Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Training for Addictions Professionals

Rio Salado College is one of Arizona’s top educators of addictions counseling professionals, offering online classes, certificates and an associate degree in addiction and substance use disorders.

The classes meet continuing education requirements for professionals in the addictions counseling field.

Dr. Kirk Bowden, faculty chair
“Rio Salado is the only community college in Maricopa County designed to offer classes that meet academic requirements for licensing through the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners,” said Dr. Kirk Bowden, faculty chair for the college’s addictions and substance use disorders program.

While the program is geared to professionals in the field, Bowden said many students are simply interested in the subject matter.

“A large number of our students are parents, teachers and social workers, who, through their daily lives and jobs, encounter people with addiction issues,” Bowden said. “They take our program because they want to know more about addiction.”

No matter the reason for choosing Rio Salado’s program, Bowden said all students benefit from the quality of instruction.

“We have a lot of highly-qualified faculty who are experts in the field,” Bowden said. “For example, one adjunct is the author of a textbook that is used nationally and another works as a policy writer for President Obama.”

Bowden himself is well known in the field, and begins a term as president of NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals, in October.

“I hope to interact with professionals in the field to support them and work with legislators to help establish standards for addictions counselors and educators,” Bowden said, noting the importance of making change at both the policy and grass roots levels.

“There is an ongoing problem with addiction in this country, and that is why addictions counseling remains one of the top growth professions,” Bowden said. “We are committed to educating the next generation of addictions counselors.”

Rio student Angelique Michel
Rio Salado student Angelique Michel has already earned two certificates in addiction and substance use disorders, and is studying for her associate degree.

“I chose to attend Rio Salado because the staff is fantastic, especially the peer mentors,” Michel said. “Because of the program, I have learned about the kind of counselor I want to be.”

Michel plans to transfer to Arizona State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in social work.

“As for my future, I see eventually opening my own practice in order to help those who are suffering from substance abuse,” Michel said.

The desire to help others is a common trait among people who enter the field.

Rio student Louise K. Wilson
“Studying the human mind and behavior is one of the most fascinating subjects on earth,” said Louise K. Wilson, a recent Rio Salado graduate who decided to go back to school at age 61. “To be able to communicate and help people is something I have been committed to for as long as I can remember.”

Wilson put her education on hold after high school to raise her family, which now includes four children and eight grandchildren.

“This is the beginning of a new chapter in my life,” Wilson said. “I am so grateful that my college certificate will aid me in assisting others through their pain, especially those who have been affected by the rise in addiction and substance abuse.”

For additional information about Rio Salado’s Behavioral Health/Addictions and Substance Use Disorders program, visit www.riosalado.edu/ASD or call Academic Advisement at 480-517-8580.

By Mira Radovich, Communications Coordinator at Rio Salado College