exam. In Arkansas, you'll need to take the Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor Exam offered by the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC). 

Certification needs to be renewed every two years. You'll need to complete 40 hours of continuing education during each two-year cycle to qualify for renewal, and up to 20 of these hours can be completed through online courses.

Does Arkansas Have Reciprocity for Substance Use Counselors?

Yes, Arkansas does have reciprocity for professionals who provide in-person and online substance abuse counseling. Certified counselors from other states that have licensing requirements similar to those in Arkansas may qualify for licensure in the state without any further training. If you are a credentialed substance abuse counselor from another state, you can submit an application to the ASBEADAC for review. Licensure is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

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