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FAQ Chemical Dependency

Jan  1 1900 12:00AM

Confused? Read through our Frequently Asked Questions!

These are frequently asked questions focused the C.D. track of our program. We highly suggest you also read the FAQ for our Generalist track as it may answer further questions for you.

I want to be an alcohol and chemical dependency counselor and have never attended college what will I need to do to?

Six Steps to Getting Started is the best place to start. The college also offers New Student Orientation Days which will get you acquainted with our campus. The Human Services program is offered exclusively at our Mount Vernon campus.

How long will it take to complete the necessary coursework for the ATA Degree?

This degree requires 180-quarter hours of coursework. If you attend school full-time and take an average of fifteen credits per quarter most students will be able to complete this degree in two years. How long it will actually take depends on a number of additional factors including but not limited to those listed below:

  • Your current level of skills in writing, reading comprehension, and math.
  • Whether you already have an Associate or Bachelors degree.
  • How many previously earned college credits (whether or not you completed a degree) can be applied to our Degree or certificate requirements.
  • Availability of courses.
Will I be able to transfer credits earned in pursuit of the Associate of Technical Arts degree to another college or university?

This is a difficult question to answer since each college or university follows their own guidelines regarding what courses they will accept and apply toward a particular degree that they offer. If you plan to transfer to another university or college it is best to contact them directly about what courses within our programs they will accept. The academic advisors at our Counseling Center can also help you evaluate this.

Can I use previously earned college credits to satisfy the course requirements for either the degree or the certificate?

Perhaps or perhaps not. We cannot answer that question before reviewing your college transcripts. An unofficial copy will be adequate for a preliminary assessment. In order to apply credits earned elsewhere toward any SVC degree or certificate an official transcript from other colleges must be received by the SVC registrar's office and officially evaluated. Please consult with your faculty advisor or academic advisor regarding details.

Will an Associate Degree other than an Associate Degree in Chemical Dependency satisfy the Washington State Department of Health minimum degree requirement for the CDP credential?

Yes, but possession of an Associate degree (or higher degree) is only one of a number of requirements that must be satisfied. If your degree did not include a minimum of 45 credits of coursework specifically related to chemical dependency counseling additional coursework will be necessary to fulfill DOH requirements.

If SVC accepts credits earned previously at another college for the SVC Human Services Degree, will DOH also accept them as satisfying their requirements?

Perhaps, but we cannot guarantee this. The Department of Health must make this determination. If you have questions about this visit the DOH website or contact them directly (360) 236 4902.

If I already have a Bachelors degree in Human Services (or Social Work) will any of the credits previously earned apply to the Department of Health requirements?

Perhaps, but we cannot guarantee this. The Department of Health will make that determination after you submit your application for the CDP credential. If you have questions about this review their website or call them directly. (360) 236-4902.

Are there additional requirements for CDP applicants besides academic ones?


  • All applicants for this credential must have a certain number of hours of supervised clinical experience working with CD clients. The number of hours required depends on the level of your highest academic degree.
  • You must also submit an evaluation of your competence to practice.
  • You must also sit for and pass an examination.
  • For complete details about requirements please contact the Washington State Department of Health, Division of Professional Licensing in Olympia
Is it possible to obtain a paid position working with clients in the CD field prior to satisfying all the requirements for the ATA in Human Services degree?

Yes, currently there is a shortage of chemical dependency counselors in the Northwest and some students are offered paid employment before completing all the coursework and obtaining their CDP credential. This situation may change.

What chemical dependency-related jobs will I be qualified for after completing my degree but prior to satisfying all the requirements for the CDP credential?

There are a variety of positions available in CD treatment and prevention programs that that do not require possession of the CDP credential.

Will I be employable in other areas of the social and human services field other than chemical dependency with an ATA degree in Chemical Dependency?

A qualified yes. Many factors will influence the range of opportunities for employment within Human Services but outside the specialized field of chemical dependency. Alcohol and substance abuse, both occasional and chronic, is so widespread that many community agencies and businesses have come to value the presence on their staff of a person with specialized knowledge and skills in this areMuch of the knowledge and many of the skills required to perform the duties of a CD counselor are commonly required of other Human Service workers serving a wide array of clients.

What will the SVC Human Services program expect from me?

The SVC Human Services program is a two-year degree track college program. Students are expected to have college level reading, writing, comprehension and communication abilities.

Students who need additional education in writing are welcome to enter the program but are expected to promptly pursue coursework in English. The Human Services program is a writing intensive program and it will greatly benefit your educational experience if you pursue your English 101 requirement early on in your education. In fact, we highly recommend you begin taking English your first quarter. Many students are able to test directly into English 101 which is a required course for all ATA degrees. However, some students may find they will need to take additional coursework prior to enrolling in English 101. You will also need to either enter with or quickly develop basic keyboarding and computer skills. There are classes available to assist with this.

Students will be expected to attend and participate in all classes, to communicate in a manner appropriate of a college level student and to accept feedback. We are a professional program and expect our students to conduct themselves in a manner befitting a professional office setting.