School of Health Professions 2018 - 2019 Catalog

Master of Science in Addiction Counseling (MSAC)

The program is seeking accreditation by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP).

1001 North Fairfax Street, Suite 510
Alexandria, VA, 22314

The Addiction Counseling Profession

Addiction counselors provide treatment and coordinate services for people with a range of substance use disorders, addictions, co-occurring disorders and other behavioral health problems. These professionals conduct a range of activities, including: appraisal, diagnosis, treatment planning, counseling, referral and coordination with other health care providers. Addiction counselors provide individual, group, and family counseling and also deliver prevention programming. They help clients find ways to address their addiction with family and friends and improve their social relationships. Furthermore, they help clients rebuild professional relationships and, if necessary, reestablish their career.

Program Description

This Addiction Counselor education curriculum is designed to involve the learner as an active participant in the essential knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary for competent practice in the field. The program conforms to the stated requirements for the graduate education of addiction counseling professionals as set forth by accrediting and certification bodies. It is the intent of the program to graduate students who are:

  • Ready to acknowledge the importance of ensuring dignity, independence, and wellness for persons with substance use and/or behavioral disorders;

  • Dedicated to adhering to the key values, standards, and codes of ethics as set forth by state and national licensing and certifying bodies;

  • Engaged in reflective, creative problem-solving;

  • Sensitive to the collaborative therapeutic relationship;

  • Involved in leadership roles to develop and enhance service delivery systems;

  • Able to act as a responsible advocate for affected clients and their families.

Graduates of the program can seek employment in addiction, behavioral health or mental health centers, state agencies, hospitals, healthcare facilities, non-profit organizations, insurance companies, health management organizations, educational institutions, prisons, probation and corrections agencies, and research organizations. The program actively recruits students from diverse populations and has a minority rate of approximately 40%. Since the inception of the Department of Clinical Counseling and Mental Health over 87% of students who enter the program finish with their degree or certification requirements.

The Master of Science in Addiction Counseling (MSAC) degree program is a distance education, 60 credit hour graduate program, designed to provide a comprehensive exposure to the field of Addiction Counseling.

The MSAC program was designed specifically for people who cannot attend traditional types of graduate programs. The program is ideal for: people who are currently employed; who live in rural or isolated areas; have family or personal responsibilities that prevent them from taking on-campus study; or who simply cannot take extended time off to attend school. TTUHSC uses a variety of methods and technologies to maximize the students’ educational experience, including web and internet based technologies, teleconferencing, web conferencing, hard copy, videotape/audiotape, and on-site practicum and internship experiences. These and other strategies are employed to ensure that all students, regardless of geographic location, are able to participate to the maximum degree possible in all aspects of their program. Students are not required to come to the TTUHSC campus.

Clinical Education

Clinical education is an integral aspect of the program. The MSAC program complies requirements for practicum and clinical internships as set forth by relevant accrediting and certifying organizations. In order to meet these requirements, Addiction Counseling students will be required to undertake two forms of clinical education during their program. First, all students will participate in a 100 hour supervised addiction counseling practicum, which fosters personal growth, provides active learning experiences, enhances student insights into individual, group, and organizational behavior, and introduces students to counseling approaches and the issues that affect service delivery. Delivered on a distance basis, these experiences will combine applied instruction by faculty with supervised practicum experiences in off campus settings, either at the student’s place of employment (when appropriate) or in designated clinical settings.

Second, all students are required to undertake a 600 hour supervised internship in an addiction focused clinical setting. Students undertaking supervised employment in Addiction Counseling settings may, with Program approval, utilize these locales for their internship experiences. Students who are not employed shall be assisted in locating placements in appropriate, supervised clinical settings.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Master of Science in Addiction Counseling program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center forwards the mission of the University by providing a practitioner training program focused on the unique needs of diverse communities, especially in rural settings. We are committed to preparing entry-level addiction counselors to work competently and ethically through the mastery of evidence-based counseling practices. Our focus centers on understanding the unique needs of persons with substance use and behavioral health disorders across their lifespans in the community, workplace, personal relationships and activities.

Program Goals

The goal of the program is to prepare counselors with the counseling knowledge, attitudes, and skills to assist clients with substance use disorders, behavioral health issues, and/or addictions to use their own resources and opportunities to meet their developmental, educational and interpersonal needs. To accomplish this goal, the program provides educational and practical experiences that allow students to meet the following knowledge and outcome expectations:

The objectives of our program are linked to our mission statement. They are to provide:

  • Educational experiences that facilitate the development of the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to practice as qualified addiction counselors with a diverse population in a wide variety of contexts.

  • Learning opportunities to support the ability to implement culturally responsive and ethically sound counseling practices throughout their careers, and to advocate for individuals with addiction concerns and the profession.

  • Clinical training experiences focused on translating acquired knowledge, attitudes and skills to evidence-based practice in a wide range of real-world opportunities.

The MSAC program strives to accomplish our mission, goals and objectives by:

  • Recruiting, educating and graduating a diverse population of students who are prepared to provide addiction counseling services in a variety of employment settings.

  • Providing a rigorous academic environment that provides a solid foundation to prepare entry level addiction counselors who meet national certification standards.

  • Working closely with the public and private counseling communities to ensure well-trained graduates who are considered valued employees.

  • Developing a faculty that is valued by our students and the counseling community for our teaching, research, and service.

  • Achieving the highest quality program possible within the constraints of available financial, human, technological, and time resources.

Developing commitment within students to empower individuals with substance use and/or behavioral disorders to identify and maximize their resources to meet their health-related, developmental, vocational, and educational goals.

Certification & Licensure

Upon completion of the MSAC program, students will possess the competencies and experiences necessary to take the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE). Successful graduates can be credentialed as a National Certified Counselor (NCC) and apply for licensure as a professional counselor (LPC) in most states.

Admission to the Program

The MSAC Program has a rolling admission policy, however, students applying for the Fall semester must submit an application by June 1 and those applying for Spring semester must submit an application by November 1.

Individuals applying to the program should already hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, preferably in a related area such as psychology, social work, counseling, special education, sociology, nursing, and related disciplines, however all disciplines are considered. To be considered for admission, an overall grade point average GPA of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale for all college credit is required. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Millers Analogies Test (M.A.T.) scores are NOT required for entry into the MSAC program. Prior work or volunteer experience in human service settings is considered a valuable attribute for applicants, but is not mandatory. Students may transfer up to 9 credit hours, if applicable, with program approval. Persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Application Process

Students will submit a completed application form, transcripts, a letter from the applicant outlining their rationale for applying to the program, 2 letters of reference, and a resume. Qualified candidates will be contacted for an interview.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to assure that all supporting documentation is received by the Admissions Department. Application materials and detailed information on application procedures and Admission criteria can be accessed via the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, School of Health Professions web site at Applications for non-degree seeking students wishing to participate in selected MSAC courses are accepted up to three weeks prior to the start of the semester.

MSAC Curriculum

Credit Hours

HPAC 5301      Introduction to Counseling and Ethical Development


HPAC 5302      Counseling Theories


HPAC 5303      Human Growth and Development


HPAC 5304      Career Counseling


HPAC 5305      Psychopathology and Diagnosis


HPAC 5306      Treatment Planning and Case Management


HPAC 5307      Multicultural Counseling


HPAC 5308      Research and Statistics


HPAC 5309      Group Counseling


HPAC 5311      Addictions


HPAC 5312      Assessment


HPAC 5313      Micro Counseling                                                                   


Total Hours = 36        

Credit Hours

HPAC 5330      Foundations of Addiction Counseling and Ethical Development


HPAC 5331      Advanced Addiction Counseling


HPAC 5332      Neurobiology of Addiction


HPAC 5333      Professional Development in Addiction Counseling


Total Hours = 12             

Credit Hours

HPAC 5314      Practicum  


HPAC 6001     Internship                                                                  


Total Hours = 6-12

Elective credits are optional and not required for graduation.

Credit Hours

HPAC 5111      Independent Study  


HPAC 5310      Special Topics in Addiction Counseling


  • HPAC 5301 Introduction to Counseling and Ethical Development (3:3:0,O)

    This course introduces students to the profession of counseling, including the history of the counseling profession, professional accreditation and licensure requirements, the role of professional organizations in counseling, consultation with counselors and related professionals, counselor supervision, and self-care strategies. Course materials and learning activities foster the development of critical thinking skills in the areas of professional ethics and ethical decision making, multicultural and social justice awareness and competencies, and professional advocacy. This course also focuses on the laws and regulations governing the practice of counseling and the American Counseling Association (ACA) professional code of ethics.

  • HPAC 5302 Counseling Theories (3:3:0,O)

    Introduction to the principles of behavior, personality, and human development. Exploration of individual, group, and family counseling theories and practices as they apply to persons with disabilities.

  • HPAC 5303 Human Growth and Development (3:3:0,O)

    The purpose of this class is to develop an understanding of human growth and development honoring both normative and non-normative experiences. Students will use this knowledge to develop the skills and attitudes necessary to provide ethical counseling services to diverse individuals across the lifespan.

  • HPAC 5304 Career Counseling (3:3:0,O)

    The theories, roles and techniques in the development of employment of persons with disabilities are explored in depth. From a career perspective, topic areas include job development, placement, work-site modifications, assistive technology, and work place supports.

  • HPAC 5305 Psychopathology and Diagnosis (3:3:0,O)

    The purpose of this class is the exploration of the range of personality and behavioral disorders as described in the DSM-V. Focusing on process, students will learn the descriptive criteria, etiology, assessment, diagnosis, identification of diversity issues, identification of common psychotropic treatments of these disorders, and develop a strong understanding of the major diagnostic categories.

  • HPAC 5306 Treatment Planning and Case Management (3:3:0,O)

    Review of the case management process, including case findings, service co-ordination and client advocacy. Identification and development of treatment planning strategies and caseload management.

  • HPAC 5307 Multicultural Counseling (3:3:0,O)

    This course focuses on the theories underlying multicultural counseling, identity development and social justice, and their application to practice. Topics addressed include race, ethnicity, gender, disability, and socioeconomic issues; racial and cultural identity formation; and oppression, privilege, social justice, and advocacy. Course materials and learning activities provide opportunities for students to apply their knowledge of multicultural and diversity theories and issues to examine their own development as counselors to specific client populations and to their communities.

  • HPAC 5308 Research and Statistics (3:3:0,O)

    This course provides the student with an exploration of current trends in research in counseling and related fields; basic research design, methodologies, analysis, and interpretation; a discussion of the applications of research methodologies, findings, and interpretations in guiding and evaluating counseling practice (e.g.-choosing interventions, planning assessments, evaluating results, etc.); and an introduction to research statistics.

  • HPAC 5309 Group Counseling (3:3:0,O)

    This course is designed to prepare counselors to become knowledgeable and skillful in using theoretical constructs of group counseling including individuals with disabilities. Attention is given to theories of counseling, elements of leadership in group counseling, healthy and dysfunctional behaviors, culturally diverse perspectives, and legal and ethical issues. Students must have passed HPCR/HPMC/HPAC/HPRC 5302 or equivalent before enrolling.

  • HPAC 5310 Special Topics in Addiction Counseling (3:3:0,O)

    Specialized seminars or courses in specific areas of addiction counseling as identified by faculty, students or the community.

  • HPAC 5311 Addictions (3:3:0,O)

    A thorough review of addictions including models of addiction, assessment, treatment, and interactions between addiction and rehabilitation services. Common topics include specific issues of prevalence, culture, and political interactions.

  • HPAC 5312 Assessment (3:3:0,O)

    This course focuses on both the tasks of rehabilitation and mental health assessment. Common topics include a comprehensive study of commonly used vocational assessment tools as well as the DSM-V.

  • HPAC 5313 Micro Counseling (3:3:0,O)

    Exploration, development, and practice of micro-skills, the essential building blocks of counseling. Training allows for observed development and peer practice in a laboratory setting. Students must have passed HPRC/HPCR/HPMH/HPAC 5302 or equivalent before enrolling.

  • HPAC 5314 Practicum (3:3:7,H)

    Supervised counseling practicum fostering professional growth, knowledge skills development, and awareness into the counseling process and issues that affect service delivery. Includes both in-class and on-site experiences in settings that facilitate the development of basic counseling and practice skills. This course may be repeated if the 100 hour requirement is not met. Completion of this course is a prerequisite for the internship phase of the program. Students must have passed HPRC 5311/HPCR/HPMH/HPAC 5313 before enrolling.

  • HPAC 5330 Foundations of Addiction Counseling and Ethical Development (3:3:0,O)

    Introduction to the history and philosophy of addiction counseling, and the legislative and policy background underpinning the modern delivery of counseling services. This course will provide an exploration of the organizational structure of current addiction counseling services, and the legal and ethical standards that guide them. Discussion of societal issues, trends, and developments in addiction counseling, and their impact on treatment strategies and relevant issues pertaining to social justice and diversity will occur.

  • HPAC 5331 Advanced Addiction Counseling (3:3:0,O)

    This course provides an in-depth examination of the theories and models of addiction; sociocultural and multicultural factors that may increase an individual's risk of addiction or relapse; the impact of addiction on the individual and the family, and factors related to recovery, including wellness, resilience, and spirituality, an their impact on assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and outcomes. Provides an overview of prevention research and practice, and examines the counselor's role in designing and implementing prevention strategies in an interdisciplinary setting.

  • HPAC 5332 Neurobiology of Addiction (3:3:0,O)

    This course provides insight into the history of pharmacology as well as a detailed study of drug categories, etiology, understanding side effects, and an exploration of clinical applications. Topics will include contemporary healthcare issues related to research on the neurobiology of addiction, co-occurring disorders, neuroscience, and their impact on practice.

  • HPAC 5333 Professional Development in Addiction Counseling (3:3:0,O)

    This course serves as the capstone experience for the addiction counseling student. Students are expected to demonstrate both theoretical and skill competence prior to graduation. This course reviews and assesses the theoretical and applied skills, as well as attitudes of the addiction counselor trainee. Topics focus on the work the student has completed throughout the program. This course should be taken concurrently with HPRC 5312/HPCR/HPMH/HPAC 5314.

  • HPAC 6000 Internship Completion (1-6:1-6:1-40,F)

    A variable credit course used for completion of core required internship hours after HPRC 5313-15/HPCR/HPMH/HPAC 5315-17 have been completed.

  • HPAC 6001 Internship (3-9:0:1-40,F)

    An immersion experience of supervised practice within a counseling services setting. Students will serve as a counseling professional under the supervision of a fully qualified practitioner. Mandatory group supervision by faculty in an online setting. Requires a total of 600 hours of supervised clinical practice throughout the 9 required credit hours. Student will work with their advisor to determine the appropriate number of credit hours for which to register each semester. Students must have passed the Practicum course for their specialty before enrolling. Students may enroll in course multiple times.