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CCU's Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program is nationally accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). Programs accredited by CACREP are reviewed against professionally approved standards, resulting in a streamlined licensure application process.

Pursue your passion to help people struggling with addiction.

CCU's Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program with an emphasis in Substance Use Disorders addresses the high demand for trained professionals to address widespread behavioral disorders and addiction to alcohol and other chemical substances.

Working in substance use counseling requires you to be proficient in the management and coordination of your patient's mental health. With an integrated approach to mental health and addiction, CCU's substance use counseling program trains you to provide leadership in developing, evaluating, and implementing holistic models for addiction treatment.

Employment of substance abuse counselors is projected to grow 23% from 2016-2026.*

The Substance Use Disorders emphasis unites biblical truth and clinical competence, drawing on an approach that balances theological beliefs about addiction with the growing scientific knowledge and theories available. Courses are taught by industry leaders and licensed addictions counselors who prepare you for licensure as both a professional counselor and a substance use counselor.

Students practicing in a Christian addiction treatment environment will be challenged to embrace all that theology and science have to offer in order to provide the best care possible for those suffering from substance use disorders.


The Substance Use Disorders curriculum encompasses evidence-based addiction treatment approaches and clinical training. This includes differential diagnosis, trauma-informed treatment, complicating medical issues, psychopharmacology, and recovery management. Upon completion of your master's degree and emphasis, you will be well prepared for any addiction counseling that intersects with mental health disorders.

Residency Requirement

If you enroll in the online cohort for the core M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling program, you will be required to attend a five-day on-campus residency held each summer of the program. You will attend a total of three residencies during your matriculation in the online counseling program.


Upon completion of the Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and the Substance Use Disorders emphasis, you will be prepared to begin the process of seeking certification and licensure in Colorado as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC), and Certified Addiction Counselor III (CAC III) based upon the current certification and licensure standards guided by the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).

Licensure requirements vary from state to state, and students are responsible for knowing the requirements of the state in which they seek licensure, including Colorado, and to review the state requirements above and beyond academic achievement and testing.

Career Outlook for Substance Use Counselors

Substance abuse and addiction counseling is an increasingly specialized area of behavioral health, and competent counselors must have the skills to treat patients with complex substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders. Substance abuse counselor jobs are common in the following locations: hospitals, outpatient and residential mental health and substance abuse treatment centers, private practice, nonprofit organizations, and state and local governments.

Employment of substance abuse counselors is projected to grow 23% from 2016-2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.*

* Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook

Professional Licensure Disclosure

Colorado Christian University offers several academic programs which lead to professional licensure in the state of Colorado and, in some programs, prepare students for a national exam. All students should be aware that states vary in their educational and professional requirements depending on the profession. Some states require specific educational requirements, clinical requirements, accreditation requirements, or exam requirements. See professional licensure disclosures for details.

State Exclusions for Online Students

The School of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Colorado Christian University offers courses to online students in all states with the exception of the following program-specific state exclusions:

  • CAGS does not offer Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling courses (degree or emphases) to online students who reside in Delaware. In addition, CCU does not offer the Marriage and Family Therapy emphasis for the M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling to online students who reside in Mississippi.

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