Associate of Science

Drug And Alcohol Recovery Counselor (DARC)

Earn a Degree Earn a Certificate

Program Overview

Program Overview

It takes dedicated counselors with a passion for working with others to help people who are suffering from addiction recover their lives, achieve sobriety and stability. The Drug and Alcohol Recovery Counseling (DARC) program can provide you with the education and training you’ll need to work effectively in the field of substance abuse/addiction counseling. The DARC program is also ideal for professionals with advanced degrees who seek additional specialization in addiction counseling or certification as a Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC).

Earn a degree

  • Degree options include:
  • Career-oriented students are prepared for beginning positions in substance abuse counseling. Typical positions for which graduates are qualified include: Addictions Counselor, Substance Abuse Counselor, Substance Abuse Technician, Substance Abuse Case Manager, Counselor I, or Counselor II.
  • Students who complete the program have a variety of transfer options available to them. 

Earn a certificate 

The DARC Certificate option provides specialized training for persons with advanced bachelors or masters degrees seeking to obtain certification or licensure as an addictions counselor.

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DARC Program FAQs

Certification as an addictions counselor (CAC) requires 300hours of addiction specific education, a clinical practicum and paid work hoursin the addictions field. The DARC program provides the education and clinicalpracticum requirement. Students can complete the required DARC program in threeto four semesters. When they graduate with a DARC Certificate or AssociatesDegree they are qualified to sit for the Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC)exam.

Students are encouraged to continue on to bachelor's and master's degree programs in psychology, community counseling, human services or social work. Students who continue on for a master's degree in counseling can obtain licensure (LADC) once the degree requirements are completed and as long as they have passed the CAC exam.

Students who complete their Associates Degree in DARC can transfer to any of the four Connecticut State Universities through the Guaranteed Admissions Program. To be eligible, you must complete your associate degree in five (5) years or less with a 2.0 grade point average and must transfer within 2 years of completion of the associate degree. Post University accepts the DARC degree as a minor in their Human Services bachelor’s degree. Students in their final semester are provided information on transferring to bachelors or graduate degree programs. Students can transfer into any NASAC bachelor’s addiction studies degree program at the junior level.

Quick Facts

DARC Quick Facts

The Only Nationally-Accredited Program in Connecticut
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The DARC Program is the only nationally accredited "Addiction Studies" program in Connecticut. (NASAC Accreditation Letter, 2014)

Graduate Success
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DARC students have a high employment rate in the addiction field and often get hired before they complete their clinical internship.

100% Pass Rate
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DARC Program students have a 100% pass rate on the Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) exam. (CT Certification Board data)

Additional Details

Want to specialize in addictions counseling?

The Drug and Alcohol Recovery Counselor (DARC) program is nationally accredited through the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC) and provides education and training for persons who want to become a Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC). The DARC curriculum (30 credits) meets the Connecticut Certification Board (CCB) 360 hours of education/training requirements needed to sit for the CAC exam. The DARC program is currently the only nationally accredited “Addiction Studies” program among all two and four year colleges in Connecticut.

The DARC curriculum requires two years of academic study which includes general education, DARC specialty courses and a one year internship. Students need to complete four (4) core DARC courses (DAR H101, DAR H111, DAR H112, DAR H158), and ENG H101 with a C or better to apply for the Internship portion of the program. The clinical internship runs from the fall to spring semester. Acceptance into the clinical internship, (DAR H251, DAR H252) is based upon an application, screening and interview process.


“As an adult learner looking for a career change, the Drug & Alcohol Recovery Counselor Program offered me a degree that allowed me to start a new career in just two years. I am proud to be in the first group of graduating DARC students at NVCC and thank my professor and advisor for her dedication and determination to make this program possible and successful.” - Linda Jacobucci, DARC Intern, 2008

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Program Requirements

Drug and Alcohol Recovery Counselor (DARC) A.S.

Competency or
Program Requirement
Course Number and Title Required
Credits
FIRST SEMESTER
Critical Analysis and Logical Thinking/Written Communication ENG*H101 Composition 3
Oral Communication COM*H100 Introduction to Communication 3
Program Requirement PSY*H111 General Psychology I 3
Program Requirement DAR*H101 Public Health Issues in Abuse and Addiction 3
Program Requirement DAR*H111 Addiction Counseling I 3
SECOND SEMESTER
Scientific Reasoning◊◊ DAR*H158 Biology of Addiction 3
Social Phenomenon SOC*H101 Principles of Sociology 3
Written Communication ENG*H102 Literature and Composition 3
Program Requirement PSY*H245 Abnormal Psychology 3
Program Requirement DAR*H112 Group Counseling Theory & Techniques 3
THIRD SEMESTER
Continuing Learning and Information Literacy/Ethics CSA*H105 Introduction to Computer Applications 3
Quantitative Reasoning MAT*H135 Topics in Contemporary Mathematics or MAT*H167 Principles of Statistics1 3
Scientific Knowledge◊◊ BIO*H115 Human Biology 4
Program Requirement DAR*H251 Counseling Internship†† (fall only) 6
Program Requirement DAR*H220 Co-Occurring Disorders Counseling 3
FOURTH SEMESTER
Aesthetic Dimensions/Written Comm. Choose any Aesthetic Dimensions listed 3
Historical Knowledge Choose any Historical Knowledge listed HIS*H101, 102, 201, 202 3
Program Requirement DAR*H252 Counseling Internship II2 (spring only) 6
Program Requirement DAR*H213 Addiction Counseling II 3

Total Credits: 64

Any given course may only be used to satisfy one of the competency areas even if it is listed under more than one.

1Mathematics selection from MAT*H135 for career degree students, or MAT*H167 for students intending to transfer.

2DAR*H251 and DAR*H252 must be completed in consecutive semesters.

MAT*H137 and courses numbered lower than MAT*H137 will not transfer to Connecticut State Universities as Quantitative Reasoning courses. ◊◊ At least one Scientific Knowledge and Understanding OR Scientific Reasoning course must have a lab component.

Upon successful completion of the DARC Program the graduate should be able to:

  1. Describe the physical, emotional and psychological basis of addiction
  2. Define the causes and characteristics of substance dependence and addiction relevant to various populations and cultures
  3. Define and apply counseling theories to addiction counseling including Adlerian, Existential, Person-Centered, Harm Reduction, Motivational Interviewing, Gestalt, Reality, Behavior, Cognitive Behavioral, Solution Focused, and Feminist perspectives
  4. Define, demonstrate and apply ethical principles and practices according to NAADAC, the CCB, and professional behavior for working directly in the counseling field
  5. Demonstrate knowledge and skills related to relapse prevention education and strategies
  6. Describe the categories of drugs and effects on psychological functioning
  7. Describe characteristics of individuals with co-occurring disorders and specific treatment strategies for working with this population
  8. Demonstrate the ability to develop, write and implement treatment plans for individuals with addiction and co-occurring disorders
  9. Co-facilitate group counseling sessions under supervision
  10. Describe the use of case management in the treatment of persons with addiction and co-occurring disorders
  11. Demonstrate ability to develop discharge plans for persons with addiction and co-occurring disorders
  12. Demonstrate understanding of the screening, intake and evaluation process in addiction and co-occurring disorders treatment
  13. Demonstrate ability to keep accurate records of group/individual process, treatment and discharge planning
  14. Describe and demonstrate skills involved in crisis intervention
  15. Describe the purpose and availability of self-help groups for persons with addiction/co-occurring disorders
  16. Describe the effects of substance abuse on the family, educational needs and stages of recovery for families
  17. Describe the stages of change model and its application to treatment of addiction and co-occurring disorders
  18. Describe the use of multicultural counseling skills to assessment, treatment and aftercare issues of persons of different gender, ethnicity, disability, adolescents, the elderly, GBLT and homeless
  19. Describe the transdisciplinary foundations and competencies required of addiction counselor (TAP 21)
  20. Describe the use of medication in the treatment of addiction and co-occurring disorders
  21. Demonstrate engagement in community service activities to educate others about the process, dangers and treatment of addiction
  22. Discuss the purpose of clinical supervision and participate in the supervision process
  23. Write a comprehensive case study based on a biopsychosocial assessment, including diagnosis, treatment plan goals and interventions acceptable for submission to the Connecticut Certification Board (CCB).

Certificate in Drug and Alcohol Recovery

Course No. Title Credits
DAR*H101 Public Health Issues in Abuse and Addiction 3
DAR*H111 Addiction Counseling I 3
DAR*H112 Group Counseling Theory and Techniques 3
DAR*H158 Biology of Addiction 3
DAR*H213 Addiction Counseling II 3
DAR*H251 Counseling Internship I 6
DAR *H220 Co-Occurring Counseling 3
DAR *H252 Counseling Internship II 6
Total Credit Hours 30

Program Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the DARC Certificate the successful graduate should be able to:

  1. Describe the physical, emotional and psychological basis of addiction
  2. Define the causes and characteristics of substance dependence and addiction relevant to various populations and cultures
  3. Define and apply counseling theories to addiction counseling including Adlerian, Existential, Person-Centered, Harm Reduction, Motivational Interviewing, Gestalt, Reality, Behavior, Cognitive Behavioral, Solution Focused, and Feminist perspectives
  4. Define, demonstrate and apply ethical principles and practices according to NAADAC, the CCB, and professional behavior for working directly in the counseling field
  5. Demonstrate knowledge and skills related to relapse prevention education and strategies
  6. Describe the categories of drugs and effects on psychological functioning
  7. Describe characteristics of individuals with co-occurring disorders and specific treatment strategies for working with this population
  8. Demonstrate the ability to develop, write and implement treatment plans for individuals with addiction and co-occurring disorders
  9. Co-facilitate group counseling sessions under supervision
  10. Describe the use of case management in the treatment of persons with addiction and co-occurring disorders
  11. Demonstrate ability to develop discharge plans for persons with addiction and co-occurring disorders
  12. Demonstrate understanding of the screening, intake and evaluation process in addiction and co-occurring disorders treatment
  13. Demonstrate ability to keep accurate records of group/individual process, treatment and discharge planning
  14. Describe and demonstrate skills involved in crisis intervention
  15. Describe the purpose and availability of self-help groups for persons with addiction/co-occurring disorders
  16. Describe the effects of substance abuse on the family, educational needs and stages of recovery for families
  17. Describe the stages of change model and its application to treatment of addiction and co-occurring disorders
  18. Describe the use of multicultural counseling skills to assessment, treatment and aftercare issues of persons of different gender, ethnicity, disability, adolescents, the elderly, GBLT and homeless
  19. Describe the transdisciplinary foundations and competencies required of addiction counselor (TAP 21)
  20. Describe the use of medication in the treatment of addiction and co-occurring disorders
  21. Demonstrate engagement in community service activities to educate others about the process, dangers and treatment of addiction
  22. Discuss the purpose of clinical supervision and participate in the supervision process
  23. Write a comprehensive case study based on a biopsychosocial assessment, including diagnosis, treatment plan goals and interventions acceptable for submission to the Connecticut Certification Board (CCB).

Currently there are no related workforce training courses available for this program.
Certificate Programs

Certificate Programs

The DARC Certificate can be completed in 1 ½ or 2 years by completing the core DARC courses (DAR H101, DAR H111, DAR H112, DAR H158) in spring and completing the internship and remaining classes in the next academic year. All DARC courses (DAR*H101, H111, H112, H158, H213, H220) are open to any student at the college, provided they pass the prerequisite of ENG*H063 or ENG*H096 with a C or better or test into ENG H101. The internship runs fall/spring of each academic year.

Employment

Students with a DARC Certificate are highly sought after for entry level opportunities as substance abuse counselors in public and private agencies such as community and residential health facilities, local hospitals, prevention organizations, youth service agencies, and criminal justice system. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (2016-17 Ed.), employment of addiction counselors is expected to grow by 22 percent from 2014- 2024, much faster than average as addiction counseling services are increasingly covered by insurance. Connecticut is considered one of the states with the highest concentration of jobs in this field with a mean average wage of $46, 920.

DARC- Related Programs

Student Success


Where does this take me?

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Academic & Transfer

Students who complete their Associates Degree in DARC can transfer to any of the four Connecticut State Universities through the Guaranteed Admissions Program. To be eligible, you must complete your associate degree in five (5) years or less with a 2.0 grade point average and must transfer within 2 years of completion of the associate degree. Post University accepts the DARC degree as a minor in their Human Services bachelor’s degree. Students in their final semester are provided information on transferring to bachelors or graduate degree programs. Students can transfer into any NASAC bachelor’s addiction studies degree program at the junior level.

Career Paths

Students who complete the DARC degree are highly sought after to work in the addictions field. Employment of substance abuse counselors is expected to grow 22% from 2014 through 2024, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 Edition. Employment opportunities exist in private agencies, hospitals, prevention organizations, residential, inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities, mental health organizations and the criminal justice system. Positions which graduates from the DARC program are hired, include the following positions:

  • Addictions Counselor
  • Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Substance Abuse Technician
  • Substance Abuse Case Manager
  • Counselor I
  • Counselor II

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