Social Work and Human Services
Substance Abuse Counselling certificate
Alcohol and drug abuse is a growing problem in our society and an increasing number of individuals are seeking help in treating their addiction problems. Similarly there is an increasing number of people working in the social services and related fields who are seeking additional training in order to become more effective with their client groups.
The Substance Abuse Counselling programs are designed to produce beginning professionals who recognize their own limitations and strengths and are prepared to undertake professional development on an ongoing basis. Intervention skills will be developed on individual, group, and family levels. Emphasis in the programs will be on providing knowledge of alcohol and drug dependencies, techniques of working with clients with dependencies, and knowledge and skills relating to specific client groups. Substance abuse counsellors may or may not be recovering people, but undertaking this training is not part of the recovery process. Prospective students are expected to lead a life free from substance abuse or risk being removed from the program.
The certificate program is offered as a post-graduate certificate to those holding diplomas, certificates, or degrees in allied fields (such as education, health care, criminal justice, social services, etc.) and is geared towards a post-basic level of educational achievement.
The diploma program is available for those with little or no post-secondary education.
As this program is structured as a post-secondary program for those already holding professional or para-professional credentials, all applications will be assessed on an individual basis by the director. The admissions requirements are as follows:
1. Interview with the Substance Abuse director, during which time your personal suitability for working with people with addiction problems will be assessed.
2. Sustained work history (approximately five years) evidencing stability.
3. Evidence of professional or para-professional credentials.
4. Formal training in counselling skills. Individuals lacking such training may be provisionally accepted but required to complete HSER 120 and 200 (or acceptable equivalents) prior to registering in HSER
500, 501, and 502. Students may substitute a videotape demonstrating counselling skills in lieu of formal training.
5. Two recent letters of reference.
6. Minimum of four years sobriety for recovering individuals.
7. Willingness to undergo a criminal records check.
Students who do not meet these requirements might consider the Social
When to apply
Applications are accepted on a continuous basis throughout the year.
Qualified applicants are considered for the next intake in which there is space.
See Continuous application
process for more information.
How to apply
1. Submit the UFV application for admission form to the Admissions and
Records (A&R) office. Application forms are available from any A&R or Student
Additional documents required for a complete application:
• Official sealed transcripts from all previous post-secondary institutions.
• An additional application information form detailing all your past work and volunteer experience and education (include social service related and other).
• A letter stating why you want to enter the program and what has brought you to make this career choice. Please refer to the kinds of experiences you have had in this field, either paid or volunteer.
• At least one recent letter of reference from a past employer, teacher, or volunteer supervisor who can comment on your suitability to work in the field.
2. You must attend an interview. Out-of-province applicants may be able to make special arrangements with the director.
3. Applicants for the certificate program will be accepted until the program is full.
Basis for admission decision
1. All complete applications received by January 31 will be reviewed.
Applications received after this date will be reviewed if space permits.
2. Personal suitability of applicants will be assessed using a point rating
system. Points are awarded for past academic education, all work or volunteer
experience (social services or other), demonstrated writing ability, reference
letters, personal statement and the group interview. Admission will be granted
on a first-qualified, first-served basis to those scoring above the required
threshold, and who have completed a successful interview.
3. A successful group interview. The group interview generally consists of
four to six student applicants and two SWHS department members. Applicants
should be prepared to discuss their career goals and knowledge of the field, and
are expected to demonstrate appropriate interpersonal and life skills.
4. Only those who submit complete applications and score the minimum required
points will be called for a group interview. Every effort will be made to give
an admissions decision within two months of the application deadline.
If the program is full, qualified students will be placed on a temporary
waitlist. If you meet the entrance requirements and a space becomes available
before September 1, you will be contacted. After September 1, the waitlist is
In cases where interim transcripts are submitted, an admissions decision may
be made conditional upon completion of academic requirements. Proof of
completion of entrance requirements is due the end of the first week in August.
Academic and practicum regulations
A GPA of 2.0 (C average) is required for graduation and practicum placement. Students who do not complete a prerequisite course may be allowed to register for a subsequent course at the discretion of the program head. UFV reserves the right to cancel any course for which there is insufficient registration. Continuation of the program will be dependent upon adequate enrolment.
Acceptance into the program does not guarantee practicum placement. Students will be individually assessed as to their readiness, in terms of skills, attitudes and knowledge, for the practicum. Practica are primarily in the Fraser Valley and students are not guaranteed the placement of their choice. Students will generally begin their practica after the completion of the first semester, although the practicum can be started later. Students working in the field may be allowed to do some, but not all, of their practicum hours in their workplace.
The certificate program is offered on the Abbotsford campus.
Fees and additional costs
See the Fees and Other Costs section. (Please note: HSER
500, 501, 502, 510, 511, 512, and 530 are offered on a cost-recovery basis with higher tuition fees.)
The certificate program is offered part-time only, and does not qualify for financial aid. Some bursaries are available. Contact the Financial Aid
and Awards office for more information.
Some employers may be willing to sponsor their employees; prospective students are urged to approach their employers about this possibility.
Workload and classroom expectations
In addition to the classroom modules, you will be required to read, study, and prepare assignments outside of class and you can expect to spend an additional three to six hours per week outside of class. In addition you will be required to make videotapes in our lab.
Semester I (September–December)
for Addictions Work
Skills for Addictions
||The Nature of
Semester II (January–April)
||Family Work in
Psychobiology of Addictions
Treatment: Assessment and Referral
Semester III (May–June or later)
For complete details on courses see the
course descriptions section.