Substance Awareness Coordinator, Educational Services Certification - Graduate - 2015 University Catalog

Coordinator: Dr. Edina Renfro-Michel
Office: University Hall, Room 3215
Phone: (973) 655-5381

The Counseling programs at Montclair State University prepare students to become multiculturally competent counselors in a variety of work settings. Students are prepared to work with diverse populations in elementary and secondary schools, community agencies, student affairs positions in colleges and universities, and substance abuse treatment facilities. The academic preparation follows guidelines established by state licensure and certification boards.

The graduate programs in Counseling offer several advantages:

  • Opportunities for alternative scheduling in the form of face-to-face, hybrid, or Saturday classes to meet the needs of the working student
  • The opportunity to master counseling skills in a technologically state-of-the-art counseling laboratory, which allows students to record, archive, and review their own counseling practice sessions, which enhances their ability to serve future clients
  • A diverse group of faculty members actively engaged in scholarly research who hold national leadership positions in professional associations, including the American Counseling Association (ACA)
  • A theory-to-practice model of instruction that allows students to gain practical experience in schools, community agencies, and colleges and universities
  • An emphasis on the infusion of multicultural counseling and social justice practice in all courses
  • A vibrant and diverse student body that has the opportunity to engage with faculty members on research and present at professional conferences

The Substance Awareness Coordinator program offers students the opportunity to take a sequence of post-master's courses required by the New Jersey Department of Education for individuals who wish to become Substance Awareness Coordinators in K-12 schools.


To be considered for admission into the Substance Awareness Coordinator (SAC) Certification Program, and to be eligible for the SAC Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS), at the time of application, the candidate must hold:

  • A standard instructional certificate, or a school psychologist, school social worker, school counselor, director of school counseling services or school nurse endorsement, or
  • a valid Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC) credential issued by the New Jersey Alcohol and Drug Counselor Committee of the Marriage and Family Board, or
  • a valid Certified Prevention Specialist (CPS) credential issued by the Addiction Professionals Certification Board of New Jersey or
  • hold a master's or higher degree from a regionally accredited college or university as identified in the New Jersey Department of Education requirements. Additional requirements apply.  Please visit: ( -pages 247-254)

A Master of Arts in Counseling with a SAC focus meets State requirements for certification eligibility.  With the required choice of an advanced certification, credential, or M.A. degree, as stated above, followed by the completion of the approved SAC coursework at MSU, the State Education Department will issue a SAC Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (Employment Certificate), which is processed through the University.  This will enable students to seek a supervised internship/employment placement as a provisional Substance Awareness Coordinator.

*Applicants will only be considered for admission into the SAC program if they meet one of the requirements listed above, at the time of application.

Course Descriptions:

COUN540: Introduction to Substance Abuse Counseling (3 hours lecture)

Students learn about substance abuse counseling and related issue. Students gain an understanding of the historical context, etiological theories, and psychoactive impact of substances on the brain. Students learn about evidence-based assessment, diagnosis and treatment of substance abuse/dependence with emphasis on theory and research driven clinical counseling practice. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: matriculation in Counseling w/concentration: Addictions Counseling (CNAC), Clinical Mental Health (CNCC), Counseling w/Conc:StudentAffairs/Couns in HigherEd (CNSA), Counseling w/Conc:SchoolCounseling (CNSC), or Advanced Counseling (ACOU), Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADCO), Substance Awareness Coordinator (SAC), Counseling w/Conc:ClinicalMental Hlth Counseling (CNCM); or departmental approval.

COUN545: Community Resources: Alcohol/Substance Abuse Counseling (3 hours lecture)

This course examines the integration of inpatient and outpatient community resources in substance abuse treatment with other social service agencies. Students review ethics, policy setting, staff training, and curriculum development in school and community settings with an emphasis on the use of evidence based technology and treatment and prevention efforts with families and individuals. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Matriculation in Counseling Master's with Addictions Concentration (CNAC), Substance Awareness Coordinator Certification program (SAC), Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor Post Master's Certificate (CADC) or Advanced Certificate.

COUN564: Counseling Children and Adolescents (3 hours lecture)

This course will provide an overview of theories and techniques of counseling children and adolescents in school and clinical settings. The course is designed to help counseling graduate students develop a knowledge base of skills, theories, and research into critical issues needed for contemporary counseling with children and adolescents. Emphasis will be placed upon a thorough understanding of developmental processes as well as the counselor's role as a facilitator of those processes which enhance resiliency and build cognitive, social and academic success. 3 sh.

COUN588: Counseling Techniques (3 hours lecture)

Introduction to basic counseling techniques and skills common to multiple theoretical perspectives. Students actively engage in self and cultural awareness and reflection necessary for examining the dynamics of the counseling relationship and maintaining appropriate professional boundaries. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Matriculation in Graduate Counseling Program.

COUN591: Family Seminar: Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling (3 hours seminar)

This course emphasizes the perspective and role of family in treating substance abuse, as well as the impact of substance use disorders on family and significant other. Students explore theory and its application to substance abuse; historical, traditional and current research based motivational methods of working with families with substance abusers; and related issues of crisis intervention, relapse prevention and ethics. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: COUN 540 or HLTH 511 for Substance Awareness Coordinator Certification program (SAC) or Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor Post Master's Certificate (CADC) students. COUN 540 or departmental approval for MA Counseling, Additions Counseling (CNAC).

ELAD521: Education Law (3 hours lecture)

This course immerses students in the practice of school law as it relates to legal theory, practical politics, the relationship of a school district's organization to other units of government, various state boards of education, and the appellate functions of the state and federal court systems. Students study school law through a pragmatic process of applying the federal and state constitutions, statutes, regulations, board of education policies, and case law. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Graduate students in Educational Leadership (ELAD), Principal (PRIN), Supervisor (SUPR), Director of School Counseling (DSCS) or departmental approval.

ELAD531: Program Planning and Development in Educational Settings (3 hours lecture)

This course provides knowledge and experience in the principles and techniques of designing programs in the higher education/student services and other educational settings. Special attention will be placed on needs assessment and evaluation, current issues in student affairs and education, organizational mission and environment, fiscal management and budgeting, human resources and overall program planning. Students will design a total program and proposal in a variety of actual educational settings in this experiential course. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Graduate students in Counseling with concentration in Student Affairs in Higher Education (CNSA); Substance Awareness Coordinator (SAC); or departmental approval.

HLTH511: Biomedical and Psychosocial Perspectives on Drugs (3 hours lecture)

Examines the complex biomedical and psychosocial dimensions of contemporary drug use, emphasizing consideration of a broad spectrum of physiological responses to and health consequences of involvement. Provides a comprehensive view of the historical and social aspects of drug use, and an analysis of selected major issues presented by our current problems with drugs. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Restricted to Health Education, Counseling w/conc in Addictions Counseling and Public Health w/conc in Community Health Education majors only.