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 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 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.

Information about the Substance Use Disorder Degree

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

Persons may enter the SUD 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 (SUDP).

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 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 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 (SUDP) 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 an SUDP. 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 an SUDP.

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

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) prior to attendance in any SUD Program classes and/or assignments.
  3. Persons in recovery from substance use 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 an SUDP prior to completing any of the three components required for certification. Treatment facilities usually refer to those individuals as Substance Use Disorder Professional in Training (SUDPT).

Please feel free to contact the Department Chair at 509.834.4541 if you have any questions or would like to talk about entering the Substance Use Disorder Program.

Applications and additional information for Substance Use Disorder professional trainee (SUDPT) 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

Program learning outcomes for the Substance Use Disorder Studies AAS and Certificate:

  • Identify diagnostic criteria, apply assessment skills, and describe scientifically validated models of substance use disorder treatment.
  • Identify the behavioral, psychological, physical health, and social effects of psychoactive substances on the person and their significant others.
  • Explain the potential for medical and mental health conditions to coexist with substance use disorder.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the laws, regulations, and ethical codes of the substance use disorder treatment profession.
  • Practice in an internship the eight addiction counselor practice dimensions: clinical evaluation; treatment planning; referral; service coordination; counseling; client, family, community education; documentation; professional and ethical responsibilities. (AAS only)

Individuals who must satisfy background checks requirements under chapters 388-71, 388-101, 388-106, 388-76, 388-78A, 388-97, 388-825, 388-115, and 388-107 WAC must not work in a position that may involve unsupervised access to minors or vulnerable adults if the individual has been convicted of or has a pending charge for any of the these crimes.


Deniele Fleming MS, SUDPDepartment Chair/Instructor
Yakima Campus
Deccio Bldg 8, Room 223
Phone: 509.834.4541

Program Mailing Address

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