FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington has established a new certificate program that aims to prepare students to be substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors.

Courses in the Addiction Rehabilitation Certificate program were first offered this year. Fifteen students are enrolled, according to UMF Division of Rehabilitation Services and Special Education Chairwoman Jewel Jones.

“Addiction is a problem throughout the country,” Jones said in a press release. “Providing our students with the highest level of professional preparation is the first step towards a solution.”

The certificate is composed of 22 credits in rehabilitation courses. The course curriculum focuses on understanding addiction, prevention and recovery from substance abuse.

The certificate is available to any UMF student regardless of their major or minor. However, the certificate “coordinates especially well” for students in the rehabilitation services, community health education and psychology bachelor degree programs, the certificate’s website said.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the job outlook for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is projected to grow by 31 percent through 2022. To better prepare students for careers in those fields, faculty members will work with students in the Addiction Rehabilitation Certificate program to seek out internships where they can apply what they have learned in the classroom and further hone their professional skills through firsthand experience.

The internships will also qualify students to take the National Alcohol and Drug Counselor exam and be eligible for state licenses at an early stage in their education because they will be working directly with licensed counselors.

“This certificate is getting support and encouragement from substance abuse and pubic health organizations across the state,” Jewel said.

Courses that can be taken to satisfy the 22-credit certification requirement include community health education, substance abuse prevention, rehabilitation services, counseling and the helping relationship, introduction to addiction, advanced addiction rehabilitation, rehabilitation and families, and child and family counseling and psychopathology.

Lauren Abbate — 861-9252

[email protected]

Twitter: @Lauren_M_Abbate

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