University of Houston-Clear Lake will offer a Bachelor of Science in Addictions Counseling beginning spring 2017, offering a strong first step to licensure and employment in a growing career field.

Addictions counseling focuses on helping individuals and families impacted by substance abuse. UHCL’s degree program, the only one of its kind available from a Texas public university, will prepare graduates to become Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselors in Texas.

“Addiction is one of this state’s most serious challenges. Left untreated, it can cause profound and lasting negative consequences,” said College of Education Dean Mark D. Shermis. “Graduates of this program will have the skills and knowledge to work with addicted individuals to help them overcome their disease and lead better, more productive lives. We are very excited to launch this program next semester.”

UHCL Counseling Program Coordinator and Associate Professor of Counselor Education Delani Perera said the degree will also provide important career benefits to graduates.

“This undergraduate degree is also a good stepping stone for those who want to become Licensed Professional Counselors, which is master’s degree-level licensing in Texas,” she said. “This degree not only opens doors for licensing and employment, but also paves the path to continue onto a master’s in counseling and secure LPC, which will open more doors for employment.”

She noted that according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors are expected to grow by 22 percent from 2014-2024, pacing well above the national average.

Licensed counselors are sought for jobs in mental health centers, community health centers and prisons. Coursework in the program will cover counseling theories, group therapy, ethics, family dynamics, law, criminal justice and related topics.

The new degree in addictions counseling will be offered through the College of Education, which also offers a Master of Science in Counseling with specializations in school counselor certification, clinical mental health counseling and general applied techniques. UHCL is also an Approved Continuing Education Provider through the National Board for Certified Counselors.

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