City Vision's Addiction Counseling Degree Program - Substance Abuse Counselor Training

naadacCity Vision University’s Addiction Counseling program helps students prepare for the addiction counselor certification process in the states where they live.

City Vision University is an Approved Academic Education Provider for NAADAC, the national association for addiction professionals. Learn about the requirements for addiction counselor certification in your state.

The Addiction Counseling program can lead to a undergraduate Certificate, an Associate of Science, a Bachelor of Science, or a graduate Certificate.  To earn the Bachelor’s degree, a student must earn a total of 120 semester credit hours; a minimum of thirty must be from City Vision University.  A total of thirty hours may come through credit-by-examination or Prior Learning Assessment. There are also 30 hours of General Education required. View our General Education Requirements for more information.

The  program focuses on how individuals can avoid addictive substances and behaviors; the methods by which individuals can be treated for various addictions and related behavior problems; and the knowledge and coping skills needed by relatives and friends of addicted individuals. The Addiction Counselor program provides training in the Twelve Core Functions of Substance Abuse Counseling.

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All Undergraduate Addiction Counseling Courses

City Vision University is accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission. DEAC is recognized by both the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

NAADAC’s Approved Academic Education Provider program highlights a continuing education provider’s commitment to quality education and dedication to excellence. The emblem signifies that an organization has voluntarily opened its educational programs to examination by an independent body for content applicability to state and national certification standards and is approved by the National Certification Commission (NCC). This rigorous review process ensures that students receive a consistent, reliable and quality learning experience that is applicable to their careers and advances their understanding of addiction-related issues.

Those participating in programs offered by NAADAC Approved Academic Education Providers are assured that the continuing education credits (CEUs) provided for each course will be accepted toward national credentialing by the NCC, as well as many of the individual state licensing/certification bodies.

About Addiction Counselor Certification

What is the Certified Addiction Counselor credential? 

The CAC is the professional credential that is the standard for individuals working with addicts and alcoholics in hospitals, treatment centers and other agencies.  It is

awarded through a peer review process and is administered by independent agencies in all fifty states of the US.  The CAC is based on experience and the ability to demonstrate the most important skills of addiction counseling.  No specific college degree is required.

How does it benefit staff at addiction recovery organizations and ministries?

B. Benefits for the Recovery Worker – Pursuing of the CAC can be a rewarding  professional development experience.  Besides displaying competence in the Twelve Core Functions of the Substance Abuse Counselor, credentialing bodies also require a certain number of hours in formal education in the substance abuse and counseling fields.  City Vision University courses can be used toward picking up these required educational hours.   Additionally, the process requires a specified number of supervised hours, where the individual works with an experienced addiction counselor.

C. Benefits for recovery organizations and ministries –The key to an effective program is staffing it with qualified people.  Urban ministries tend to hire people with biblical and theological training.  A growing number have also recognized the importance of having staff members who are competent in the area of substance abuse counseling. Hiring individuals who possess the CAC means bringing in people with a combination of experience and demonstrated competence in the field of addiction counseling.  It can also help when seeking financial support from private foundations and governmental funding sources.  Other agencies and ministries that recognize the value of the CAC are also more likely to refer clients to the program.  Having current staff members become involved in the pursuit of the CAC is a great way to equip them by obtaining useful skills and a professional approach to their work.

D. The Twelve Core Functions – Though administered by different bodies in the various states, there is movement in the area of reciprocity, allowing the credential granted by one state to be transferred to another if the counselor moves.  This has been accomplished through the near universal acceptance of the “Twelve Core Functions” in which the counselor seeking the CAC must be able to demonstrate competence. For a full description of the Twelve Core Functions, click here.

These skills are defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in a publication often known as TAP 21. This is a Technical Assistance Publication entitled Addiction Counseling Competencies: The Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes of Professional Practice.

After you receive a BS in Addiction Counseling from City Vision University, you will still need to follow the steps necessary to get licensed by your state’s accreditation board. Most states require at least 180 hours of training (the equivalent of 2 courses) to satisfy the instructional requirement for licensure; typically you will simply need to supply a transcript of completed coursework, and, at most, the syllabi of the courses which you took.

City Vision cannot guarantee that our program will meet the licensing standards of all states.  Please check with the requirements of your state. Send an email to if you need assistance with this process.

Note that if you have already completed an initial course of study in addiction counseling, any of the courses listed below should count as 45 CEUs (continuing education credits), since each provides 3 academic credits. Most states require 40 CEUs every two years, though some require the ethics course in person.

TAP21 outlines Eight Areas of Competency and Twelve Core Functions for the addiction counselor, which are briefly defined here.

If you have any questions about these matters, please feel free to contact us at (816) 708-0795 or by email at