Substance Abuse Certificate Frequently Asked Questions

Should I get the associate’s degree or a certificate?

The associate’s degree is appropriate for anyone entering the field with no prior degree who wishes to work with substance abusers in a recovery setting.
A certificate is appropriate for students who already have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in a human services field.

What kinds of jobs are available?

With an associate’s degree in Human Services/Substance Abuse, you may find employment in a detox facility or half-way house, or work as a tech or an assistant in a substance abuse treatment program.
With a bachelor’s degree in a human services field and the substance abuse certificate, you can work in case management-level positions in various substance abuse settings. With a master’s degree and the certificate, you can work in counselor-level positions.

Will the degree or certificate guarantee a job for me in the field?

No degree can guarantee employment, but education and cooperative workplace experience in substance abuse treatment will increase the likelihood that you will be able to find a job in the field.

How do I apply for admission?

Go to and click on “Become a Student” in the upper right corner of the page. Follow all instructions: Complete the application, submit transcripts from high school and college (if applicable), and schedule a placement test if required. If you have other questions, call 919-866-5420.

Can I apply for financial aid?

PELL grant funds (for students who meet PELL qualifications) may be used for the associate’s degree program in Human Services/Substance Abuse.
PELL grant funds may not be used for the Substance Abuse Certificate program.
To apply, click on the Financial Aid link when you submit your electronic application for admission. For questions, call 919-866-5410.

Where will my classes be held?

All classes specific to the associate’s degree and the certificate are held on the Scott Northern Wake Campus, off Louisburg Road.
General education classes required for the programs (English, psychology, sociology, etc.) are offered on other Wake Tech campuses.

Can I earn the degree or a certificate online?

No. Some classes are available in online or hybrid format, but others require face-to-face instruction that allows interaction and practice of techniques.

Will earning a certificate qualify me as a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC) or a License

No. Those credentials are given by the North Carolina Addiction Specialist Professional Practice Board. However, earning a certificate from Wake Tech will provide training hours that can be applied to the CSAC or the LCAS.
For more information, download our Substance Abuse Certificate brochure or contact the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board (

What is the difference between the two Substance Abuse certificates?

Both certificates meet the educational requirements for potential credentialing from the NC Addictions Specialist Professional Practice Board. The intervention certificate includes an internship experience that may be counted as part of the practical hours required for credentialing. The counseling certificate does not include an internship experience.