Applications for training offered through Palomar College are open now through June 28 or until full.

Embark on a rewarding journey to become a certified substance use disorder counselor with CADTP through our flexible training program. Benefit from comprehensive online training and a hybrid option that combines online learning with valuable in-person components. Our program offers free tuition covering both training formats, along with registration and certification fees. Start working in the field while completing your education and credential requirements over the next 18 months. 

We offer two program pathways, an accelerated program that runs six months and one that runs over 18 months.  

Become a registered substance use counselor today and begin working while completing your education and credential requirements over the next six or more months. We will provide you with free tuition for an online training program, plus registration and certification fees, with an approved credentialing body.

What is a substance use counselor? 

A substance use counselor provides professional support to people who are dealing with substance use and co-occuring mental health disorders. Substance use counselors work in a variety of settings including, but not limited to, mental health centers, community health centers, prisons and private practices. Substance use counselors ensure that clients and their loved ones are given access to the resources and support necessary for their recovery.  

Why become a substance use counselor? 

Being a substance use counselor is a rewarding and fast-growing career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 24.7% employment growth for substance use counselors and behavioral disorder counselors between 2019 and 2029. 

Why choose our program?

Training sessions are conducted both online and in person, contingent upon your designated school. We’ll assist fully virtual and at your own pace, and we’ll assist with your job search and placement to help you gain meaningful, full-time employment while completing your education requirements. Click here to discover more about the program and view cohort start dates.

Questions? Email us at or give us a call at (619) 319-WORK (9675).

Who It's For

  • Ages 18+
  • Has a high school diploma or GED
  • Lives in and plans to work in the County of San Diego
  • Fully vaccinated (two shots + booster)
  • Individuals in recovery or with lived experience are highly encouraged to apply

UC San Diego Extended Studies

  • Fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (two shots + booster)
  • Cannot be dual enrolled in any another education or training program
  • Need to have been sober for one year

This program offers help:

  • With starting school or a certificate program
  • Finding a long-term job
  • Learning new job skills
  • Starting a career in behavioral health

How to Apply

Applications for training offered through Palomar College are open now through June 28 or until full. Complete an application to begin enrollment. It usually takes 10–15 minutes to complete. After submission, you will receive an email with supplemental questions. Once that is submitted, our team will contact you about next steps.

When applications are closed, we invite you to review our programs list page to see which programs are actively enrolling participants, sign up for a workshop or stop by a career center. Questions or need more information? Contact or call (619) 319-WORK (9675).

Apply Now

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Read about participant experiences with the program:

Program fills behavioral health worker shortage with lived experience: Anaisa Flores’ journey

After struggling with her own behavioral health and substance use, Anaisa Flores got connected with the Workforce Partnership’s Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Counselor Training program. With 315 hours of education completed, Anaisa tells about her plans for certification, graduate school and why lived experience is a strength, not a weakness.

Uche 16:9
Healthcare specialist finds the right fit in behavioral health

Uche Uzo is currently working towards becoming a certified substance use disorder counselor. As a mother of three with a deployed husband, Uzo shares with us what it truly means to be of service to others.