Top 5 Addiction Psychology Bachelor's Online

A guide to the best addiction psychology bachelor's programs in 2024.

As the world continues to face mounting challenges related to substance abuse, the need for skilled and qualified addiction specialists has never been greater. If you're interested in pursuing a career in this rewarding field, earning a bachelor's degree in addiction psychology is an excellent place to start.

This guide will highlight the best online bachelor's degrees in addiction psychology and substance abuse counseling. We'll also examine the addiction psychology curriculum, potential jobs and salaries for graduates of this program, advanced degree options, and answer FAQs from prospective students.

What makes our rankings valuable?

Most degree rankings rely heavily on National Center for Education Statistics data, measuring school-wide rates for student retention, graduation, acceptance, etc. The NCES has good data, and we use it too; however, we go further to analyze the current and future demand for the skills and credentials gained. We also list actual tuition costs and delve deep into value and flexibility to consider dual-degree, accelerated, and distance learning options.

The Best Addiction Psychology Bachelor Degrees Online
Rank School Program
1 Arizona State University B.S. in Counseling and Applied Psychological Sciences: Substance Abuse & Addictions
2 City Vision University Online Bachelor's Degree in Addiction Counseling
3 The American Women’s College B.A. in Psychology: Foundations of Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counseling
4 Walden University Online B.S. in Psychology + Addiction Concentration
5 Indiana Wesleyan University Online Bachelor of Science in Addictions Counseling

Addiction Psychology Bachelor's Degree Curriculum

In addition to general education courses, the curriculum for a bachelor's in addiction psychology includes courses in psychology, biology, and specialized training in substance abuse and addiction, including:

Abnormal Psychology

Abnormal psychology delves into various types of medical and mental disorders, including addiction. You'll learn about the causes, symptoms, and treatments for addiction, as well as its impact on people with a substance use disorder and their families.

Addiction Neurobiology

This knowledge framework focuses on the biology of addiction, exploring the brain pathways affected by substance abuse. Topics include the impact of drugs and alcohol on neurotransmitters, as well as the long-term biological changes caused by addiction.

Addiction Counseling Techniques

This course provides an overview of the various therapeutic approaches used to treat addiction. You'll learn about evidence-based treatments like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, and emerging mindfulness therapies.

Substance Abuse Prevention & Education

This part of your degree will focus on the prevention and education aspect of addiction psychology, including popular programs and strategies to prevent substance abuse and how to use education to promote healthy behaviors.

Social and Cultural Factors in Addiction

This course will examine the impact of social and cultural factors on substance abuse, including poverty, trauma, discrimination, and access to affordable healthcare. Lesson topics include the role of social determinants of health in the development of addiction and the importance of cultural sensitivity in treatment.

The Best Online Bachelor's in Addiction Psychology

We selected the top five online addiction psychology bachelor degrees based on numerous factors, including curriculum relevance, university reputation, program features, flexibility, and overall value.

These are our picks for 2024's best addiction psychology bachelor’s you can take online:

1. Arizona State University

ASU’s Online Bachelor of Science in Counseling and Applied Psychological Sciences with a Concentration in Substance Abuse and Addictions offers a direct learning path for those passionate about helping individuals in their community overcome addiction. Provided on-campus or fully online, this program provides expertise in diagnosing, assessing, and treating substance use and addiction. Students gain a broad skill set, including counseling microskills, group dynamics, applying counseling theory to practice, cultural sensitivity, and scientific research methods, making them well-suited for numerous behavioral health jobs or graduate education. ASU was also named a Top 10 Online College by U.S. News & World Report.

  • Format: Online or On-Campus (Arizona)
  • Tuition Cost: $49,716 (4 years @ $12,429 per year)
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

2. City Vision University

City Vision University's Online Bachelor's in Addiction Counseling prepares students to become certified addiction counselors, focusing on serving in addiction treatment centers, rescue missions, and urban ministries. In alignment with NAADAC Addiction Counseling standards, this program includes courses tailored for Certified Addiction Counselor and Peer Support Specialist Certification. City Vision offers a flexible admissions process, a generous transfer policy of up to 75% of degree credits, and affordable tuition with flexible payment plans.

  • Format: Online
  • Tuition Cost: $32,000 ($8,000 per year x 4 years)
  • Accreditation: Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC)

3. The American Women’s College

The American Women’s College of Bay Path University offers an Online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Major in Substance Abuse Counseling that provides the skills and knowledge to support those battling addiction. This self-paced online program features specialized courses in substance abuse counseling with the option to earn graduate credits toward an M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. TAWC’s online bachelor’s in addiction psychology is designed to be completed in 3.5 years rather than four, and students can transfer up to 90 credits, making it a timely and cost-effective option for aspiring addiction counselors.

  • Format: Online
  • Tuition Cost: $49,200 (120 credits @ $410 per credit)
  • Accreditation: New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)

4. Walden University

Walden’s Online B.S. in Psychology with a Concentration in Addiction Studies offers an in-depth exploration of the psychology of addiction. The curriculum aligns with the IC&RC Alcohol and Drug Counselor Exam and covers the causes and impacts of addiction, ethical considerations, and case management skills across various treatment settings. We also liked this program for its interactive skill-building simulation technology, one-on-one coaching, and flexible six-week course structure, making it a practical choice for those balancing education with other commitments. Walden also boasts a variety of scholarship and cost savings programs for online students.

  • Format: Online
  • Tuition Cost: $61,540 (181 credits @ $340 per credit)
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

5. Indiana Wesleyan University

IWU's Online B.S. in Addictions Counseling is a Christian faith-based, degree completion program that prepares students for a meaningful career helping individuals and families affected by addiction. This synchronous (real-time) instructor-led degree equips students to work in various settings like the court system, domestic violence shelters, and inpatient facilities. Its well-curated curriculum focuses on effective communication, addiction counseling, the pharmacological impact of drugs, and integrating faith into the counseling process. The program offers a clear pathway to graduate education with master's degrees in clinical addictions and mental health counseling.

  • Format: Online or Hybrid (Kokomo, Indiana)
  • Tuition Cost: $19,104 (48 credits @ $398 per credit)
  • Accreditation: Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Jobs You Can Get with a Bachelor's in Addiction Psychology

Students who complete an addiction psychology bachelor's program can pursue various roles in preventing and treating substance abuse.

Here are some popular jobs you can get with a bachelor's degree in addiction psychology:

Substance Abuse Counselor

Substance abuse counselors provide counseling and support to people struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. They help clients identify triggers and develop coping skills to lead a more fulfilling life.
  • Salary: $59,620

Case Manager

A case manager works with clients to coordinate care and services related to addiction and mental health treatment, helping them navigate the healthcare system, access community resources, and monitor their progress.
  • Salary: $93,561

Behavioral Health Technician

Behavioral health technicians provide care to individuals receiving treatment for developmental, neurodegenerative, and mental health disorders. BHTs monitor clients' behavior and assist in implementing treatment plans for addiction recovery.
  • Salary: $38,500

Outreach Coordinator

An outreach coordinator develops and implements programs to raise awareness of addiction and mental health issues. They often work with community organizations, schools, and healthcare providers to educate people about the risks of addiction and the value of treatment.
  • Salary: $45,032

Research Assistant

An addiction psychology research assistant supports research projects related to substance abuse and mental health. RAs collect data, conduct interviews, and assist in analyzing results.
  • Salary: $70,500

Public Health Educator

Public health educators develop and implement programs to promote healthy behaviors and prevent addiction and other health problems. These professionals often work in schools, community organizations, or government agencies.
  • Salary: $56,642

Salary data courtesy of

Advanced Degrees in Addiction Psychology

After earning your Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) or Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in addiction psychology, you can pursue a variety of master's and doctorate programs in this field.

Sought-after graduate degrees in addiction and substance abuse include:

Master of Science (M.S.) in Addiction Counseling

An M.S. in addiction counseling will prepare you for a career as a licensed addiction counselor.

Master's in Social Work

Earning your MSW will prepare you to become a licensed social worker.

Doctoral Programs

A Ph.D. or Psy.D. with a specialization in addiction and substance abuse can prepare you for roles in advanced research as well as clinical practice in the field of addiction psychology.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Addiction Psychology?

Addiction psychology is a field of study that explores the psychological and biological factors that cause addiction, the effects of addiction on people and society, and the best methods for treatment.

What are the admission requirements for a bachelor's in addiction psychology?

To be eligible for an addiction psychology bachelor's degree, you need to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. Some programs also require a minimum GPA or certain scores on the ACT or SAT exam.

How long does completing a bachelor's degree in addiction psychology take?

A bachelor's degree in addiction psychology typically takes four years to complete as a full-time student. Some schools offer an accelerated track and up to 90 transfer credits or more for previous education and work experience, so inquire with an admissions advisor before applying.

Which soft skills will help me succeed in an addiction psychology program?

To get the most out of your addiction psychology program, you'll need strong soft skills in critical thinking, empathy, active listening, time management, and effective communication.

What's the difference between a traditional degree and an online program in addiction psychology?

Online programs offer the flexibility to study at your own pace and can typically be completed anywhere with a high-speed Internet connection. Traditional degrees require you to attend classes on campus and follow a set schedule. Both options provide the same quality education, but online programs are more cost-effective and convenient for working professionals. Campus-based programs excel in social interaction and networking opportunities and tend to be a better fit for regimented learners.


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