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:
- Demonstrate knowledge of the history of the human services professions and the evolution of its various delivery systems, and social & community agencies*.
- Demonstrate knowledge of Alcoholic’s Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous, including their philosophies and 12 step programs*
- Demonstrate knowledge of the basic concepts, theories and strategies used in psychology & human services delivery systems.*
- Demonstrate knowledge of psychoactive substances and their effects on the user*
- Demonstrate knowledge of the issues related to the needs and problems of different types of clients, particularly those with substance abuse problems.*
- Demonstrate knowledge of the issues related to professionalism and ethical standards of the human services professions, medical & legal ethics, and the ability to follow ethical guidelines.*
- Demonstrate knowledge of how communities, families and other individuals are affected by substance abuse problems.*
- Apply the skills, techniques, strategies, and abilities needed for assessing, interviewing, treatment planning, and therapeutic communication and relationships with clients.*
- Apply the skills and abilities needed to be objective, understanding, and empathetic toward people of diverse backgrounds and ability levels.*
- Apply the skills, techniques, strategies, and abilities needed for working with groups.*
- Demonstrate the ability to be productive and effective in a human services delivery system and an understanding of their role, abilities, and limitations as an entry-level human services worker through successfully completing an internship.*
- Utilize critical thinking skills.
Returning students who completed certain courses more than 5 years prior to entering this program may 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 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