Be The Difference, Save A Life: Kutztown University to Launch Graduate Concentration in Addiction Counseling

Students working at desk

KUTZTOWN, Pa. – Kutztown University is ready to tackle one of the most severe epidemics in the country. KU’s new addiction counseling track of its Master of Arts in counseling graduate program is one of the first in the region and will begin in the Fall 2020 semester. Apply today.

Pennsylvania has the third-highest overdose death-rate in the United States. Opioid overdose deaths have increased to more than 70,000 in 2017, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). This results in 44.3 deaths per 100,000 Pennsylvania citizens. Kutztown University’s latest addiction counseling track addresses the drug and alcohol epidemic that has been plaguing the commonwealth for the past decade.

Heroin and opioid overdose are the leading cause of accidental death in Pennsylvania, killing more individuals than those involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents (CDC). In addition to opioid use, excessive alcohol use contributes to more than 88,000 deaths each year in the United States, according to The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS, 2017).

Addiction counseling is KU’s fourth track within its graduate counseling program. The Department of Counselor Education offers a 60-semester hour Master of Arts in counseling with three concentrations: addiction, clinical mental health and marriage, couple and family. KU also offers a Master of Science in school counseling.

KU will host an open house for prospective students to learn more and meet KU's faculty at 5:30-8 p.m., Wednesday, March 18, in the Georgian Room in Old Main. NOTE: this event has been canceled.

The program is structured to meet the standards required by The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) for accreditation. Included in the program is an emphasis on developing knowledge and skills aligned with the standards of the Department of Drug & Alcohol Prevention in Pennsylvania in combination with the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) criteria.

Given the focus of this program, graduates may enter the profession prepared to work in a variety of settings such as community mental health agencies, hospitals, drug and alcohol treatment settings and colleges/universities. The future job outlook growth for addiction counseling shows continued growth. Between 2016-2026, an increase of 23% is forecast, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (2017). The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates a much-faster than average growth with nearly 60,000 new jobs for addiction counselors.

KU’s new addiction concentration consists of core counseling courses, specialty area courses and supervised field experience. Degree requirements for this program meet the educational requirements for Pennsylvania state licensure as a professional counselor (LPC). Graduates of the program are eligible to take the National Counselor Examination (NCE) examination, a state licensure prerequisite and a prerequisite to become a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC).

Completing the program in addiction counseling will meet the educational requirements for the Pennsylvania Certification Board to become a Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC). 

The unique design of all KU Counseling programs offers students flexibility in determining their own career path.

Full information on the concentration in addiction counseling, along with admission criteria, can be found on the program website. Contact the Department of Counselor Education and Student Affairs for questions at 610-683-4204 or