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Addictions Community Outreach

Get the knowledge and skills you need to work in addictions support.

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Start Date:
Typical Length:
1 Year
Graduate Certificate

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Addictions community outreach professionals help individuals, families and groups affected by harmful involvement with chemical and other addictive behaviours. They work with other specialists as part of a client-centred team to design and implement strategies for dealing with addictions within community settings.

You learn about:

  • The physical, emotional and social effects of high-risk behaviours
  • How to conduct addictions assessments
  • Crisis intervention and the importance of a trauma-informed approach
  • Health promotion, prevention and direct practice
  • Developing creative problem-solving skills
  • The range of services offered in addictions support
  • How concurrent mental health issues impact substance misuse

Work experience

  • Field experience is a mandatory credit course, providing the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills outside the classroom.
    • Opportunities are typically unpaid and last approximately 5 weeks.
  • Transportation, accommodations and other costs related to work experience courses are your responsibility.
  • For more information, visit work experience opportunities.
  • International students - all international students require a co-op work permit; you can't complete your NSCC program without one. This program also requires a medical exam to receive your co-op work permit. View co-op work permit - medical exam details.

Choose NSCC

  • We have knowledgeable faculty who bring academic and professional experience to the classroom.

Other info

  • Many employers in this sector require one – or all – of the following as part of the hiring process: current, official criminal record check, vulnerable sector check and/or child abuse register search. A conviction or finding in family court may impact your ability to secure employment.

September 2024

Campus Full time/part time Delivery Availability
Kingstec Campus
Full time In person
Delivered in-person. Some courses may have online elements.
Seats available

Admission requirements

  • Diploma or undergraduate degree in a social science or health and human services field.

Program requirements

  • A current, official criminal record check and vulnerable sector check are required to complete work placements in many programs. A conviction may impact your ability to complete program requirements.
  • All programs in Health and Human Services require First Aid/CPR as a graduation requirement. For specific program requirements, view additional Health and Human Services program requirements.
  • Many Health and Human Services programs have additional requirements, including immunizations. You must submit proof that you've completed these requirements by the date provided to you at the beginning of your program. View additional Health and Human Services program requirements
    • Receiving immunizations may take up to 10 months to complete.
    • Failure to complete immunizations can result in a delayed work placement, which will impact your ability to complete program and graduation requirements.
  • Portfolio development – As part of your studies at NSCC, you develop a portfolio of your work; the portfolio captures your achievements and profiles your skills to employers.


Tuition amounts are for the 2024-25 academic year. Program costs and fees (textbooks, supplies, etc.) are additional.

Tuition (Domestic):
Tuition (International):

Tuition, fees and program costs

In addition to annual tuition, there are program costs (books, tools, etc.) and student fees for College services, health and dental plans, your student association and parking.

View detailed program fees page(s). Please note that amounts on these pages are meant for planning purposes only. They don't represent final amounts owing.

Career options

  • Graduates work with addiction-specific organizations, such as recovery centres, needle exchanges, methadone clinics and specialized agencies.
  • Graduates are employed by half-way houses, transition houses, crisis centres and group homes whose mandates may not be primarily addictions, but who require their employees to have competencies for working with persons with substance misuse.

Courses may include

These are some of the courses offered in this program. It is not a complete list and courses are subject to change in advance of the academic year.

Recognizing prior learning / transfer credits
If you have previous learning (course, employment, etc...) that's relevant to your program, you may be able to apply to earn credit. Not all programs are eligible. Learn about our recognizing prior learning (RPL) process.

ADCO 3000 - Concepts and Theories in Addictions
This course introduces the student to the concepts of addiction, including involvement with chemicals, and other process based behaviours such as problem gambling, shopping or sex. Students will explore prevalent addictions theories along with gaining exposure to current research in the field. Additionally, students will gain an appreciation of how an understanding of concurrent disorders is integral to understanding these concepts.

ADCO 3001 - Working with Groups
This course offers the student the opportunity to develop their group communication skills. Students will receive an introduction to different types of groups along with exploring the dynamics of group process. This course will highlight the creation and implementation of groups/workshops typically offered in the addictions field. This course will be designed and delivered using a workshop format.

ADCO 3002 - Creating Change Conversations
This course offers students the opportunity to develop and enhance their communication skills for working with individuals, colleagues and communities. This includes being introduced to strategies across the risk continuum including, an introduction to micro skills and motivational interviewing. Students will be exposed to and have the opportunity to practice the most up-to-date communication practices found within the field of addictions.

ADCO 3003 - Case Management for Outreach Workers
This course offers students the opportunity to develop fundamental skills of case management. Students will be introduced to screening (brief) and referral procedures. In addition, they will explore the concepts of treatment planning, brief interventions, and the role of advocacy when working in the addictions field. This course does not train or certify students to make psychological diagnosis.

ADCO 3004 - Community and Program Development
This course introduces students to practical considerations in the development of effective programming when working in the community. Students will explore the dynamics of community change, as well as practical approaches for taking action to facilitate community change. Additionally, students will examine practical aspects of planning, program development, and evaluation for programs within the nonprofit sector.

ADCO 3005 - Seminar I
This course offers the student the opportunity to examine and integrate key concepts in the addictions field identified during the first semester. Students will be guided through a reflective process and be asked to apply this process to program content. This course will rely on a seminar approach with web board support.

ADCO 3010 - Professionalism in Addiction Practice
This course offers the students the opportunity to explore what it means to work as a professional within the field of addictions. Students will explore their role when working with communities, organizations, or individuals. Students will gain knowledge of the process of resolving ethical dilemmas typically encountered in the addictions work place. This course will be facilitated using a workshop format.

ADCO 3011 - Power, Privilege and Culture
This course offers the students the opportunity to explore the importance of understanding diverse substance use perspectives from a Canadian context. Emphasis will be placed upon the development of cultural humility.

ADCO 3012 - Skills Application for Change Conversations
This course offers the students the opportunity to further enhance their communication skills when working with clients, colleagues and communities. This course is intended to be a continuation of the first semester’s course Creating Change Conversations. Students will explore current strategies for working with individuals and teams. An emphasis will be placed on motivational interviewing strategies. A significant component of this course will be spent in the lab developing and practicing skills for working with individuals who are harmfully involved with chemicals and/or other behaviours.

ADCO 3014 - Community Projects Internship
Students will complete community-based projects and will be offered opportunities to utilize the skills and knowledge acquired during the first semester of this program. One full day each week will be allocated for this activity. These service learning projects will afford students opportunities to practice both the behavioural and technical skills required when working within the field of Addictions.

ADCO 3015 - Seminar II
This course will offer the students the opportunity to examine and integrate key concepts in the addictions field identified in the first and second semester. Students will demonstrate how content from the courses come together into a coherent whole. Students will continue to use the reflective process introduced in Seminar I. This course will rely on a seminar approach with web board support.

ADCO 3016 - Provocative Topics in the Addictions Field
Through a workshop format, students will be exposed to current relevant topics to the field. Topics will include issues such as crisis management, family issues related to addictions, mental illness, and trauma-informed practice.

ADCO 3030 - Work Experience I
The work experience component is intended to be a field experience to incorporate classroom experience into practice. It enables the student to apply course material to the practical setting of a human service agency. This component promotes developmental learning opportunities for the student with an experienced agency supervisor and NSCC faculty. Students will be expected to complete all relevant paperwork to complete the requirements for this course. Students will complete 90 hours at a community placement. Students will typically progress to Work Experience II at the same location.

ADCO 3050 - Work Experience II
The work experience component is intended to be a continuation of field experience initiated at the end of the winter semester. The goal is to incorporate classroom theory into practice. It enables the student to apply course material to the practical setting of a human service agency. Typically, students are expected to continue in the same locations as started in Work Experience. Students will be expected to complete all relevant paperwork to complete the requirements for this course. Students will complete 210 hours at a community placement.

SAFE 1000 - Introduction to WHMIS (Workplace Hazardous Materials Information Systems)
This course offers learners basic overview of WHMIS principles and establishes a solid foundation to support workplace-specific training on the safe storage and handling of controlled/hazardous products. Upon successful completion of the course, students receive basic WHMIS certification.

SAFE 1001 - Introduction to NS OH&S Act
This course offers students an introduction to the Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) Act of Nova Scotia, which is required by any person employed in a Nova Scotia workplace. This is a generic, introductory course that provides basic knowledge of the Act for students and is considered to be the basis from which more specific training can be given.

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