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Substance Use Disorder

Preparing students to work in the field of substance use disorder counseling.

The Substance Use Disorder (SUD) program is committed to preparing a diverse population of students to work in the field of substance use disorder 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 Substance Use Disorder Studies prepares students to work in the field of substance abuse counseling. Graduates will meet Washington State’s educational requirements for Department of Health certification as a Substance Use Disorder Studies 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.

Substance Use Disorder Studies, AAS

The SUD AAS Degree (90 credits) is primarily aimed at students who do not already have a college degree or any other college credits. Its 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

Substance Use Disorder Studies Certificate

The SUD 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 SUD courses (10 more credits than the 45 required by the WAC) the total number of additional non-SUD related credits required by the WAC drops to 35. Adding the 35 non-SUD related credits to the 55 SUD related credits equals a total of 90 credits, the total required by the WAC. The SUD Studies Program at YVC requires the non-SUD related credits to be at the 100 level or higher.

Degree Requirements

Information about the Substance Use Disorder Degree

The Substance Use Disorder (SUD) 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. Substance Use Disorder Professionals) provide the treatment and care of those individuals.

Persons may enter the SUD 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 SUD 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 Substance Use Disorder 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 Substance Use Disorder Professionals.

The educational component of the Washington State Administrative Code (WAC) says the SUD 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 SUD topics. The topics are outlined in the WAC. The Substance Use Disorder 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 Substance Use Disorder Professional. Two courses of study are offered – the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Degree in Substance Use Disorder 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 Substance Use Disorder Professional (SUD) 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 SUD. 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 SUD.

The third and final component required by the WAC for counselor certification is the 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 Substance Use Disorder Professional. A copy of the WAC is available here.

The Department of Health can be reached at:

Department of Health
Substance Use Disorder Professionals Program
P.O. Box 47869
Olympia, WA
Kris Waidely

All students admitted to the Substance Use Disorder 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 SUD 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 SUDP 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 Substance Use Disorder Studies Program.

Applications and additional information for Substance Use Disorder 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


Deniele Fleming MS, SUDPProgram Coordinator
Yakima Campus
Lyon Hall
Building 30, Room 182
Phone: 509.574.4741
Brittni PackardProgram Assistant
Yakima Campus
Technology Complex
Building 24, Room 100
Phone: 509.574.6810
Gerard Z. Dombrowski, MS, SUDPProgram Coordinator
Yakima Campus
Lyon Hall
Building 30, Room 182
Phone: 509.901.1600


Deniele Fleming MS, SUDPProgram Lead: Administrative Focus
Sundown M Ranch
Elizabeth Boelter, MA, SUDPFaculty
Sundown M Ranch
Cindy Brown, SUDPFaculty
Comprehensive Healthcare
Gerard Z. Dombrowski, MS, SUDPProgram Lead: Student Focus
Comprehensive Healthcare

Program Mailing Address

Substance Use Disorder Studies
Yakima Valley College
PO Box 22520
Yakima, WA 98907-2520