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Certificate in Opioid Treatment Specialist


The number of opioid-related deaths in the United States continues to climb. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opioids were involved in 42,249 deaths in 2016. Of all of the opioid-related deaths, 40 percent were from prescription opioids. The problem hasn't missed Pennsylvania as the commonwealth was fourth in the nation in drug overdose deaths in 2016.

PennWest Clarion has responded to the growing opioid epidemic by creating an online Opioid Treatment Specialist Certificate.

Faculty experts in addictions, rehabilitation, social work, counseling, psychology and nursing contributed to the design of the certificate, which provides advanced information on opioid abuse and its prevention, education and treatment.

Program participants will:

  • Learn the history of opioid abuse and dependence, including the current crisis
  • Gain a working knowledge of commonly abused (legal and illegal) opioids and drugs
  • Become familiar with diagnosis and detox
  • Assess client biopsychosocial needs and assets for developing comprehensive treatment plans for opioids and other chemical dependencies
  • Develop a working knowledge of treatment and recovery, including medication-assisted therapies, traditional therapies, peer self-help groups, and newer therapeutic approaches, i.e., ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy)
  • Learn to empower clients/patients
  • Plan and evaluate prevention and treatment programs for opioids and other chemical dependency
  • Develop skills for individual advocacy
  • Study and perform advocacy skills for larger systems improvement, i.e., public policy and legislation

Anyone may pursue the 12-credit certificate. There are no prerequisites. It would be most beneficial to professionals who want to strengthen their credentials and current students who want to graduate with stronger job prospects.

The program is  designed to be offered online across consecutive sessions from May through December, taking courses individually. The certificate can be earned in less than one academic year.

The courses and sequence:

  • REHB 410 Prevention, Education and Treatment of Substance Abuse
  • REHB 406 Opioid Abuse
  • REHB 421 Advocacy and Public Policy in Addictions and Recovery
  • NURS 475 Comprehensive Treatment of Chemical Dependency

The certificate is beneficial for:

  • Drug counselors
  • Prevention specialists
  • Case managers
  • Nurses
  • EMTs
  • Emergency room personnel
  • Social workers
  • HIV/AIDS treatment specialists
  • School counselors
  • Probation and parole staff
  • Law enforcement
  • Children and family therapists
  • Assessment specialists and other human services professionals who work with impacted clients and families

Estimated Costs

Estimated Costs for 2018-2019**

Per course cost (three credits) = $1,227.60  Undergraduate Pennsylvania resident
Per course cost (three credits) = $1,383.60 Undergraduate Non-Pennsylvania resident
Per course cost (three credits) = $2,026.80 Graduate Pennsylvania resident
Per course cost (three credits) = $2,307.30 Graduate Non-Pennsylvania resident
Complete program total (four courses) cost = $4,910.40 Undergraduate Pennsylvania resident
Complete program total (four courses) cost = $5,534.40 Undergraduate Non-Pennsylvania resident
Complete program total (four courses) cost = $8,107.20 Graduate Pennsylvania resident
Complete program total (four courses) cost = $9,229.20 Graduate Non-Pennsylvania resident

*For actual tuition and fee charges please refer to
**Additional fees may apply, please visit and review the Additional Fees document.

Application Process

Apply today for the Opioid Certificate program. Once you've submitted your application, you'll receive an email with your student login information. You will be enrolled automatically in REHB 406 Opioid Abuse and the NURS 475: Comprehensive Treatment of Chemical Dependency courses and will be notified when scheduling is complete.

For more information

For more information, call Dr. Jennifer May at 814 393 2052, Department of Human Services, Rehabilitation, Health and Sport Sciences at 814 393 2325, or Admissions at 800 672 7171, ext. 1. You may also contact Mark Lepore at 814 393 2474 or Nancy Falvo  at 814 393 1251.

If you have questions about this certificate, read our FAQs page.

Last Updated 8/14/23