Addictions / Mental Health

What to expect from a career in Addictions and Mental Health Therapy

Addictions and mental health issues affect a growing number of Canadians each year. Students in addictions and mental health programs at Ontario colleges learn the necessary skills to provide support, understand behaviours and provide treatment. Using theory and firsthand experience, graduates have a full understanding of how mental health and addiction problems affect different populations.

If you are patient, mature and passionate about helping people and are interested in a career in the addictions and mental health field, here’s what you need to know.

Addictions and Mental Health Courses

Classes in addictions and mental health programs provide in-depth information and hands-on training to ensure students not only understand the history and theory of treatment, but are also able to effectively react to a variety of different situations and clients. Interview techniques, relapse prevention and crisis management are common courses in addictions and mental health programs.

Other courses in addictions and mental health programs will likely fall into these two areas:

  • Research. Analyzing client behaviour, past case studies and other psychological information are integral in helping others with addictions or mental health issues.
  • Strategic thinking. Students will be trained to create customized therapies for drug addiction, depression and other mental health and addiction issues.

Field experience and work placements are an important part of the curriculum in all addictions and mental health programs. Students gain real-world experience while receiving feedback from trained professionals.

General Addictions and Mental Health Program Requirements

Addictions and Mental Health programs at Ontario colleges generally require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD) or equivalent, including a grade 12 English credit. Depending on the program, students may require Standard First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certificates, as well as specific immunizations.

Some addictions and mental health programs are offered at the post-graduate level, in which case a diploma or degree will be required.

Addictions and Mental Health Jobs and Salaries

Ontario college addictions and mental health programs prepare students to work as counsellors, case workers and other support professionals in the mental health, addictions and social and health service industries. Common jobs in this field include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Addictions Therapist
  • Community Education Worker
  • Crisis Counsellor
  • Rehabilitation Worker

Positions are available in non-profit organizations, hospitals, addiction treatment centres, group homes, correctional facilities and other related organizations. The average starting salary for jobs in the addictions and mental health industry is in the low- to mid-$30,000s, but could be higher depending on level of experience and type of organization.

Ontario Colleges Offering Addictions and Mental Health Programs

Use the left-column navigation to refine your search by College, Program Availability, Program Start Date and more, or see the table below for a complete list of addictions and mental health programs at Ontario colleges. 

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