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​Chemical Dependency

Preparing students to work in the field of chemical dependency counseling.

The Chemical Dependency (CD) Studies program is committed to preparing a diverse population of students to work in the field of chemical dependency counseling. The program values and emphasizes student-centered learning, fosters community partnerships, and is dedicated to offering essential skills to empower students for successful, professional career placement.

Open Enrollment

Students may enter the program at any time throughout the school year.

Degree and Certificate

The Associate of Applied Science Degree in Chemical Dependency Studies prepares students to work in the field of chemical dependency counseling. Graduates will meet Washington State’s educational requirements for Department of Health certification as a Chemical Dependency Professional.

For students who have a minimum of a two-year degree or have earned 35 college-level credits, the certificate-only program may be appropriate for you.

Chemical Dependency Studies, AAS

The AAS Degree (90 credits) is primarily aimed at students who do not already have a college degree or any other college credits. It’s intent is to fully meet the educational requirements of the WAC while also providing students with a well-rounded program utilizing as many as possible transfer credits. The degree is a combination of courses specific to chemical dependency and courses from Arts and Sciences.

Degree Requirements

Chemical Dependency Studies Certificate

The Certificate Program (55 credits) is aimed at students who have already earned a minimum of a two-year degree, or those who have earned 35 other college credits in courses not covered by the certificate program. Because the certificate has 55 credits specific to CD courses (10 more credits than the 45 required by the WAC) the total number of additional non-CD related credits required by the WAC drops to 35. Adding the 35 non-CD related credits to the 55 CD related credits equals a total of 90 credits, the total required by the WAC. The CD Studies Program at YVC requires the non-CD related credits be at the 100 level or higher.

Degree Requirements

Information about the Chemical Dependency Degree

The Chemical Dependency Studies Program (CD) offers an entry-level vocational program designed to train you in assessment, treatment, and referral of individuals afflicted with addiction to alcohol and other mood or mind altering chemical. Chemical Dependency Professionals (CDP’s) provide the treatment and care of those individuals.

Persons may enter the CD Studies Program at the start of any quarter if they have completed a minimum of a high school diploma or GED. Groups of students do not start and complete the program together. Classes are open-ended with new students and former students attending classes at the same time. All CD specific courses are offered once a year (including summer quarter) and most are scheduled in the evenings on the Yakima campus of YVC.

Certification of Chemical Dependency Professionals is governed by Chapter 246-811 of the Washington State Administrative Code (WAC) and administered by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). The certification process is divided into three components. Persons must meet educational requirements, experience requirements, and pass an exam administered by the Department of Health. Persons who meet all three of the components of the WAC are certified by the DOH as Chemical Dependency Professionals.

The educational component of the Washington State Administrative Code (WAC) says the CD Professional must have a minimum of an Associate Degree or successful completion of 90 quarter credits. All persons seeking certification must have a minimum of 45 credits covering specific CD topics. The topics are outlined in the WAC. The CD Studies Program at YVC covers all of the topics outlined in the WAC and therefore meets all of the educational requirements for certification as a Chemical Dependency Professional. Two courses of study are offered – the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree in Chemical Dependency Studies and the Certificate Program.

The Washington State Administrative Code (WAC) titles its second component of counselor certification as “experience”. The experience requires persons to work under the supervision of a Certified Chemical Dependency Professional (CDP) in a Washington State licensed treatment facility. The number of hours required during the experience is dependent upon the highest level of education already attained by the individual at the onset of the experience. Persons with fewer educational credentials are required to do more hours than persons with a higher level of education. Persons with a two-year degree or the 90-credit equivalent must complete a minimum 2500 hours of experience for eligibility as a CDP. The WAC has very specific guidelines governing the experience component that must be adhered to by both the individual and the treatment facility. The experience component is not completed at YVC. However, the YVC curriculum does include a Service Learning element requiring students to spend time in a licensed treatment facility under the direct supervision of a CDP.

The third and final component required by the WAC for counselor certification is successful passing of an examination administered by the DOH. Persons who have completed all of the academic and experience requirements submit their documentation to the DOH. The DOH reviews the documentation and determines whether or not the requirements have been met. If the requirements have been met, the individual is eligible to take the exam for Certification as a Chemical Dependency Professional. A copy of the WAC is available here.

The Department of Health can be reached at:

Department of Health
Chemical Dependency Professionals Program
P.O. Box 47869
Olympia, WA
Kris Waidely

All students admitted to the Chemical Dependency Studies Program or taking courses in the program are expected to comply with the following standards:

  1. Abstinence from the misuse of alcohol and/or other chemical substances.
  2. No alcohol and no other drug use (except drugs prescribed by your physician) immediately prior to attendance in CD Studies Program classes or assignments.
  3. Persons in recovery from addiction must remain free of alcohol and other drugs (except those prescribed by your physician) at all times.

Employers may require a Washington State background check as a condition of employment. Information received as a result of the background check may determine employment eligibility.

The Washington State Administrative Code (WAC) allows persons to begin working in the treatment field under the direct supervision of a CDP prior to completing any of the three components required for certification. Treatment facilities usually refer to those individuals as Counselor Interns.

Please feel free to contact the Program Coordinator, at 509.574.4741 if you have any questions or would like to talk about entering the Chemical Dependency Studies Program.

Applications and additional information for Chemical Dependency professional trainee can be obtained from the Department Of Health Professional Licensing Services Division.

Mailing Address:
PO Box 47869
Olympia, WA 98504-7869
Phone: 360.236.4700

Gainful Employment Disclosures


Mike BurkeProgram Coordinator
Yakima Campus
Lyon Hall
Building 30, Room 182
Phone: 509.574.4741
Cathy Van WinsenProgram Assistant
Yakima Campus
Technology Complex
Building 24, Room 100
Phone: 509.574.4796

Mailing Address

Chemical Dependency Studies
Yakima Valley College
Lyon Hall
PO Box 22520
Yakima, WA  98907-2520


Mike Burke, CDP
Family Program at Sundown M Ranch

Elizabeth Boelter, CDP
Masters in Psychology

Cindy Brown, CDP, CWCMH

Gerald Dombrowski, CDP, MSAC
Triumph Treatment Services

Mark Loes, CDP, MBA

Joel Tannehill, CDP
Student Programs Coordinator, Merit Resource Services