Skip to Content


You have courses in your cart

Develop the skills to promote successful delivery of substance use disorders.

Program Type

Professional Development

Semester Start

Fall, Spring, Summer

Study Options

Online, Remote

Minimum Duration

1-2 years

UMass Boston’s Addictions Counselor Education Program Certificate focuses on helping you develop the professional skills to promote evidence-based treatment of Substance Use Disorders. It’s designed for treatment professionals—from direct care counselors to program directors—who want to hone their skills, add a certification to their résumé, and prepare for the licensure/certification exam. Explore the use of alcohol and other drugs in society, as well as the delivery of treatment and counseling services. Apply these skills to your work in counseling individuals with a substance use disorder. You also have the option to attend a two-day workshop on preparing for the licensure/certification exam.

Please note: After application submission

  • All applicants to the Addiction Counseling Education Program must be interviewed by the Program Director or Student Advisor prior to acceptance.
  • An Advisory Form will be given to the applicant upon acceptance so that they may monitor the courses they have completed towards the Certificate.

View Spring 2024 ACEP Courses

Affiliated with:

Modern Assistance Employee Assistance Program Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission Edwina Martin House
Grayken Center for Addiction: Boston Medical Center NALGAP: The Assoc. of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Addiction Professionals & Their Allies Middlesex Human Service Agency, Inc.
Gavin Foundation Recovery Homes Collaborative of MassachusettsMassachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery


  • This program consists of eight courses and a practicum course.
  • Students earn CEUs upon successful completion of the program.
  • The course fee is $600 each, except the practicum, which is $1,300.
  • There is a review course for the LADC exam that is $150.
  • These fees do not include the cost of books.
  • Students may choose to complete the program entirely online, remote, or a combination of the two.
  • Total estimated cost to complete this program is $5,700.
  • Estimate is based on completing program by minimum duration. Request Info to connect with a program representative for further details.

Admission Requirements

  • A high school diploma or the equivalent
  • Completed application form
  • Interview with an ACEP representative
  • This program reserves the right to review past transcripts to be sure that previous course work aligns with current program standards and the LADC requirements

Apply Here

New Students - Take These Three Courses First:

  • ACDTSP 001 - Use of Alcohol & Other Substances in Society
  • ACDTSP 002 - The Role of the Professional Counselor Treating Substance Use Disorders 
  • ACDTSP 003 - Counseling Clients With Substance Use Disorders 

How to Register for Individual Courses

Simply click the "Register" link below a course, then click the “Add to cart” button found to the right of each individual course listing or at the top of the course description page.

View Spring 2024 ACEP Courses

Required Courses:

  • Use of Alcohol and Other Substances in Society (ACDTSP001)
    The main emphasis of this course is to provide an overview of the impact of drug use in our society. Discussions will review the pharmacological, cultural, social, and contextual factors. Readings and assignments will describe all phases of substance use and the biopsychosocial impact on the individual and the community at large. Evidence based research will be reviewed and primary, secondary and tertiary prevention in the treatment of SUDs will be analyzed.
    This course is designed for clinicians, case managers, recovery coaches, criminal justice specialists, reentry planners, reentry coaches, and peer support specialists.
  • The Role of the Professional Counselor Treating Substance Use Disorders (ACDTSP002)
    This course will assist students to develop a skill set needed to treat clients with Substance Use Disorders (SUDS). Intense focus on will be on assessment, treatment planning and case management – considered to be fundamental knowledge for inpatient and outpatient settings.
    Ethical dilemmas will be discussed with a review of the theoretical knowledge needed to make appropriate clinical decisions when faced with challenging ethical situations.
  • Counseling Clients with Substance Use Disorders (ACDTSP003)
    This course will review evidence-based techniques for the successful treatment of persons with substance use disorders. There will be a specific focus on cognitive-behavioral and motivational strategies.
  • Neurochemistry and Psychopharmacology of Substances of Use (ACDTSP005)
    This course will provide an introduction to the Neurochemistry of the brain, basic anatomy and physiology and the pharmacological effects of Sedative-Hypnotics, Stimulants, Opiates, Antidepressants, Antipsychotics, Psychedelics and Cannabis. In addition, medications used to treat Substance Use Disorders (SUDs) will be reviewed.
  • Family and Group Treatment of Substance Use Disorders (ACDTSP006)
    This course examines the changes that occur throughout the family unit when substance use is present in one of the members. Various family systems models will be reviewed with attention to the disruption of homeostasis, family rules, rituals, common characteristics, and family accommodations to disruptions. This course will also examine how groups form and the benefits of both family and group treatment. This course reviews various types of Group Therapy and the important role that it plays in recovery. Skills and techniques are practiced.
  • Capstone Practicum (ACDTSP007)
    A weekly university remote course with a 300 hour on site requirement in a facility that provides treatment to individuals in variety of settings. You register for this course to take in conjunction with the 300 hour Capstone Practicum experience. It provides weekly course supervision from a University faculty member while you are on site in a supervised learning experience. The Practicum should be in a licensed treatment facility or agency that provides treatment to individuals with a Substance Use Disorder. In addition to University Faculty supervision, this course includes peer consultation, journal review, 12 Core Function review and discussion of best practice interventions.
  • Criminal Justice and Substance Use Disorders (ACDTSP018)
    This course will identify the treatment needs for individuals in the Criminal Justice system and investigate the issues and barriers that affect treatment. It will explore how the counselor can incorporate and partner with the Criminal Justice system for effective treatment for the client. Court function and alternatives to incarceration models will be described. Assessment and Treatment Planning will also be discussed. The skill set of preparing and writing reports, assessments, and evaluations will be reviewed, emphasizing how valuable information assists in determining Criminal Justice sanctions.
    This course is designed for those working in the substance use field as clinicians, case managers, recovery coaches, criminal justice specialists, reentry planners, reentry coaches, and peer support specialists.
  • Substance Use Disorders & Co-Occurring Mental Health Illnesses (ACDTSP044)
    This course will identify research-oriented strategies to effectively integrate the treatment of substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health illnesses. We will examine the correlation of mental health and substance use disorders. A major focus will be to recognize signs and symptoms of both disorders and best practice in simultaneous treatment.


Donna McCarten White was the former Director of Addiction Services for the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, a Public Health Hospital for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She is the former Chief Operating Officer and Nurse Executive at Worcester State Hospital. In addition, she was the Director of the DMH and Harvard University Commonwealth Research and Evaluation Unit. In the past she was the Director of Nursing and the Director of Chemical Dependency Services and the Dual Diagnosis Program at Pembroke Psychiatric Hospital.

She is a graduate of Boston City Hospital School of Nursing and earned a BSN from Curry College in 1985. In addition, she completed graduate studies at the University of Massachusetts/Boston, is a licensed drug and alcohol counselor with an additional certification in advanced Drug and Alcohol Counseling, is certified in Chemical Dependency and Addictions Nursing, and certified by the ANCC as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Public Health. She is a Board Certified Fellow in the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. In 2015, she was inducted as a Fellow in the International Nurses Society on Addictions.

Dr. White is the 2006 recipient of the Peer Assistance Award from IntNSA and in 2007 was the first recipient of the Fong-Bressler Award for Outstanding Preceptorship in the Graduate Program for the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions. MNA awarded her the Addictions Nursing Award in 2009. In October, 2010, she was recognized by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with the award of Champion of Public Health. In May, 2011, she was awarded the Nancy Valentine Leadership Award from the New England Chapter of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association and in 2013, she was voted Mentor of the Year by the International Nurses Society of Addiction Nurses. In 2014, she was given the Heart of Nursing Award from the University of Massachusetts/Boston Sigma Theta Tau Chapter. Donna is the author of an Addictions Competency Based Program in the Department of Public Health Hospital where she now consults. She has many publications to her credit and recently co-authored a chapter on Addictions in a Psychiatric textbook. In addition, she was part of a video production addressing suicide in adolescents in Massachusetts. In 2017, she was the recipient of the Fred French Award for Lifetime Excellence in the field of Addictions from C4 Foundation. She was also given the Educator of the Year Award by the InterNational Society of Addictions Nurses in October, 2018, and in November 2018, she was awarded the Labor Activist Award for advocating for people in recovery in the workplace. She received the Frances Slanger Award from the Boston City Hospital Alumni Association on October 5th, 2018 and the Mentor Award from the Massachusetts Nurses Association at their Convention on October 18, 2019. The University of Massachusetts Boston awarded her the Beacon of Courage Award in 2020 for her work in the field of Addiction and Substance Use Disorders. In January, 2022, the Massachusetts Association of Addiction Counselors awarded her the Educator of the Year Award. Currently, she is the Director of the Addictions Counselor Education Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Dr. White is the statewide Chairperson of the MNA Addictions Council, and oversees the Peer Assistant Program for Professionals seeking help in recovery.  She is certified by the Green Cross Foundation as an educator and therapist in Compassion Fatigue concerns and is a specialist in Addictive Disorders, Compassion Fatigue and Vicarious Traumatization in Healthcare Professionals. In addition, she is a member of the International Trauma Specialists Dr. White is a Clinical Instructor for Boston Area Colleges…graduate NP programs as well as baccalaureate level for Community Health Clinical work and is a Visiting Scholar for local Colleges of Nursing and other Professional Programs of study. In addition, she previously provided oversight for the clinical practicums of counseling students and consulted to department chairs for all medical/professional clinical experience rotations at the Shattuck Hospital. She has lectured at many facilities and agencies nationwide and is a recognized leader in the field of Addictions, Impaired Practice and Peer Assistance, as well as Healthcare Professional Stress. She also volunteers on the Apache Reservation in Arizona to work with Tribal People in the education of Substance Use Disorders.

Michael Gamsby, LICSW, LADCI, CCFC, is the Program Director and a clinician at Modern Assistance. He is a mental health and substance abuse counselor and has worked in the behavioral health field for the past 8 years. Michael was previously a clinician at Pembroke Hospital. He brings unique experience to Modern Assistance having spent 16 years working in the high-tech field, primarily with start-ups in sales, marketing roles, and executive leadership roles.

Michael holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Simmons College and Bachelor of Science in Biology and Environmental Studies from Tufts University. He is a licensed independent social worker, licensed alcohol and drug counselor, and a certified clinical forensics counselor. Michael is an instructor for continuing education classes for the Addiction Counselor Education Program at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Kathleen M Bambrick, LICSW, has been an instructor in the ACEP program at the University of Massachusetts over 10 years. She has taught a variety of courses including Counseling, Use and Abuse, Psychopharmacology, Family Treatment, and the Practicum course. She is also the Director of Training and Staff Development at Aspire Health Alliance. She has years of both clinical and teaching experience in the field treating and training on behavioral health disorders. She specializes in trauma and substance use disorders. She is also Mental Health First Aid instructor and trains both in the community and in public safety and law enforcement.

John E. Christian, Ed.M., LMHC, LADC I, CADC, SAP, CCFC is currently President and CEO of the Modern Assistance Programs, Inc. Modern Assistance is an employee assistance provider for several trade unions and private businesses in the Greater Boston area and throughout New England. Mr. Christian was formerly the Director of Social Services for the Homeless Services bureau of the Boston Public Health Commission where he oversaw vocational rehabilitation programs, adult education, and prisoner reentry services at the Long Island Shelter. He has been in the human services field since 1993. Mr. Christian is a licensed mental health counselor in Massachusetts, a licensed and certified alcoholism and drug abuse counselor in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, a substance abuse professional for the Department of Transportation, and is a certified clinical forensics counselor. He is a member of the board of directors of Edwina Martin House, a recovery home for women. He is an instructor for continuing education classes for the Addiction Counselor Education Program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and a course coach at the Harvard Kennedy School. Mr. Christian holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Edward Cosgrove received his doctorate in Molecular Biology from The Ohio State University in 1971. And then rose to the rank of Full Professor at Boston State College/University of Massachusetts Boston. Dr. Cosgrove left teaching to work at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health where he ran the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program and rose to the rank of Assistant Commissioner. He then moved to The Boston Children’s Hospital as a Research Administrator. He is now semi-retired but continues to consult at Boston Children’s in the research labs of the Departments of Cardiology and Neuroscience.

Dr. Cosgrove has continued his teaching career at Northeastern University and the University of Massachusetts Boston. At UMass/Boston, Dr. Cosgrove has taught Psychopharmacology since 1978 at the undergraduate and graduate levels in both face-to-face and on-line formats. At Northeastern University he has taught Microbiology and Medical Microbiology since 1976 in The College of Professional Studies and in The School of Pharmacy.

Dr. Cosgrove has been an elected member of the Needham, Massachusetts Board of Health since 1996 and is presently serving as chair. The Needham Board of Health has been a leader in Community Drug and Alcohol Prevention and currently holds several grants including a Drug Free Communities grant from SAMHSA. Needham has also been a nationwide leader in Tobacco Control and Education. It is recognized as the first Board of Health in the Nation to raise the legal age for the purchase of tobacco and tobacco products to 21 years. Recently, Needham has been a statewide leader in the development of regulations regarding the production and sale of medicinal Cannabis and Cannabis containing products.

Dr. Cosgrove is a founding board member of the Public Health Museum in Tewksbury and served several years as President. He is also a member of the American Society for Microbiology and serves on the Executive Board of the Massachusetts Association of Health Boards and the National Association of Local Boards of Health. Dr Cosgrove served as a member of the Advisory Committee on Local and Regional Health appointed by The Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Kevin A Davis has worked in the substance use disorder treatment field for more than 20 years, with a focus in substance use disorder treatment counseling, workforce development, and management. Kevin has served Director of Operation with The Dimock Center in Roxbury, MA, where he oversaw the operations of men’s and women residential programs, a detoxification center, and financial billing for behavioral health programs. Kevin has also served as the Director of Operations for STRIVE, a community-based workforce development agency in the Codman Square area in Dorchester, MA. In addition, Kevin has served as the Executive Director of Span, Inc., located in downtown Boston, which provided reintegration support and services to men and women who had been incarcerated.

Kevin’s recent career focus has been in the substance use disorder treatment space of Section 35 Civil commitments. Kevin had been employed as the Program Director at High Point’s Men’s Addiction Treatment Center (MATC) in Brockton, MA. MATC provides court mandated substance use disorder detoxification and stabilization treatment services for men under Section 35 Civil Commitment orders. He is currently employed as the Program Director of the Recovery from Addictions Program (RAP) for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health in Taunton, MA. RAP provides court mandated substance use disorder detoxification and stabilization treatment services for men and women under Section 35 Civil Commitment orders.

Kevin holds a BS in Human Services, with a concentration in Addiction Studies, from Springfield College and a MS in Human Services, with a concentration in Management and Organizational Leadership, from Springfield College. Kevin is a licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC I) and a Clinically Certified Forensic Counselor (CCFC). He is currently enrolled in a doctoral degree program at Northcentral University. Upon the completion of the program, Kevin will receive his Ph.D. in Addiction Psychology. Kevin is also an adjunct Professor for Springfield College and an instructor in the UMass Boston Addiction Counseling Education Program.

Katy McGarty Dirks, MEd, LMHC, CADC teaches Family and Alcoholism/Chemical Dependency Treatment in the Addiction Counselor Education Program. Katy is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselor who works with individuals, couples, families and groups to help them reach their goals of recovery from mental health and/or substance use. Katy has worked in many environments including residential treatment, community mental health, drug court and integrative medical practices.

Katy is certified in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) and this is the foundation of her practice though she integrates components of Motivational Interviewing (MI), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Internal Family Systems (IFS), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Solution Focused Brief Therapy and other modalities during treatment. She believes firmly that we are innately programmed with the capacity to heal both physically and psychologically and that strengthening the mind-body connection is essential to the journey.

Katy received her ACEP certificate from UMass Boston and her Master in Education in Counseling Psychology degree from Cambridge College. She is currently in private practice at Holistic Healing Practitioners in Natick, Massachusetts.

William R Drinkwater, M.Ed, CADC-II, LADC-I, LLC
Specialties: Working with substance abuse/co-occurring disordered clients. Educating their family and friends and disseminating information on the available resources. In addition, I present workshops & lectures on substance abuse & co-occurring disorders, and teach at UMASS-Boston & Cambridge College in their Addiction Counselor Education & Graduate Programs. (

Joe Kelleher has almost 30 years of experience in the Substance Addiction treatment field. His experience covers a wide range of expertise. His first full-time position in the field was at Hope House in Boston as Business Manager. Prior to that, he was working in the accounting department of Badger Engineers, a subsidiary of Raytheon. He worked as Business Manager until 2000.

After that, Joe went to work as Program Director of Sullivan House, a 24-bed recovery home for men which is part of Middlesex Human Service Agency. In 2004, Joe returned to Hope House as Clinical Director. During this time, Hope House transitioned from its longtime home in the South End to a new facility in lower Roxbury. Since 2011, he has also held a position as an instructor in the Alcohol Counselor Education Program at UMass Boston.

In 2011, Joe went to work at the Gavin Foundation in South Boston as Business Manager. When the Gavin Foundation took over Hamilton House in Dorchester in 2015, Joe was asked to take over as Program Director, and he stayed in that position until 2019, when he moved to Cushing House, the Gavin Foundation programs for adolescents as Clinical Director. He stayed there until the program was forced to shut down due to the decline in the number of clients. He is currently serving as Clinical Director at Granada House in Allston, a 22-bed coed recovery home.

Joe has also been involved in many substance abuse treatment related organizations in the community. He currently serves as president of the Massachusetts Association of Alcohol and Drug Counselors, and is also treasurer for the Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery.

Elizabeth Souffront, PhD
Dr. Souffront is a licensed psychologist with 40 years of clinical experience in the field. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings such as: community mental health clinics, federal correctional institutions, day shelter for homeless adults and private outpatient settings. In most of these settings, she has provided a combination of direct services, program development and staff clinical and administrative supervision. Dr. Souffront has extensive experience in addiction treatment. She designed and was responsible for outpatient substance abuse programming at FCI Fort Dix (Federal Correctional Institution). She also was the clinical director at St. Francis House, a day shelter for homeless adults that served a severe co-occurring population. She has been responsible for design, implementation and clinical supervision of programs and staff. Dr. Souffront is also part time faculty at Bridgewater School of Social Work (Bridgewater State University) and at the Addictions Certificate Program at University of Massachusetts, Boston. She teaches addiction treatment to undergraduate, graduate and counseling students. She also provides clinical consulting to several organizations. She currently maintains a private practice providing individual and couples therapy.

At the completion of your courses and practicum, you’ll be awarded a professional certificate in Addictions Counselor Education. The certificate will demonstrate your expertise in the field on your résumé, as well as in interviews and workplace evaluations. This certificate helps prepare you for the licensure/certification exam. You also have the option to attend a two-day workshop on preparing for the licensure/certification exam. 

Credentials & Licensure
For any information about licensing or credentialing, please contact your licensing or credentialing boards.

Contact state substance abuse credentialing boards for work hour and CEU requirements, as well as current policies regarding acceptance of online educational hours.

Why UMass Boston Online?


Among the lowest online tuition rates of an accredited, public research university.


Study full-time to finish fast, or part-time to suit your schedule. Live sessions scheduled with the working professional in mind.


The same courses taught by the same academic departments as on campus. No third-party providers.

Learn More

Get the inside scoop on the program and connect with the people who run it.

Addictions Counselor Education Program

Learn More