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2023 Best Online Substance Abuse Counseling Degrees in Florida

By OnlineU Staff Writers | Updated 9/28/2023


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Becoming an addiction and substance abuse counselor requires training in fundamental theories, practices, diagnoses, and the most effective treatments. Our list below highlights online substance use counseling degrees in Florida across all available program levels. While earning a bachelor's degree in addiction counseling sometimes leads directly to licensure, it remains a helpful first step for those who want to prepare for licensure programs later. Those on a tight budget may also want to explore our list the most affordable online substance use counseling programs.

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Florida SouthWestern State College

  • Locations: Fort Myers (and 3 others)
  • Annual Tuition: $12,979

At Florida SouthWestern State College (FSW), a medium-sized, public college, prospective students can pursue an online certificate in this sought-after profession.

  • The 24-credit Addiction Services College Credit Certificate at FSW prepares students for careers in addiction counseling or provides additional training to professionals already working in this field. Some of the online classes are Techniques of Interviewing, Working with Alcoholics and Other Drug Abusers, and Alcoholism and Other Drug Abuse. Future careers for graduates may include social and human service assistants, mental health substance use social workers, and care coordinators.

Canvas is FSW’s learning management system to facilitate asynchronous online learning. Online student support at FSW includes tutoring, technical assistance, and financial services.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 87%
  • Avg. Aid Package: $5,514
  • Repayment Rate: 83%
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Avg. Graduation Rate: 32%
  • Retention Rate: N/A
  • Recommend Rate: N/A
  • School Type: Nonprofit (Public)
  • Undergraduate Online: 4,491 enrolled
  • Graduate Online: N/A
  • Certificate Online: 959 enrolled

Florida National University

  • Locations: Hialeah
  • Annual Tuition: $13,688

Florida National University - Main Campus (FNU) is a mid-sized, private, and nonprofit institution in Hialeah that hosts one online addiction studies degree.

  • The Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Addiction Studies is a 120-credit, four-year psychology degree, which includes a 33-credit concentration in addiction studies for those interested in specializing. It takes full-time students approximately four years to complete the degree online. Courses include Relapse Prevention, Substance and Aging, and Assessment and Treatment Planning in Addiction. While this online bachelor's in addiction studies does not lead to addiction counseling credentialing or certification, it can help prepare students for entry-level positions in the field or a master's degree program.

FNU delivers online coursework and instruction asynchronously via the Blackboard learning management system. FNU's distance learners can access a wide range of online student resources, such as tutorials, the writing studio, exam preparation, career services, and tech support.

  • Financial Aid Recipients: 87%
  • Avg. Aid Package: $8,404
  • Repayment Rate: N/A
  • Acceptance Rate: N/A
  • Avg. Graduation Rate: 52%
  • Retention Rate: 61%
  • Recommend Rate: 100%
  • School Type: For Profit
  • Undergraduate Online: 546 enrolled
  • Graduate Online: 65 enrolled
  • Certificate Online: 55 enrolled
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Overview of Substance Abuse Counseling Degrees in Florida

Drug misuse and chemical dependency are serious public health issues for Florida's 22 million residents. The 2022 annual report issued by the Statewide Drug Policy Advisory Council offers some alarming statistics, including the fact that overdose deaths nearly tripled between 2015 and 2022. 

Yet, the state's health department continues to collaborate with county and local agencies in responding to this crisis. Together, they're devising strategies for preventing chemical dependency, providing more and better care, and reducing the number of overdose deaths through targeted treatment programs.  

Some of Florida's specific steps include getting more people into long-term treatment facilities, expanding access to medication-assisted treatment programs, providing more services for young people aged 12 to 17, and monitoring prescription drugs more effectively. The report also affirmed Florida's need for "a vibrant, stable, and well-trained workforce" that includes certified alcohol and drug counselors.

Another one of Florida's objectives is to reduce the stigma and negative feelings associated with substance use disorders. For this reason, officials across the state and many healthcare professionals are moving away from using the term "substance abuse." However, because many colleges and universities still use this term, we include both traditional and current terminology on our website.

Your first step in building a career in counseling may be a bachelor's degree. Explore the possibilities on our ranked 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 Florida

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

Due to Florida's commitment to expanding treatment for people suffering from substance use disorder, there are many career options in this field. 

Graduates with traditional or online substance abuse counseling degrees at the bachelor's level are well qualified for nonclinical roles. Examples include working in a government-sponsored agency or nonprofit organization as a community health worker or health education specialist. These entry-level positions could later lead to leadership opportunities as health or community services managers.

If you'd prefer a clinical role, you can become a Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) or Master's Level Certified Addiction Professional (MCAP) in Florida. For the lower CAC level of substance abuse counseling certification, the state's licensing board requires 270 hours of training in addiction and counseling. Although only a high school diploma is required, many applicants complete an online bachelor's degree in counseling for substance abuse to help fulfill this requirement. The higher MCAP level requires a master's degree.

How Do I Become a Substance Use Counselor in Florida?

Florida's certification board offers two distinct paths to becoming a substance use counselor. One path is to become a CAC, which requires 270 total clock hours of training, up to 6,000 hours of work experience, and up to 300 hours of supervised on-the-job training. However, the state considers this to be an intermediate credential, meaning that CACs must always work under the supervision of clinical staff.

To practice independently in Florida, you'll need to become an MCAP. This higher level of certification requires a master's degree in substance abuse counseling or a similar field, 2,000 hours of clinical practice, and 100 hours of supervised training. Completing one of the programs shown on our lists of the best online substance abuse counseling master's degrees and the most affordable online substance abuse counseling degrees will qualify you for MCAP certification.

Applicants for both types of licensure must be able to provide verified documentation that they've taken certain college-level courses. Among the many required subjects are clinical evaluation, counseling, treatment planning, education, and case management. If you've completed college coursework or earned an on-campus or online substance abuse counseling degree, it must be from a college or university with institutional accreditation

Once your application for certification to provide substance abuse counseling in Florida has been approved, you can proceed to the final step. You'll need to pass the substance use counseling exam sponsored by the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC). 

Your CAC or MCAP license will need to be renewed annually. To earn renewal, you'll need to complete 20 hours of continuing education.

Does Florida Have Reciprocity for Substance Use Counselors?

Because the Florida Certification Board is a member of the IC&RC, licensed and certified addiction counseling professionals from other states may be able to transfer their credential to a CAC credential in Florida. If you've been licensed through the IC&RC and you'd like to offer in-person or online substance abuse counseling in Florida, contact the IC&RC to initiate the reciprocity process.

How Much Does a Substance Use Counselor Make in Florida?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not provide a breakdown of salaries for CACs and MCAPs in Florida. However, it does state that substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earn a mean annual wage of $52,320. About 15,630 of these professionals currently work in the state, but ProjectionsCentral projects the number of jobs to grow by 27.5% through 2030.

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