Addictions Counselling


About this program

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

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

Medicine Hat College Addictions Counselling graduates are eligible for certification with The Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF) and 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 behaviours 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 or 403-529-3844. 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.

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.
Some courses related to this program are found here. Please see the academic calendar or this year's program planning guide for an up-to-date set of courses related to Addictions Counselling.

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:

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

What is your education going to cost?

Our TUITION and FEES page provides a total cost estimate for your program including books and supplies and related expenses.

Looking for ways to help fund your education?

There are lots of options like student loans, scholarships, bursaries and emergency funding available.
Check out our FINANCIAL AID page for more information.

Many programs offered at Medicine Hat College qualify for transfer credits to other institutions. In some cases, you must transfer to another institution to complete your program and gain your credential.

The ACADEMIC CALENDAR has official information on transfer options for each program.
Please consult the calendar or meet with an academic advisor for more information.

At MHC, we care about students and want to help you succeed.

As a student, there may be times when you require support. Our SERVICES page provides you with links to a number of campus supports including academic success, counselling and care, health and wellness, and many other resources.

Have you always wanted to study abroad?

Enhance your education, share in cultural diversity and embrace new experiences. Visit the INTERNATIONAL MOBILITY PROGRAM section to find out more.

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.