Follow Christ, Lead the Way

The Substance Abuse Counseling major equips students entering the addiction recovery field. To be licensed in the field of chemical dependency counseling in Ohio, three requirements must be met:

  • Completion of education specific to chemical dependency counseling. The BA degree in Substance Abuse Counseling meets more than the minimum hours required. Ohio Christian University’s degree program is designed to meet this requirement of chemical dependency counseling education.
  • Appropriate supervision of chemical dependency counseling while employed in a treatment facility. For many students, this process begins after completion of the major.
  • Successful completion of the licensure test that is administered by the State of Ohio.

Students are eligible to apply to the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals board for Certified Chemical Dependency Assistant status (CDCA) once they have completed 40 clock hours of chemical dependency training in specific areas. The CDCA is required to seek entry level employment and to begin supervision required prior to taking the State test for licensure. (Refer to, in the Certification and Licensure tab, follow instructions to download the CDCA Forms. Students should contact the appropriate state licensure board to learn of requirements unique to a particular state. The names of the boards can be found online at the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium at


Upon graduating from the program, students should be able to:
  • Integrate Christian principles in critical thinking and decision-making to the study of substance abuse counseling.
  • Appraise the needs of persons through use of assessment techniques, diagnostic criteria, and treatment planning.
  • Utilize appropriate counseling techniques with individuals, families, and groups.
  • Apply chemical dependency interventions, knowledge of drugs, and ethical codes of conduct.
This degree program is available in the following format:

100% Online courses in a 5-week as-you-go flexible format for busy adults featuring forum discussions and weekly assignment deadlines. Serves both undergraduate and graduate students.

Explore the full enrichment of the traditional collegiate experience and make new friends on our lively campus in Circleville Ohio. Serves 17-24 year-old undergraduate students.

MAJOR45 Hours

*30 credit hours at the 3000-level or above

  • A concentrated look at the behavioral approach to counseling and human development. This course provides practical knowledge and experience with a critique from the Christian viewpoint.
    Prerequisite: PSY1020
  • Concepts, practices, and applications of counseling theories, including constructs of how the counselor integrates theory with Christian and biblical views, and development of these counseling skills and practical approaches into a personalized counseling style for use in individual sessions.
    Prerequisite: PSY1020
  • Abnormal behavior as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, with analysis of ideology and behavioral abnormality, methods of therapy, and emphasis on cultural and demographic variables impacting mental illness.
    Prerequisite: PSY1020
  • Fundamental concepts related to substance use disorders in multiple client populations, including assessment and diagnosis of substance use disorders, planning a course of treatment, analyzing effects of substances on the client and others, etiology, and best practices in counseling and treatment through a Christian worldview.
  • Professionalism, ethics, and legal issues that present themselves in the context of counseling, with emphasis on substance abuse counseling. Students will examine and analyze professional issues in counseling from both a legal and an ethical perspective.
  • Best practices for case management common to the human services, including interviewing skills, documentation, cultural aspects, self-care, and ethical issues.
    Prerequisite: SAC1020
  • The impact of chemical dependency and substance abuse upon the family system. Enabling as a dynamic that reinforces dysfunctional patterns will be examined. Attention is given to treatment options and interventions for not only the family member with the Substance Use Disorder, but the other family members impacted by their use as well. Additionally, substance use issues related to adolescents and children will be addressed. These dynamics will be addressed with a Christian and biblical worldview.
  • An overview of group theories and the techniques and theorists associated with each, examined in the context of a biblical worldview. Development of skills for facilitating group counseling
    Prerequisite: SAC1020
  • Background, instruction, and practical understanding of substances with addictive or abusive potential. Current medical guidelines will be evaluated in light of biblical truth to allow for a holistic course will be on legal and illegal drugs that elicit a pharmacologic effect in the central nervous system. Both pharmacokinetic (e.g., drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion) and pharmacodynamics (e.g., psychotropic effects) will be discussed in a practical manner. Drugs will be categorized by common classifications to facilitate learning and retention.
  • The discipline and dynamics of substance abuse prevention, with emphasis on researched and science-based programs and an introduction to prevention programs and activities.
    Prerequisite: SAC1020
  • The counselor functions of screening, intake, orientation, assessment, and diagnosis, the processes of interviewing and assessment, and related ethical, legal, and professional issues. The course will examine and practice the use of tests, assessment instruments and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in the process of Diagnostic Evaluation and Personal Assessment of a client.
  • This course is a comprehensive exploration of the effects of psychological trauma: the nature of trauma (abuse, combat, natural disasters, etc.) and the effects of trauma (traumatic stress, grief reactions, addiction, etc.). The professional’s response to trauma, such as vicarious traumatization, compassion fatigue, disenfranchised grief, crisis intervention, comorbid disorders, and general treatment issues, will also be addressed. Finally, students will review evidence-based practices. A variety of theoretical frameworks are presented, including cognitive, neurobiological, clinical, and socio-cultural.
    Prerequisites: PSY1020 and SOC1020, or associate dean’s approval
  • Dynamics of spirituality and religion that can impact the counseling process, including ethical challenges and specific elements of spirituality viewed from a Christian perspective.
  • A general review of material learned throughout the SAC curriculum, to familiarize students with the content, construction, and requirements for passing the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professional Board’s State Licensure Examination.
    Prerequisites: SAC2120, PSY3000, SAC3650
Please choose one of the following:
  • Introduces the student to substance abuse treatment through field experience placement. This practicum requires 135 clock hours under the direction of agency supervisors with opportunities to observe and participate in core functions of counseling.
    Prerequisites: SAC2120, PSY3000, SAC3650
  • This course provides the student in Substance Abuse Counseling an opportunity to incorporate their learning experience and coursework that will culminate in a final project that involves conducting research on a contemporary issue or topic in the field. Note: This course is the online option/substitute for the Traditional SAC Practicum. Online students in other states will need this option. Practicum could still be available if their state requires those hours for licensing.
    Prerequisites: SAC2120, PSY3000, SAC3650

Graduation Requirements:

In addition to the courses listed on this page, graduates must meet the requirements listed here, including:

  • A General Education Core
    • Associate degrees – 36 credit hours
    • Bachelor’s degrees – 45 credit hours
  • Minimum credit hours
    • Associate degrees – 60 credit hours
    • Bachelor’s degrees – 120 credit hours
  • Notes:

    1. Some majors require more credit hours than the listed minimums.
    2. Students choose elective courses to complete credit hour requirements.
    3. Electives may apply toward a minor, certificate, associate degree, or second major.
    4. Sometimes a course required in a student’s major can also fulfill a requirement in the GenEd core. (See notes on the individual major pages.)

Find complete information in the OCU Academic Catalog.

Contact the University Registrar's Office if you have graduation questions: 1 (740) 477-7780 or