Jul 13, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog

Substance Abuse Intervention Specialist, A.A.S.

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Major Code: 396

The Substance Abuse Intervention Specialist AAS prepares students to work with people and families experiencing or affected by substance abuse problems and other co-occurring behavioral or mental health issues. Students will learn about working with clients, and acquire skills needed to apply the theories used in psychology, social work, and substance use disorders to help individuals and families recover from substance abuse & addiction and prevent relapse.  A 2.0 GPA is required for acceptance into this program.

This degree allows students to complete a degree quickly to prepare to work in the field of substance abuse, social work, or mental health as soon as possible.

In addition to General Education Outcomes, students successfully completing and receiving an AAS degree in Substance Abuse Intervention Specialist should be able to:

  • Apply the philosophies of  Alcoholic’s Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous
  • Explain history, concepts, theories and strategies used in psychology & human services delivery systems.
  • Explain similarities and differences among psychoactive substances and their effects on the user
  • Explain issues related to the needs of different types of clients with substance use disorders, including their impact on families and communities
  • Demonstrate professionalism and apply medical, legal, and discipline-based ethics in clinical settings by successfully completing an internship. 
  • Apply the skills, techniques, strategies, and abilities needed for assessing, treatment planning, and therapeutic communication with clients in individual or group settings
  • Apply the skills and abilities needed to be objective, understanding, and empathetic toward individuals from diverse backgrounds and ability levels.

Returning students who completed certain courses (HS 100, HS 101, HS 147, HS 150, HS 200, HS 210, BIO 114, AHS 103, AHS 110, HPE 110) more than 5 years prior to entering this program will be asked to repeat the course(s) to ensure that their knowledge & skills are current in the field.

Graduates of this program can expect to be employed in substance abuse treatment facilities or other human services agencies in positions which do not require bachelor’s degrees as intervention specialists, prevention specialists, peer recovery support specialists, behavior specialists, case aides or caseworkers, or as mental health or crisis intervention technicians. To become a certified addictions counselor, social worker, or similar professional, students with the associate degree will need to continue their education by earning more advanced degrees at other colleges or universities.

This project is supported by a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant # T26HP39464­01­00, “Opioid Impacted Family Support Program”. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.”

The employment outlook for these jobs currently is above average but is dependent upon changing needs within the local region, other regions and the nation.

Salaries are moderately low compared to other fields. Pay depends on the location and type of agency and on the prospective employee’s level of education and work experience.

Important information: If the student has ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor for any reason, State or National credentialing boards, licensing board and agencies, which require criminal background checks on potential employees and students may deny employment or placement in certain settings, even if all academic requirements have been completed. A student who has been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor should contact the Program Director.

University Transfer Options:

  • Completion of this program offers students the option of transferring to the following university to complete a four-year degree:
    • West Liberty University, BS, Social Work
    • West Virginia University - BS, Social Work
    • West Virginia University - BA, Mental Health & Addiction Studies

Job Titles:  Prevention Specialist, Peer Support Specialist, Family Service Worker, Direct Services Worker, Mental Health Technician

Wage and Employment Trends:

  • $19,000 to $28,000 (Ziprecruiter, 2020)
  • 22% growth in the next four years (SAMHSA, 2019)

CIP Code: 51.1501

First Year

Second Year

Spring Semester (15-16 Credits)

Total Credits (61-62)

+Restricted math core should be chosen only from MATH 109 , MATH 108 , MATH 116   or MATH 210 .  Students who eventually plan to tranfer should take MATH 210 to maximize transferability into bachelor’s degree programs in social work or psychology.

#CRJ elective should be chosen from: CRJ 245  or CRJ 246  

**Before registering for the Internship/Clinical Experience III, students must apply to and be accepted by an approved social services agency.  There is also a class requirement of two hours every other week.

IMPORTANT GRADUATION INFORMATION:ORNT 090 is a graduation requirement.  See your advisor to determine if you have met this requirement.


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