College of Natural Sciences Colorado State University Department of Psychology

Concentration in Addiction Counseling Program in Psychology

The Psychology Department offers an undergraduate Concentration in Addiction Counseling. This concentration allows undergraduate Psychology majors to meet the coursework requirements of the state of Colorado for certification as a Certified Addiction Counselor I (CAC-I). This certification allows individuals to work as addiction counselors in the state of Colorado and meets the requirements for similar certifications in many other states. The concentration is designed to prepare students to work effectively in various treatment settings and with a variety of addictive behaviors. Upon completion of this concentration, students will possess a body of knowledge, skills, training, and work experience in the treatment of addictive behaviors that prepares them for a career as a certified addiction counselor.

Who should apply?

Colorado State University Juniors Majoring in Psychology

The CAC-I Concentration is designed to be completed during the spring semester of the junior year and the summer sessions between junior and senior year. This means that students applying for the concentration need to be enrolled in or have completed 4 semesters of full-time college coursework. Additionally, students should be majoring in Psychology and should have either a cumulative grade point average of 2.0 or a Psychology grade point average of 3.0. They will also have to pass a background check prior to admission into the concentration. In addition to these requirements, students who apply should be committed to a career in treating addictions, should have interpersonal skills appropriate for a career in counseling, and should have the ability to meet the program standards.

How are applications submitted?

The application is online here

In addition to the information requested in the application, applicants need to write a statement of interest detailing why they are good candidates for the concentration and why they are interested in completing the concentration and they must provide contact information for two individuals willing to provide letters of recommendation. Applicants will also need to upload an unofficial copy of their CSU transcript.

When are applications due?

February 15th

An admissions committee will review all applications and make admissions decisions in the weeks following the date that applications are due. Prospective applicants may be contacted by the admissions committee for an interview prior to the committee making final admissions decisions. It is anticipated that 30 students will be accepted into the program each academic year.

Why should students apply for this concentration?

Because it provides entry into a career in addiction counseling with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology

Students who are majoring in psychology and are hoping to enter the workforce as a counselor following completion of a Bachelor’s Degree at Colorado State will be able to do so by completing this concentration and some additional supervised hours. Students applying for the concentration should have a strong desire and commitment to working with individuals who are suffering with addiction. While the concentration is designed to allow for certification as an addiction counselor in the state of Colorado, students completing the concentration will meet the basic requirements to become an addiction counselor in many other states. Students wishing to move to other states after completion of their undergraduate degree should inquire with the appropriate licensing bodies in their destination state to determine if they have met that state’s requirements for becoming a certified addiction counselor.

What does the concentration entail?

Completing a series of courses providing specialized knowledge in addiction counseling and an internship at a local treatment facility offering addiction counseling.

Courses will be offered in the spring semester and across the summer sessions both on campus and online. The internship will be completed during the concentration. All prerequisites for these courses must be completed prior to acceptance in the concentration. Courses that students have completed at Colorado State University prior to being accepted into the concentration will count towards completing the requirements of the concentration. Courses taken at other universities or through other outlets will not count towards completion of the concentration. Internships occurring prior to admission into the concentration cannot be used to satisfy the internship required through the concentration. Finally, it should be noted that, in order to receive certification as an addiction counselor in the state of Colorado, you need to complete 1000 hours of supervised work over a minimum of 6 months. Completion of the internship required for the concentration will likely not provide all of the hours necessary to complete state certification.

The specific courses within the concentration are as follows:

PSY 310           Basic Counseling Skills
PSY 311A         Basic Counseling Skills Lab
PSY 360           Psychology of Drug Addiction Treatment
PSY 362           Professional Issues in Addiction Treatment
PSY 364           Infectious Disease & Substance Use
PSY 488           Field Placement
PSY 488           Advanced Field Placement
CHEM 320      Chemistry of Addictions

Note: All prerequisites for these courses must be completed prior to acceptance in the concentration.

For more information about the Certified Addiction Counseling Program please email the director, Bradley Conner, Ph.D., at, or the associate director, Mark Prince at


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