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Addiction Studies Certificate

Students in this 8-month full-time certificate program will learn to support Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal individuals, families, and communities in identifying and managing addictions through prevention and treatment programs. Students will acquire the multilevel intervention skills necessary to support dysfunctional behaviours of addictions.

Addictions Workers and Counsellors often work in community social services, children and youth services, justice system institutions, community Aboriginal services, and emergency shelters.

Program delivery is classroom-based with a focus on group discussions and learner participation, and classes are generally scheduled between 8 am and 5 pm from Monday to Friday.

Interested in advancing even further in Addictions Studies? Bow Valley College also offers a two-year diploma program.

The program is open to everyone; the content includes Aboriginal history and culture, and the needs of Aboriginal communities, as well as other populations with addictions.

Students registered in the traditional full-time Addictions Studies – Aboriginal Focus Certificate program are required to write the Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES) assessment in semester one.

Instructor Bios

Addiction Studies: Aboriginal Focus instructor biographies

Need more info?

Please contact Student Advising Centre: 403-410-1402

Courses in Program

Curriculum Subject to Change

Semester 1 Courses

ADDC1101 - Introduction to Addictions Studies (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course will increase learners' awareness and understanding of the theories, practical skills, and broader issues that guide the work of addictions workers. Learners will be invited to reflect on their beliefs and values to develop a professional practice that draws on and respects the richness and depth of Canada's multicultural society. Participants will begin to explore various types of addictions and their impact on the addiction field.  The course will demonstrate the breadth and diversity of addictions treatment theory, and how this is expressed in practice in the current world of addiction treatment.
Prerequisites: None

COMM1101 - Interpersonal Relationships and Communication Skills (3 credits, 45 hours)

Learners develop strategies necessary for effective and accurate communication in relationships with others, within a variety of contexts. They explore theories and concepts of interpersonal communication and reflect on their own values, beliefs, attitudes, and experiences. Emphasis is placed on self-awareness, cultural diversity in communication, and conflict management. In addition, it focuses on the development of personal strengths and self-awareness that contribute to the development of communication skills and positive relationships.
Prerequisites: None

ENGL1201 - English: Composition (3 credits, 45 hours)

Learners will explore various genres of English composition. This course is not remedial; competency in high-school grammar and composition is required.
Prerequisites: None

HMSV1102 - Aboriginal History, Identity and Culture (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course is an overview of Canada's First Nations, Metis and Inuit people.  Historical and current issues are covered, including languages, stories of origin, different band treaties, and current issues of ownership over land, water and governance. 
Prerequisites: None

PSYC1201 - Human Growth and Development Across the Lifespan (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course provides a comprehensive overview of human growth and development and typical behavioural responses throughout the lifespan. You will analyze human development across three domains: biological, psychological, and sociological. Emphasis is placed upon the stages of development and their linkage to common events occurring during these stages.
Prerequisites: None

Semester 2 courses

ADDC1301 - Physiology and Processes of Addictions (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course takes an in-depth look at substances and their impact on body, mind, and behaviour. Learners begin with an introduction to how the relevant body systems work, and then address substances by category and by individual drug to understand their history, appeal, risks, and impact. Emphasis is given to processes of dependence and withdrawal. With knowledge of addiction physiology, support workers have insight into the mechanisms of craving, and are able to promote more effective physical and mental recovery.
Prerequisites/Co-Requisites: None

ADDC1998 - Introduction to Cross Cultural Communications in Community Agencies (3 credits, 105 hours)

The course introduces the competency profile from the Canadian Addictions Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF) that defines the future scope of practice for the addiction professionals. Professionalism is a major consideration throughout the course. In addition, learners are introduced to variety of roles in addiction services as well as a range of community agencies.
Prerequisites/Co-Requisites: 6 credits of AASC/AASD program

ADDC2302 - Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Early Interevention (3 credits, 45 hours)

There is a relationship between mental health and addiction. The course focuses on the signs and symptoms of various mental health disorders. Learners examine signs and risk factors including suicide behaviours for individuals within diverse and Indigenous communities. In addition, learners identify the roles of members within multi-disciplinary teams and the resources and supports available.
Prerequisites: None

ADDC2501 - Advanced Assessment, Documentation and Case Management (3 credits, 45 hours)

In this course, learners develop knowledge of and practice with addiction assessment tools. Learners focus on documentation and record keeping: the maintenance of current, accurate, and objective case files and records. In addition, the course examines the fundamentals of case management and the collaboration of client services in a client's service plan.
Prerequisites: ADDC1999

HMSV1501 - Introduction to Counselling (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course introduces learners to basic counselling skills. As such, it is designed to help learners develop essential helping skills needed for client engagement, follow-through, completion and overall therapeutic effectiveness. Specific skills and techniques covered include; developing rapport, building empathy and listening, encouraging trust, self-disclosure, immediacy, questioning and evoking, addressing discrepancies, etc. It will also take a look at the theories behind effective techniques such as motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioural therapy, person centered and solution focus therapies. This course is highly experiential in its format. Learners will participate in classroom exercises, role playing and receiving feedback from Instructors and peers.
Prerequisites: None

HMSV2501 - Social Policy (3 credits, 45 hours)

This course is designed to help learners become critically aware of the economic, social, and political environment within which they will eventually work. It will examine the process by which health, social policy, and justice policy, is developed in Canada and encourages reflection upon the ways social policy impacts our lives.
Prerequisites: None

Admission Requirements

Academic Requirements

  • Credit in English 30-1 or 65% in English 30-2 or equivalent


  • Successful completion of the General Educational Development test (GED) test with a minimum score in the following sections:
    • Writing Skills: 520 minimum standard score
    • Interpreting Literature and Art: 520 minimum standard score


  • Satisfactory results on the BVC Admissions Test
English Language Proficiency Requirements