Social Services Assistant Course Curriculum

In our online Social Services Assistant: Substance Abuse course, you will gain professional-level knowledge for use in helping others with addiction problems. Comprehensive lessons may provide as many as 160 hours of the AODA domains often required to begin the certification process for addiction specialists.

A career in this field may require you to meet certain licensing, training, and other requirements that can vary by vocation and state. You should check with your state, local government and/or licensing board to find out which requirements may be applicable in your state. Click here for contact information on state licensing/regulatory boards and certain professional licensing information.

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Lesson Group 1: Orientation: Ashworth College Career Program

Learning at Ashworth  

The goals and values of Ashworth College; time management; creating a realistic weekly and monthly study schedule; the nature and purpose of assessments; how to study effectively to prepare for and take an online examination; developing the skill sets necessary for success in the twenty-first century.

Allied Healthcareers  

Introduction to the basic operations of allied healthcareers and the legal and ethical issues you may encounter while working in the many different venues available for these fields.

Lesson Group 2: Introduction to Human Services and Counseling

Social Services Assistant: Substance Abuse  

Introduction to human services. Students will learn about the education, training, and licensing requirements needed for this profession. Students will also learn about the roles and responsibilities of a counselor, the characteristics and attributes a counselor should possess, and the environments in which substance abuse counselors may work.


Students will learn about counseling and the history and approaches to chemical dependency counseling. Students will also learn about current counseling strategies, crisis intervention, motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, interventions, and the differences between group and individual counseling.

Lesson Group 3: Drugs, Addiction, Diseases, and Special Populations

Alcohol and Substance Abuse  

Students will learn about the psychological, sociological, and physiological reasons for drug use and drug action on the central nervous system. Students will also learn about the signs of addiction, common drugs of abuse, the route of administration, the regulation of drug use, and how drugs affect our society


Students will learn about addiction and the progression of addiction. Students will also learn about outside influences that affect addiction, relapse prevention, and recovery.

Special Populations  

Students will learn about different counseling approaches for special populations, including people with HIV, AIDS, and Hepatitis, and those from different cultures. Students will also learn about lifestyle choices that contribute to substance abuse, and how to work with adolescents, elders, and those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Lesson Group 4: Assessment, Treatment, and Prevention

Assessment and Treatment Planning  

Students will learn about the assessment process, the different types of treatment and levels of care, and treatment plans. Students will also learn about the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) and other assessment instruments that develop treatment plans, community-based treatment, and coordination of services.

Strategies for Prevention  

Students will learn about the various prevention programs available and the prevention strategies used in the industry today. Students will also learn about the importance of a positive support network.

Co-Occurring Disorders 

Students will learn how to assess those who have co-occurring disorders and how to work successfully with those who have co-occurring disorders, including implementing proper treatment, relapse, and recovery management techniques.

Lesson Group 5: Communication, Case Management, and Legal and Ethical Issues

Interactions with Healthcare Professionals  

Students will learn about the importance of communication, the roles of different healthcare providers, and interacting with other healthcare professionals.

Case Management  

Students will learn about the case management process and the role and responsibility of the case manager. Students will also learn about case management and its relation to drug treatment, special populations, and the criminal justice population.

Legal and Ethical Issues for Substance Abuse Counselors  

Students will learn about federal and state laws regarding alcohol and drug use, the historical basis of drug laws and legal procedures, and ethical treatment of substance abusers. Students will also learn about the counselor-client relationship and the importance of confidentiality.

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Program Description

Students will learn about the role of substance abuse counselors and the skills needed to work with a variety of different clients. Students will learn how to adhere to professional and ethical standards of behavior, work with clients and health care professionals, use counseling techniques that are appropriate for each client, and create professional written records for each client.

Program Objectives

After completing the Social Services Assistant: Substance Abuse course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify the skills and knowledge required for success as a substance abuse counselor.
  2. Recognize and adhere the professional and ethical standards of behavior for substance abuse counselors.
  3. Recognize systematic substance-disorder screening and assessment procedures to determine an individual’s eligibility for addiction-related services, even in crisis situations.
  4. Work collaboratively with clients and other members of the healthcare team to develop written treatment goals with measurable, time-sensitive action steps toward outcomes.
  5. Identify administrative, clinical, and evaluative activities that facilitate the client’s ability to focus on identified issues and needs.
  6. Identify counseling techniques that are both sensitive to the client’s needs and considerate of the client’s cultural norms, societal norms, and family situation.
  7. Recognize how to create professional written records that include all treatment information and data, such as screening and intake results, assessment and treatment notes, clinical reports, progress notes, and discharge summaries.
  8. Identify how to create and professionally present information on substance abuse, prevention, and treatment to clients, families, and community groups.
  9. Develop a professional portfolio that demonstrates educational and professional steps in the pursuit of substance abuse training.

The Social Services Assistant course at Ashworth College will help you move ahead fast in a meaningful field. Learn at your pace on your schedule! Call 1-800-957-5412 or enroll online today.