Programs & Courses

Addictions Counselling

About This Program

Medicine Hat College is redesigning the online display of programs and courses and some content on this page may no longer be accurate. For official program information, please refer to the current academic calendar.

Learn about tuition and fees or download a program planning guide.

This rigorous and unique program is the only one of its kind in Canada, and prepares you with knowledge of a range of dependencies and with multi-level intervention skills. 


Due to the nature and demands of the addictions counselling profession, the program invites emotional involvement and an ongoing commitment to self-awareness as an integral component of the process of becoming educated as a professional addictions counsellor.

The Medicine Hat College Addictions Counselling program meets the knowledge, skill and application competencies of The Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF).  The Medicine Hat College Addictions Counselling program is also approved by the CACCF and, as a result, graduates of the program are eligible for certification with CACCF and are also eligible for membership with The Addiction Professionals Association of Alberta  (APAA).

The Introduction to Addictions Studies course is now available online. Enhance your knowledge of addictions counselling to help you in your current career, or take the course as credit towards the diploma program. This foundational course provides an overview of the study and treatment of addictive behaviors and compulsive disorders. Your commitment for this online course is to participate in weekly discussions, and complete reading assignments and exams. For more information or to register for this course, contact Judy at or 403-504-3534. Depending on the demand for this course, more (or even all) of the addictions counselling diploma classes may be offered in an online or blended (online and face-to-face) format.

Graduates of the Addictions Counselling Program will be prepared to find work in private and public addictions agencies, educational and health institutions, the criminal justice system, women’s shelters, and youth group homes. Graduates of the Addictions Counselling Program have found employment as:

  • Harm Reduction/HIV/AIDS Counsellors
  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorder Support Workers
  • Suicide Prevention Counsellors
  • Gambling Stabilization Counsellors
  • Foster Care Support Workers
  • Wellness Project Coordinators
  • School Resource Workers
  • Detox Workers
  • Prevention Workers
  • Early Intervention Counsellors
  • Treatment Counsellors
  • Addictions Educators
  • Women’s Shelter Counsellors
  • Criminal Justice Workers
  • Community Program Educators

High School
Alberta high school courses or equivalents

  • ELA 30-1
  • Biology 30 OR Chemistry 30
  • Two 30-level academic subjects
  • One Grade 12 5-credit subject (excluding Special Projects)

Mature Student (21 years of age)

You may wish to consider this route if you have completed a high school diploma but not completed the courses required for admission; have completed a diploma with less than an average of 60%; or have not completed high school.

You must submit a letter detailing how your experiences since secondary school contribute to your potential for success in the program, your goals for the future, and why study in this program will assist you to realize these goals.

Transfer Route

If you present eight or more transferable courses, or a two or three-year college diploma with an acceptable average you need not present high school credentials.

Academic Transition Plan (ATP)

If you do not possess all of the admission requirements, the Academic Transition Plan (ATP) may provide conditional acceptance to this program, provided space is available.

Other Admission Considerations
• An interview and/or letter of intent may be required.
• If you have significant experience(s) with addictions you should be apprised of the need to have reached a level of stability and functionality that will allow you to undertake this program of studies and to counsel others.

First Year

HLSC 200 Introduction to Addictions Studies
IDST 100 Introductory Communications for Helping Professionals
PSYC 205 Principles of Psychology

HLSC 220 Introduction to Counselling
HLSC 230 Physiology and Processes of Addictions
SOCI 201 Introductory Sociology

Second Year
HLSC 320 Counselling II (Individuals and Groups)
HLSC 340 Assessment of Addictions
HLSC 365 Health Education and Promotion
one of
SOCI 203 Current Social Issues
SOCI 325 Deviant Group Behaviour* 

HLSC 350 Internship in Addictions Counselling

This is the recommended sequence. Please note that HLSC courses are typically only offered once a year in the sequence listed. The third and fourth year of the Baccalaureate Route can be completed at University of Lethbridge.

Continuation Requirements

To be in good standing,

  • maintain a overall GPA of 2.0

In order to proceed to an advanced level course, a prerequisite course must be repeated if a grade of C- or better is not achieved. You are reminded that all first and second year courses, including electives, are prerequisites for HLSC 350. You must pass both theoretical and clinical components of HLSC courses in order to receive credit in these courses. Should you fail the practical component of an Addictions Counselling course you will not be allowed to register in further Addictions Counselling courses where a practice component is included. You are normally only permitted to repeat an HLSC course once.

As a student in the Addictions Counselling Program you are expected to exercise responsible conduct that reflects favourably on you as a developing professional, the program, and Medicine Hat College.

Questionable performance in relation to harming yourself or others and/or to the maintenance of the professional standards of the program may result in you being asked to leave the course/lab setting/internship placement at any time and you may receive a failing grade in the course.

If you have been absent from the program for one calendar year and are returning to complete a practicum course, you will be required to successfully complete a comprehensive evaluation.  Depending on the outcomes of the evaluation you may be required to successfully complete remediation in preparation to enter the practicum.

Required Withdrawal

If you are dismissed from the program for academic or practice reasons (see Academic Probation) you may re-apply for re-admission after a lapse of a full year.  If you are dismissed for a second time, you will not be readmitted.

Graduation Requirements


You must complete all program requirements for first and second years with an overall GPA of 2.0 and no grade less than C- in the HLSC courses.


Excellent transfer opportunities have been developed with:

Athabasca University
Bachelor of Professional Arts (Human Services)

University of Calgary
Bachelor of Community Rehabilitation Program

Lethbridge College
Bachelor's of Applied Arts in Justice Studies

University of Lethbridge
Post-Diploma Bachelor of Health Sciences (Addictions Counselling Major)

Thompson Rivers University
Bachelor of Health Science

You are advised to consult with an academic advisor regarding transfer opportunities. Call (403) 529-3819 to make an appointment.


While every effort is made to accommodate your needs and preferences, you will likely travel out of Medicine Hat during the fieldwork semesters.  Costs may be associated with travels and relocation and you are asked to keep these in mind when calculating program costs.  Placement decisions are based on your needs, placement/agency needs, and the outcome of placement interviews with agencies.  You may be required to present a Police Information Check and/or Child Welfare Check prior to acceptance from internship site placement.  Costs associated with the police record check and child welfare check are your responsibility.  You are obligated to inform the Program Coordinator immediately of any change in the status of your criminal record.

Individuals with a history of addiction or dependency should note that placement agencies may require you to have a minimum two-year alcohol and drug-free lifestyle prior to acceptance in an internship placement.

The consequences of a prior criminal conviction on your status in the program will be examined and discussed on an individual basis.

Field Placement Requirements

If your academic or personal behaviour is questionable regarding the safe and professional delivery of client care you may be held back from a practicum placement.

Should the program coordinator judge, in consultation with the program faculty, that there is evidence that you are professionally unsuitable or a risk to clients, the coordinator may prohibit you from attending or completing a program.


Time Limits for Program Completion

You are allowed four years to complete the Diploma, following the completion of the first addictions course. All requirements for the baccalaureate degree must be completed within seven years of the first Health Sciences course used for credit toward the degree.

International Exchange Opportunities

You can explore short-term education abroad opportunities in countries such as Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Ecuador. Visit the International Mobility Program section to find out more.

Scholarship Info

Medicine Hat College distributes over $300,000 in scholarships and bursaries each year. Applying online is easy!

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Funding Your Education

There are several options to assist you in funding your education at MHC. Find out what option is best for you.

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