PBSC To Launch Addiction Studies Programs

More than 22 million people in the U.S. are in need of substance abuse treatment, causing a shortage of trained addiction professionals. Palm Beach State College is answering this need by offering an 18-month college credit certificate program and a two-year associate’s degree in addiction studies, both starting this fall term. Classes begin Aug. 23.

Information sessions will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11 and Monday, Aug. 13 in Room CE119 in the Continuing Education Building on the Lake Worth campus at 4200 Congress Ave.

The addiction studies programs are designed to prepare students for employment as clinical specialists, social/human services practitioners, chemical dependency practitioners, addiction specialists and substance abuse counselors. “I receive phone calls almost every day from prospective students looking for an accredited addiction studies program that will allow them to learn the necessary skills in order to become substance abuse professionals,” said Lois Pasapane, department chair and professor of psychology and human services.

The 39-credit college credit certificate is the technical core of the 73-credit associate’s degree, and both meet the coursework requirement for the Florida state addiction professional certification. Pasapane stresses that a wide range of individuals at different points in their careers can take advantage of these programs, from high school graduates to those who already have degrees but want specialized education in this field.

The college credit certificate credits transfer fully into the associate’s degree, and associate’s degree credits transfer into Palm Beach State College’s bachelor’s degree in supervision and management. Transfer agreements with other state colleges and universities also are in the works. Both programs are eligible for financial aid.

“We have been contacted by several external groups and rehabilitation facilities expressing interest in Palm Beach State offering these programs,” said Susan Caldwell, associate dean of social science.

Indeed, Florida is at the top of the list for number of rehabilitation facilities. With a large number of local treatment centers and new ones under construction, the college will be positioned to respond to the growing need for qualified addiction professionals.

The unfortunate statistics tell the story. As estimated by the Department of Children & Families Substance Abuse Program Office, based on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2009-10 there were 413,793 adults in Florida who sought substance abuse treatment/services if services were available (out of 1,253,917 who actually needed these services).

“It’s very gratifying to be a part of these important new programs,” Pasapane said. “I look forward to helping our students learn to make a difference in so many people’s lives.”

For more information, visit www.palmbeachstate.edu/humanservices.xml or call (561) 868-3326.