Top Online PhD in Addiction Counseling & Psychology Degrees

Are you thinking about earning your Ph.D. in Addiction Counseling and Psychology? Obtaining this coveted doctoral degree might be the key to enjoying a long, productive and rewarding career in psychology with patients who need your help.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports jobs are growing quickly in psychology and addiction counseling. All psychology professions will see a 14% increase in jobs by 2028, while employment for substance abuse, behavioral disorders, and mental health counselors will grow by an impressive 22% in the same timeframe. (

Demand for addiction counselors is being partially driven by states that want treatment and counseling services for drug offenders, instead of giving them long jail sentences. In the past several years, the criminal justice system in the United States has realized that drug addicts are much less likely to offend again if they get treatment and counseling for their problems. Some research also finds that addiction counseling programs are more cost-effective than keeping minor drug offenders in prison.

There also is a growing need for addiction counselors to work with US military veterans to give them the mental health or substance abuse counseling they desperately need after serving in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If you think a Ph.D. in Addiction Counseling and Psychology is for you, there are several outstanding online doctoral programs available. All of these programs can be complete 100% online. Below is information about the three best online Ph.D. programs in this specialization.

#1 Northcentral University

Northcentral University offers an online Ph.D. in Addiction Psychology that prepares mental health professionals to develop advanced expertise and knowledge in the areas of addictions, addictive behaviors, and substance abuse.

The Addictions specialization prepares mental health practitioners to develop knowledge and expertise in the area of substance abuse, addictions and addictive behaviors. Students will explore the dynamics of substance abuse and dependence including drugs, alcohol and marijuana, with an emphasis on assessment and treatment planning. Students will also examine research related to addictions and compulsive behaviors, as well as co-occurring disorders. (

Learning outcomes in this accredited, online Ph.D. program are:

  • Learn how to appraise principles and theories in psychology to inform many professional contexts.
  • Learn how to evaluate research methods and psychology data analysis.
  • Select psychological principles and research to apply to social, personal, and organizational matters.
  • Understand how to evaluate ethical principles of counseling and psychology in many professional contexts.
  • Design effective and clear communications for the public and other psychology professionals.

Required courses are:

  • Research Methods
  • Advanced Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis and Design
  • Clinical Survey of Substance Abuse and Dependence
  • Addiction Assessment and Treatment Planning
  • Addiction and Related Disorders
  • Co-Occurring Disorders
  • Family Systems Approaches to Addiction
  • Group Therapy
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#2 Regent University

Regent University offers an online Ph.D. in Counseling and Psychological Studies with an emphasis in Addictions Counseling. Students are prepared in this 100% online program for a career in mental health counseling, research, education, and psychological science. You will obtain the knowledge and skills you need to work with people who suffer from addictions. Also, students learn how to break new ground in psychological behavioral health and how to have a positive effect on this growing problem. (

With this online Ph.D. in addictions counseling, you will learn the following:

  • Develop faith-based, advanced intervention strategies for a variety of addictive behaviors.
  • Learn advanced techniques that are derived from the latest psychotherapeutic systems.
  • Obtain a strong foundation in applied field experience and research methods.

Required courses are:

  • Information Research and Resources
  • Qualitative Research Methodology
  • Addictive Behaviors
  • Statistics
  • Disaster Trauma and Psychological First Aid
  • Appraisal and Psychometrics
  • Advanced Counseling Skills and Techniques
  • Addictive Behaviors and Substance Abuse

#3 Cal Southern University

Cal Southern University offers an online Psy.D. degree with courses available in addiction counseling. This four-year, online doctoral degree in psychology is one of the most popular programs at the university. It is an applied, clinical focused degree that meets all educational requirements to practice as a clinical psychologist in California. (

This doctoral program culminates in a doctoral project that focuses on a topic chosen by the student. This is not a dissertation; rather, it is a challenging and rigorous project that can be community-based, a critical study of literature in addiction counseling, or a clinical analysis and application.

Required courses are:

  • Advanced Theories of Personality
  • Ethical and Professional Issues
  • Advanced Psychopathology
  • Cognition, Emotion, and Motivation
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Physiological Psychology
  • Research Methods in Psychology
  • Advanced Physiology and Pharmacology of Addiction
  • Advanced Ethical and Professional Issues in Addiction Counseling
  • Advanced Personal and Professional Wellness for the Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Advanced Case Management: Assessment, Treatment Planning, Relapse Prevention, and Aftercare
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If you have a passion for addiction counseling and psychology, obtaining this Ph.D. online could be your path to a challenging and rewarding career in this growing field of psychology.

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