California Addiction Counseling Schools & Licensure Information


Licensure & Certification

There are several bodies in California which offer certification for those who wish to be licensed as addiction counselors. These include the Addiction Counselor Certification Board of California, the Board for Certification of Addiction Specialists, and several others.


To be certified in the state of California, candidates must have 155 hours of classroom education on topics including:

  • Addiction counseling competencies
  • Ethics
  • Communicable diseases
  • How to provide services to special populations (elderly, LBGT groups, etc.)
  • How to prevent sexual harassment


In addition certified addiction counselors are required to complete roughly 160 documented hours of supervised training and real-world work experience.


To see a full list of the requirements for becoming an addiction counselor, and for a full list of certifying bodies, please visit the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs website:


California Schools Offering an Addiction Counseling Education

There are more than twenty approved addiction counseling schools in California. Here are just a few:


University of the Pacific

This nationally ranked university in Stockton, California offers a Substance Abuse Counselor Certificate program. Classes are taught online and in person, and cover all topics required by the state certification process. The program is notable for its 255 hours of supervised internship, which enables graduates to qualify for any certifying board in the state.

Some program courses Include:

  • Overview of Substance Abuse Certificate Program
  • Writing for Case Management
  • Drugs and Society
  • Addiction and Working with the Criminal Justice System
  • Assessment for Treatment Planning
  • Counseling Theory
  • Individual and Group Counseling

To learn more, visit


University of California, San Diego

This prestigious state university offers a Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling. The UCSD program is designed with the student in mind, and contains a 255-hour practicum as well as extensive coursework. 

The program includes courses on:

  • Psychopharmacology
  • Recovery
  • Treatment team coordination
  • Counseling
  • Community services
  • Group leadership

To learn more, visit

For a full list of approved schools, please visit the Approved Schools webpage maintained by the California Association of Alcoholism & Drug Abuse Counselors: