The Importance of a Substance Abuse Counseling Internship

Before jumping into a Bachelor’s in Substance Abuse Counseling to advance your career, make sure the program you select will prepare you for success post-graduation. Your education and training should not only cover the educational requirements for licensure (e.g., the LCDC III in Ohio) but should also prepare you to be clinically effective as a professional in the field.

Three things to consider before selecting a school to earn your 100% online Substance Abuse Counseling Degree include:

  1.  Accreditation and reputation of the school/university you plan on attending
  2. Internship opportunities the program offers to support the development of your clinical skills
  3. Whether the courses you will complete as a student satisfy the educational requirements for licensure in your state
Internship Courses offered for the 100% Online Bachelor’s in Substance Abuse Counseling

Your degree from the University of Cincinnati will prepare you for a career combating substance use disorder. To ensure students are prepared for their career, the curriculum requires students to take two internship courses. The purpose of the internship is to take what you learned in your Substance Abuse Counseling courses and apply that knowledge to real-world experiences. Professors help students find a good fit where they can practice their future career as a Substance Abuse Counselor. Although not guaranteed, many students have found paid internships as well as taken full-time positions working at their field sites after graduation.

The following two internship courses are included in the University of Cincinnati’s online Bachelor’s in Substance Abuse Counseling program. Please note: you must be enrolled in the program to complete the following classes as part of your curriculum.

SACN 5050 (offered each fall) – Internship in Substance Abuse Counseling I. The purpose of this internship course is to support clinical skill development in the 12 core functions. During this course, you will learn evidence-based practices within the 12 core functions and apply them in at your internship site.

SACN 5051 (offered each spring) – Internship in Substance Abuse Counseling II. This course has a smaller academic component than SACN 5050 because students typically begin taking on their own client caseload in the second internship semester. Upon completion of this course, you will have 300 hours of experience in the 12 core functions that count towards your LCDC III license.

Substance Abuse Counselors go by many names (e.g., addiction counselors, chemical dependency counselors), but they all make a huge impact in combating addiction in their communities. Securing an education to gain the proper tools for your career is the first step. The University of Cincinnati’s Bachelor’s in Substance Abuse Counseling online program offers you the flexibility to earn your degree.

Earning Your LCDC III License

If you live in Ohio and plan to get your degree from the University of Cincinnati’s 100% online Bachelor’s in Substance Abuse Counseling, you will earn field hours through the internship courses you complete. The field hours you earn for your internship will count towards the total number of hours you need to attain the Ohio license.

The LCDC III License will become available to you after you complete the following requirements (for more information, please visit

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • One year of chemical dependency-related work experience (2,000 hours)
  • 180 hours of chemical dependency specific education grid in the nine specific content areas
  • 220 practical experience hours in the 12 core functions (screening, intake, orientation, assessment, treatment planning, counseling, case management, crisis intervention, education, referral, record keeping, and consultation)
  • Pass the ADC exam or complete the Examination Waiver Form
  • Complete an application for a license and receive final approval from the Board

Learn more today about how you can get started on earning your degree.



This article was last updated March 30, 2020

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