Graduate Certificate in Substance Use Counseling 

The Graduate Certificate in Substance Use Counseling is for those who seek to enhance their skills and knowledge in substance use counseling. People who struggle with drug or alcohol-related problems can face difficulties in finding help. For many, the severe shortage of counselors is a major barrier to recovery. The University of Georgia School of Social Work has made this Graduate Certificate available online to increase its reach and help address this increased demand. 

In its Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2022 edition, the U.S. Department of Labor noted that treatment demand continues to outpace treatment availability throughout the nation. Employment of substance use, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors is projected to grow 23% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services projects that, if trends continue, by the year 2030 Georgia will need an additional 1,430 addiction counselors to meet the demand. 

Appropriate credentials are the foundation for working in diverse professional settings where substance use services are provided. A thorough understanding of substance use and the latest evidence-based practices for its treatment are the hallmark competency of every qualified professional. The purpose of the Certificate in Substance Use Counseling is to train students to be competent in the delivery of quality care for those affected by substance use. In this program, students will be trained to 1) develop advanced evidence-based treatment competencies and 2) develop a comprehensive knowledge of the bio-psycho-social dynamics associated with substance use.

This flexible program is taught through asynchronous online instruction and is open to both degree and non-degree-seeking students.

Currently enrolled UGA students who choose to pursue this certificate should submit this supplemental form.

Certificate students who decide to apply to the Master of Social Work program may use 9 credit hours toward the MSW degree. A separate application to the MSW program is required.

Other online programs you may find interesting:  Master of Social Work OnlineGraduate Certificate in Gerontology, Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership, and Graduate Certificate in Public Health.


The School of Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), the sole accrediting body of schools of social work in the United States.

The University of Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).


Tuition & Fees

Tuition and fees are subject to change.

Use the Estimated Cost Calculator on the Bursar's Office website for current tuition and fees.

Online students pay the following fees: Connect UGA, Green, and Technology. Potential additional costs include textbooks, exam proctoring fees, and technology upgrades.

Financial Aid

Visit the Office of Student Financial Aid for information about financial assistance.

Corporate Assistance

Consult your employer about the availability of tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance programs.

Military Assistance

Active duty military, veterans, and military families should visit Veterans Educational Benefits to take full advantage of available financial assistance and educational benefits.

University System of Georgia Tuition Assistance Program (TAP)

The purpose of TAP is to foster the professional growth and development of eligible employees. For more information, see Tuition Assistance (refer to the Distance Learning section). 


Credit and Transfer

Total Hours Required to Earn Certificate:  12 (credit hours)

Maximum Hours Transferable into Program:  N/A

Admission Requirements

Students who are not currently enrolled at UGA should apply to the graduate school for the Graduate Certificate in Substance Use Counseling and are not required to take entrance exams and submit letters of recommendation. Currently enrolled UGA students who choose to pursue this certificate should submit this supplemental form. Once your application has been approved and you have been accepted, you will receive follow-up information on what to do next to start the program.

Application Checklist

  1. Application – Submit online to the Graduate School Admissions. Application fee: $75 Domestic/$100 International.
  2. Select Campus - Online
  3. Select Intended Program - CERG, Substance Use Counseling (School of Social Work)[CERT_2SUB_ON]
  4. Statement of purpose - Submit to the Graduate School online in your application.
  5. Transcripts – Submit unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended as part of the online application. Send official transcripts after you are offered admission.
  6. International Applicants - must also submit TOEFL or IELTS scores

Application Deadlines

Domestic Applicants

· Fall: July 1

· Spring: November 15

· Summer: May 1

International Applicants

· Fall: April 15

· Spring: October 15

· Summer: February 15


The Graduate Certificate in Substance Use Counseling is designed for enrolled UGA graduate students who have aspirations of working in substance use counseling. The program is supported by a faculty of scholars, practitioners and part-time faculty who are leaders in substance use counseling. 
The certificate program consists of a minimum of four courses of three semester hours each, drawn from courses within the MSW degree curriculum. The program of study and guidelines to apply for each program are listed below.
Course Title

SOWK 7120E

Introduction to Substance Use (3 credit hours)

SOWK 7220E

Approaches to Substance Use Treatment (3 credit hours)

SOWK 7240E

Assessment and Treatment of Trauma (3 credit hours)

SOWK 7140E  Introduction to Trauma and Trauma-Informed Care (3 credit hours)

And one comprehensive course in working with groups (3 hours) 

SOWK 7116E

Social Work with Groups (3 credit hours)



Contact Information

Email us using the request for information form or call (706) 418-2604

Technology Requirements

  • Computer with current operating system (Windows, Mac, or Linux). Additional peripherals such as webcam, headphones, and printer may be required.
  • High-speed internet access.