This UW-Madison non-credit Substance Use Disorders Counselor Certificate program is a state pre-approved, 100% online program. It fulfills the 360 specialized educational hours required for becoming a Substance Abuse Counselor (SAC) or Clinical Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC) in Wisconsin.
Impact Your Community
Wisconsin’s substance abuse crisis continues to impact scores of families and communities around the state. In the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) report on the state of mental health and substance abuse, 69% of those with substance use disorders did not receive treatment. That’s over 260,000 individuals statewide. DHS’s most recent annual report showed deaths by opioid overdose have doubled, and deaths by cocaine overdose have tripled in the last nine years.
Undeniably, these staggering statistics represent a major loss of life, opportunity, and economic potential in Wisconsin.
Every community in the state has an increasing need for Substance Abuse Counselors to help close the treatment gap. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects demand for substance abuse counselors will grow 22 percent through 2024—much faster than the average for all occupations. Professionals licensed in both mental health and substance abuse counseling are especially in high demand. These professionals can help reduce treatment silos for individuals with dual diagnoses.
Meets State Licensing Requirements
Successful completion of the program fulfills the 100-hour educational requirement for the Substance Abuse Counselor in Training (SAC-IT), set forth by the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS), as well as the 360-hour specialized educational requirement for Substance Abuse Counselor (SAC) Certification. This program does not take the place of any licensing examinations required by the State of Wisconsin. It does not provide the contact hours required for full licensure. You are responsible for understanding all the steps necessary to become fully licensed in Wisconsin.
In addition to meeting the specialized educational requirements to earn your SAC-IT, SAC, and C-SAC, this program also awards 360 hours of continuing education (36 CEUs) upon completion. These continuing education hours may help satisfy renewal requirements for other licenses you hold.
Furthermore, per Wisconsin administrative code MPSW 1.09, this program meets the Wisconsin DSPS education requirement for Substance Abuse Specialty authorization for CSW, ISW, and APSW licenses.
Expand Your Scope of Practice—On Your Schedule
Leveraging the competency-based learning approach of the UW Flexible Option, this certificate is designed to help you expand your scope of practice on your own terms.
We designed this self-paced program to fit into your life. You’ll complete this 100% online program in 24 weeks (or less). There are no live log-on times and no set course deadlines. Additionally, this is one of the most affordable substance use disorder counseling programs in the state.
Who Should Enroll?
This program is for mental health or human services professionals who want to add substance use disorders counseling to their skill set. It is not a substitute for baccalaureate-level basic counseling skills training. Therefore, you must have or be actively working on a bachelor’s degree in a human services field to register. Approved majors include social work, psychology, criminal justice, counseling, nursing, or a related field. Additionally, we also accept clerics and faith leaders who have bachelor’s-equivalent training (e.g. a four-year seminary program, bachelor’s of divinity, etc.). If you have extensive human services experience but lack a bachelor’s degree, call our advisers to discuss your options.
If you want to use this program outside of Wisconsin, you should first secure approval from that state before enrolling. We do not guarantee that this program meets the requirements of all 50 states.
About the UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies
The UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies supports the “Wisconsin Idea” by extending a University of Wisconsin education to nontraditional students and lifelong learners across the state and nation. Each year, more than 17,000 students attend one of the 500 noncredit classes, workshops, and conferences sponsored by Continuing Studies. These individuals seek professional development, personal enrichment, a career transition, or educational advising.
The UW Flexible Option Substance Use Disorders Counseling Certificate program was developed and is taught by faculty and staff at the UW-Madison Division of Continuing Studies. As a result, this online program is just as high-quality as in-person programming.
By completing this program, you will have demonstrated mastery of how to:
- Identify and analyze an appropriate client diagnosis, treatment, or referral using multiple resources
- Create a diagnostic assessment and recommendations that initiate the individual treatment plan for a client
- Identify potential holistic treatments or referrals that meet client needs
- Recognize and assess individual client needs when evaluating community resources
- Identify and apply evidence-based counseling practices
- Identify and conduct the best possible educational practices to provide your clients better knowledge of both their condition and their treatment options
- Properly document client care, from intake through discharge and beyond
- Articulate standards of ethical conduct and professional behavior befitting a practicing substance abuse counselor
Pastoral Care Domain (Optional)
In addition to the required state-directed curriculum as noted above, there is an optional ninth domain focused on competencies related to how faith leaders can address substance abuse issues in their spiritual communities. This ninth domain is not required to earn the certificate, and the competencies have no relationship to earning your SAC-IT/SAC/C-SAC. The competencies here are:
- Identify and define the various roles spiritual leaders and communities can play in prevention, intervention and treatment of substance use disorder issues.
- Identify and analyze partnerships with community resources to create holistic recovery.
Patricia Gutierrez, MS, LPC, CSAC, ICS, SAP/IDP-AT
Pat Gutierrez has a MS in clinical mental health counseling from Mount Mary University and holds credentials of licensed professional counselor, clinical substance abuse counselor, and independent clinical supervisor with the State of Wisconsin and a substance abuse professional with the federal Department of Transportation. Pat has 25 years of experience as a substance abuse counselor working with a variety of different clients ranging from children starting at the age of 12 to adults. She has worked in many different treatment modalities throughout the years building and developing programs. Pat has worked at IMPACT since 2007 and is Director of IMPACT’s Substance Use Disorder Services, providing oversight, supervision, and leadership to Milwaukee County’s Access Point and County IDP program.
This UW Flexible Option program is one of the most affordable programs of its kind approved by Wisconsin’s Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). As a competency-based program, there are no set log-on times or deadlines, and you will leverage your existing experience to potentially move through the program faster.
Tuition is a flat rate of $2,250 for a 24-week subscription period. Another key point is there are no registration fees, extra textbook costs, or hidden fees. While you have a 24-week window to complete the program, it is entirely self-paced and has no deadlines. This means you can study when it works for you.
|Self-paced program enrollment||24 weeks||$2,250|
Become an Agency Partner
If your clinic or mental health agency is interested in having several staff members participate in this program, reach out to Julia McCarroll (Program Manager- Health Programs) to discuss the benefits of partnering together. For instance, this may include a group discount on tuition or direct invoicing.
This certificate’s tuition, cancellation, and refund policies differ from the other UW Flexible Option credit-based programs. To learn more about the policies for this certificate, please visit the Non-Credit Program Policies page.
Ready to join the over 450 professionals in Wisconsin who have graduated from this program and are helping address the needs of their communities? This program starts every single month of the year, so it’s always available for you. Registration is due no later than the 24th of the month prior to when you plan to start (e.g. register by 11:59 PM on September 24th to start in October). Registration is available on a rolling basis for the three upcoming months.
Upcoming start dates:
- July 4th, 2023 (Register on or before June 24th, 2023)
- August 8th, 2023 (Register on or before July 24th, 2023)
- September 5th, 2023 (Register on or before August 24th, 2023)
Terms & Conditions
The following terms and conditions apply to registration in the Substance Use Disorders Certificate Program:
- Registration Requirements: That you hold, or are actively working on, a bachelor’s degree in a behavioral health or human services field (such as counseling, social work, psychology, criminal justice, nursing, or related fields). We also accept individuals who have at least a bachelor’s degree (and/or equivalent) in divinity (e.g., Seminary school). If you have extensive human services experience, but lack a bachelor’s degree, call our advisers to discuss your options.
- Refund and Cancellation Policy: You may cancel your registration through the Friday before your subscription period begins and will receive a full refund minus a $50 administrative fee. No refund is provided for cancelled registrations received after this time frame. Please see the Compassionate Refund/Extension Policy for information on exceptions to this policy.
- State Licensure and Certification: This program does not grant Wisconsin, or any other state, licensure and/or certification upon completion. Practitioners interested in obtaining a Wisconsin Substance Abuse Counselor Certification or any similar Wisconsin licensure should visit the Department of Safety and Professional Services website for more information. Please know, this program does not provide, or assist participants in obtaining, clinical experience, supervision, or any other requirements set forth by DSPS beyond the 360-hour specialized educational requirement. It is your responsibility to determine certification requirements and ensure you are able to fulfill those requirements.
- For Wisconsin Practitioners: Successful completion of this program fulfills the 360 hours of specialized education in substance use disorder counseling required by the state of Wisconsin for the SAC-IT/SAC/CSAC licensure. We cannot guarantee this program meet’s any other state requirements.
- Continuing Education Units: Upon successful completion of this program, students will be awarded 36 continuing education units, equivalent to 360 hours of education.
- Modality: UW Flexible Option is not a traditional learning experience. We encourage you to review the resources on how the UW Flexible Option works, as well as this short overview of competency-based education. Please note, students are encouraged to discuss any questions or concerns with an Enrollment Adviser (608-800-6762) prior to registering for this program.
- Course Policies: You acknowledge that you have reviewed all the course policies, which include policies on registration, cancellation, withdrawal, grading, repeat, and more.
Earned the Substance Use Disorders Counselor Certificate? Your 8-Step Guide to Obtaining the SAC License
How Criminal Justice Professionals Can Impact Their Communities with Substance Use Disorders Counseling