Program director
Randall Walker

The Drug and Alcohol Counseling Program is offered online by the School of Behavioral Health through the Department of Counseling and Family Sciences. Students enrolled in the M.S. in marital and family therapy, M.S. in counseling, or the combination of these two programs within the Department of Counseling and Family Sciences are able to graduate with this certificate by taking one advanced course and adding four units of practicum to their program of study.

Program learning outcomes

By the end of this program, the graduate should be able to:

  1. Effectively counsel individuals with substance-use disorders and their families.
  2. Once licensed, apply for national certification through selected professional organizations.
  3. Integrate the experience of counseling substance-using and substance-addicted populations with primary professional identity.

Certificate examinations

Coursework is developed to assist students in meeting the requirements for certifications offered through the Association for Addiction Professionals (formerly the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors) and the American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders (AAHCPAD), as well as others. Students become eligible for these master's level or higher certifications after completing professional licensure and accruing additional experience. Students should refer to each specific organization's credentialing requirements. 


Students complete four quarters of fieldwork at an approved site, working with individuals with substance-use disorders and their families. Successful completion of fieldwork requires accruing 200 hours of face-to-face supervised, clinical experience (telehealth service delivery is acceptable). Fieldwork provides excellent opportunities for gaining experience in working with a substance-use-disorder population. Students will be evaluated quarterly by field placement supervisors and program faculty members. Students may complete fieldwork in placement sites with which the Department of Counseling and Family Sciences has established relationships; or, with program director approval, students may work in other settings which do not directly serve individuals with substance use disorders, but where it is determined addiction and substance use disorders are a significant focus of clinical attention.

Students participate in online practicum classes, which meet bi-weekly with program faculty. Practicum classes are synchronous and scheduled at a time convenient to most individuals within the continental United States.

The certificate program is open to persons enrolled in a behavioral science master’s degree program or those who hold a master’s degree or higher in a behavioral science discipline. Qualified individuals who have interests in substance use disorder treatment are encouraged to apply. 

Applicants must meet Loma Linda University and the School of Behavioral Health admission requirements outlined in this CATALOG and give evidence of academic ability, professional comportment, and mature judgment. Applicants are screened for appropriateness to complete the certificate program and for their ability to work with substance using individuals and their families. 

Additional admission requirements include:

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university.
  • A University application/reapplication to this program (including students currently enrolled in another program at Loma Linda University) and meeting all requirements for application prior to admission into the certificate program. 
  • As part of the application essay, describe how the applicant will integrate the drug and alcohol counseling certificate into their work as a behavioral health professional, and the contributions the applicant anticipates making to the substance use disorder treatment field as well as their profession. 
  • An interview via Zoom, with the program director.

Pre-entrance requirements:

  • Health clearance 
COUN/MFAM 638Substance Use Disorders, Relationships, and Recovery 13
MFAM 645Advanced Treatment Strategies – Substance Use Disorders3
MFAM 654Practicum in Drug and Alcohol Counseling 24
RELR 540Wholeness and Health3
Total Units13

Online, asynchronous course


Multiple registrations required to fulfill minimum four unit requirement. Practicums are synchronous online courses.

Minimum required grade point average

Students must maintain a minimum grade point average of B (3.0) in all courses taken for the certificate. 

Normal time to complete the program

Four (4) academic quarters — based on part-time enrollment