​​Chemical Dependency Counseling
About the Program

To become a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) in Minnesota, students must obtain a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, including 18-semester credits in alcohol and drug counselor education.  Additionally, students must complete an 880-hour alcohol and drug counselor practicum as part of their degree requirement.

At Ridgewater, you can:

Complete the 60-credit AA degree (first 2 years of a bachelor’s degree, includes the required 18-semester credits for licensure).


Complete the 30-credit Chemical Dependency Counselor certificate (includes the required
18 semester credits and the 880-hour practicum required for licensure). 

Please note, 12  of the 18 credits can be completed with online/blended courses, making it ideal for the working professional.

The 18-semester credits in alcohol and drug counselor education count toward both AA degree electives and the certificate requirement, which allows you to complete both with only 74 credits!

Ridgewater’s chemical dependency counseling curriculum has been developed in accordance with the standards of Minnesota Board of Behavioral Health and Therapy and the Minnesota Certification Board. The curriculum is designed to develop knowledge of the symptoms of various forms of addiction, understanding the chemically dependent person, and specific skills for prevention, intervention, assessment, and treatment of chemical dependency.

Since the chemical counselor must be extremely empathic to a variety of human relationships, the entire curriculum seeks to enhance the student's self-awareness and ability to interact with patients, social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists and related personnel.

Program Note: Individuals entering the Chemical Dependency Counseling field who are chemically dependent must have had a period of one-year sobriety before the pre-professional practicum and internship and pass a background check. See your advisor for further details.

Career/Occupational Info

Addictions counselors help people overcome alcohol, drug, gambling, and other dependencies. They help clients change compulsive habits and learn ways to cope with problems. Chemical dependency counselors help individuals, groups, and families learn to deal with emotional and social effects of addictions.

Major employers include:

  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Residential patient care centers
  • Local and state government agencies

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job openings are expected to increase 34.4% nationally between 2006 and 2016. Minnesota jobs growth is anticipated to be nearly as strong during that period, with growth expected to be 32.7%.

Source: MN Dept. of Employment and Economic Development

Ridgewater College is an equal opportunity employer and educator.