Breining Institute-College of Addictive Disorders

Discussion in 'Nursing and medical-related degrees' started by CBrownlee, Oct 23, 2008.

  1. CBrownlee

    CBrownlee New Member

    I am currently training to work in the field of chemical dependency as a Addiction Specialist and Drug and Alcohol Counselor. I want to get my bachelors and later go on for my masters. I have heard alot of good things about Breining Institute, but I noticed they aren't regionally accredited and I am not sure if their degrees are accredited by ony BPPVE or if they have any national accreditation. I am new to this whole thing and would be transfering from San Diego Community College.

    If I wanted to transfer my bachelors from Breining to somewhere else, would that be a problem? How about job outlooks with a degree such as this?

    Thanks so much,

    Colby B.
  2. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    Breining doesn't have accreditation by a CHEA-recognized accreditor (meaning a regional accreditor or DETC), so it would probably be pretty difficult to transfer your credits to a CHEA-accredited school.

    However, their program is recognized by NOCA, which is a legitimate credentialing organization primarily for specialty programs, so it's definitely not in the same category as the typical unaccredited school, most of which are simply fraudulent.

    You might be able to do something like the following:

    -- Take your coursework at Breining
    -- Find other regionally accredited schools anywhere in the US that offer courses with a similar curriculum
    -- Enroll at Charter Oak, Excelsior, or Thomas Edison State and use either their exam offerings or their credit-by-portfolio programs to demonstrate the knowledge you've gained at Breining, and be awarded credits (and a degree) from one of those 3 schools, all of which are regionally accredited.

    If cost is a factor, Breining might be a good choice, but I believe there are other accredited options that are good values that would make things simpler for you.

    Search "addiction treatment" or "drug counselor" or similar words using our search function and you should come up with some threads with good suggestions.

    Hope that helps!
  3. CBrownlee

    CBrownlee New Member

    Thanks so much for the reply! Grand Canyon University is another one that I am looking into. Also thank you for the suggestions, you have given me additional options! :) I have asked some of my counseling mentors their view, and it has been mixed, but you were right, everyone seems to recognize the NOCA and the NCCA accrediting. So I am guessing this would be more of a niche degree within the field of addiction counseling, but if California ever passes legislation for a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (currently in the books, but with the economy, funding just isn't there), I doub't the degree would qualify.

    I just recieved a reply about Breining's Bachelor of Arts in Addictive Disorders. Here is the reply:

    "Thank you for your inquiry regarding our Bachelor of Arts Degree Program. Typically an individual with an Associate of Arts degree in Human Services (Certificate in Alcohol and/or Other Drug Studies plus completed General Education requirements) will need to complete 90 Upper Division quarter units in Addictive Disorders in order to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree. (It sounds from your note that you have probably satisfied the General Education requirements but that your AA degree is in an unrelated field so that you will need to do approximately 17 Lower Division units in Addictive Disorders core courses along with the 90 Upper Division units in order to earn the Bachelor of Arts Degree in Addictive Disorders. The 155 hour course you are completing can transfer only if it is completed at a State approved and/or regionally accredited college.) Our Transcript Review Committee will analyze your transcripts and give you credit for everything we can within state guidelines and school policy. You would send your transcripts in with your Application for Admission.

    Our degree programs are offered by Distance Learning. We e-mail you the curriculum and assign a Mentor from our faculty to assist you with your studies. You do not need to come to campus. Our degree programs center around independent research and critical thinking by the student, with guidance from the Mentor. Assignments are typically essay in form. We offer open enrollment in our degree programs, so you can start at any time. The typical student takes about 18 months to complete the Upper Division units in the Bachelor of Arts Degree Program; and if you need the 17 Lower Division units, they can usually be accomplished in about four months.

    Tuition for the 90 Upper Division quarter units in the Bachelor of Arts Degree Program in Addictive Disorders is $11,250.00, and the tuition cost for the 17 Lower Division units is $663.00. We offer an in-house payment plan where you make a tuition down payment of $400.00 and thereafter make monthly tuition payments of $250.00 until your tuition balance is paid in full. We charge no interest on this plan. You will most probably finish your studies before you pay your tuition balance, and completion of your program does include payment of tuition so that your diploma will be awarded only after the tuition is paid in full."
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 24, 2008
  4. CBrownlee

    CBrownlee New Member

    Whats the word on Westbrook University?

    I've pretty much narrowed it down to Grand Canyon University for their BS in Addiction Counseling but I am still waiting for a packet from them, so in the mean time I have still been looking at other programs.

    Westrbrook University was a recommendation from one of location I am currently doing my internship work at for my certification as an Alcohol and Drug Counselor.

    So I am looking at their BA in Addiction Counseling. I've seen they even have a PhD program for it as well so that is something I can consider for the future, but I want to make sure that they are legit before I call and ask for info.

    Thanks for any help!
  5. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    Westbrook is unaccredited and decidedly unwonderful. They do claim accreditation, but (last I checked, at least) one of their claimed accreditors is operated out of the home of one of the board members of the school, and the other accreditor is operated out of the back of a health food store in Norfolk, VA. Equally amusing, the two accreditors, which are supposedly completely unrelated and separate from each other, wrote word-for-word identical letters "attesting" to the accreditation of Westbrook. Stay away like the plague from that one ;)

    It's really unfortunate that a lot of the holistic / healing arts programs (and nearly all of the distance learning ones) out there are bogus. Westbrook, Clayton College of Natural Health, and many of the other so-called naturopathic or holistic programs are widely advertised and thus people think they're legit... but the degrees are unaccredited and of very limited utility.
  6. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    Perhaps you should contact whomever recommended Westbrook and encourage them to come here to check them out... I'm sure they don't want to be intentionally giving bad advice. If you do a search for "westbrook university" in our message archive, you should come up with some interesting info on them. :)
  7. CBrownlee

    CBrownlee New Member

    Thanks for the info! Guess I can rule that one out. ;)

    Looks like GCU is the way to go for me. I really like the way their program sees to be set up.

    Thanks again!
  8. mikethedrugcounsel

    mikethedrugcounsel New Member

    Breining Institute

    Something to consider, in addition to NOCA and NCCA:
    Breining Institute degrees and RAS certification (as a combination) are also recognized by NAADAC for the Master Addiction Counselor Credential.
    The American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders directly recoginizes the degrees for the Certified Addiction Specialist Certification. Many state certification boards recognize the degrees or course work for credentialing.
    the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, which regulates counselor credentiallng in California and would inherit licensure oversight, recognizes the RAS as a basis to practice .

    The point is this, when it comes to professional degrees (as opposed to academic/liberal arts degrees) regional accreditation is nice but credentialling and oversight body recognition is key. Breining Institute meets that test.
  9. Chip

    Chip Administrator


    Thanks for the additional information.

    Since this is your first post and is speaking specifically about Breining, I would like to know if you have any connection with them (alumnus, staff member, etc.) Not that it's a problem if you are, but we consider promoting a program without disclosing any affiliation you may have to it as shilling, which isn't looked at very favorably.

    If you've been through the program, perhaps you could tell us what your experience was like so that others can benefit from your knowledge :)
  10. mikethedrugcounsel

    mikethedrugcounsel New Member

    Breining Institute

    No, I have no affiliation with them. I too am currently considering enrolling there for an advanced degree. Unlike CB Brownlee I have many years experience in the field, and in fact own an Outpatient Treatment Center, so I am familiar with what employers look for and how education affects career goals in this field.
  11. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

    Hi Mike - I've got the idea that in your business there are laws about licensure etc. and how that effects a persons ability to bill insurance companies. If the school in question is not accredited (RA or NA) then does this effect the graduates ability to obtain a license to practice?
  12. mikethedrugcounsel

    mikethedrugcounsel New Member

    Breining Institute Again

    A couple of other thoughts on Breining. Their faculty of Instructors/Mentors is really impressive,associate of the late Carl Rogers, a former state Surgeon General, National Basketball Association addiction treatment coordinator etc. Plus, credentialling by the American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders is an absolute sign of assured legitimacy. AAHCPAD is made of up the creme de la creme. Professors of psychology at Harvard and UCLA and international known leaders in the field like Patrick Carnes.
  13. mikethedrugcounsel

    mikethedrugcounsel New Member


    Many states do not require licensure, but instead require certification, and most that do license require the same educational background as the credentialling body, in each state that I am aware of to date that has converted to licensure all credentialled counselors have been grandfathered into licensure. I happen to live in one that did (Texas). Most insurance billing is handled for addiction counselors through the facility they work for, which depending on the state, is either licensed or otherwise regulated by a state agency. So, individual credentialling has less to do with reimbursement in the addictions field than in other related ones. Private practice addiction counseling happens, but is not the most common form of treatment and as a practical matter is unlikely to ever be the major focus of the field.Most persons with an addictive disorder need care that involves several hours a week at least to stabilize and begin the recovery process.
  14. mikethedrugcounsel

    mikethedrugcounsel New Member

    Insurance Reimbursement

    One other thought about this topic. 15 of the 20 billion dollars that annually fund addiction treatment comes from state and federal tax dollars, not insurance companies,states prefer to deal with entities not individuals since they are easier to oversee. An increase in available insurance dollars est. to be 3 billion or so, is expected when the Mental Health and Addiction parity act become operative 1-1-2010, but the system is somewhat entrenched at this point and insurance companies too are used to dealing with facilities. This is another reason why facility licensure/regulation and working through that type of venue is common.
  15. kirkhenderson123

    kirkhenderson123 New Member

    Hey I can tell you that Grand Canyon is awesome. I am finishing this May with a BA in Christian Studies. I think their program is incredible. My personal thoughts on your journey: getting certification to be a substance abuse counselor has nothing to do with your undergrad, although it would certainly help get you a job in the field. Most people who want to be a LADAC (the term used in Texas) start out in some kind of agency doing whatever they can, then work their way into being a counselor. The kind of pay you would really want, however, would only come if you were more broadly licensed as an LPC. When you get to masters level, find a Masters in Professional Counseling (GCU has one of these programs). I have done a lot of research in this subject, as this is my goal as well (to be a counselor and also teach psychology). There are many, many programs for you to earn a 48-hr masters in counseling. It is then that you can work towards licensure as an LPC once you have had a few hundred hours of counseling under your belt. You can open your own practice, or work for an agency. are not limited to substance can counsel any type of person within that umbrella. Anyway, just thought I would share that with you.
  16. mikethedrugcounsel

    mikethedrugcounsel New Member


    The term used in Texas is LCDC. The course work in your undergrad degree very much can make a difference as to whether you can obtain certification or licensure to do addictions counseling-in most states. In Texas people in the addictions field start off as Registered Counselor Interns and work directly under an LCDC, LPC or LMSW etc doing counseling. Private Practice is only more lucrative if you know how to market and promote your practice and negotiate with third party providers and patients for payment of services. I happen to have a knack for it and have turned a very successful private practice into a very successful outpatient treatment center (after having been a director of 2 inpatient treatment centers). I now have 2 additional counselors working under me. I have however felt pain as I have watched many friends with higher levels of credentialing and degrees fail miserably for lack of the vital skills mentioned above-even when I mentored them they couldn't follow through, most counselors just dont have good business skills-they just kinda think it will happen when they hang out their shingle. I've know many who have returned to work for agencies to pay off a mountain of debt from both school and their aborted attempts to work for themselves.

    Of course an LPC or LMSW is very good to have if that is your goal, no question, but agencies in actual practice make little real distinction in levels of pay for these credentials and in most states like Texas, licensed or certified addiction counselors with proper training can work with people who have co-occurring disorders, so the umbrella for them is fairly broad too. I would also point out that the demand for addiction counselors is rapidly growing according to all informed sources. This is resulting in pressure on agencies to pay more at exactly the time when insurance reimbursables, by federal law, are set to go up-so it is a secure and good choice to make right now.

    So Kirk, with all due respect, your research has has not yet turned up accurate information. I am glad you got something out of Grand Canyon and I wish you every success in your career.
  17. Chip

    Chip Administrator


    Thanks very much for all of your useful information! It does sound like Breining has some really good people associated with it.

    It can be really hard, particularly in a field where, in some states, the minimum requirements for training is set pretty low, to be able to tell the good from the bad.

    One of my friends is a Canadian social worker and we've recently been talking a lot about the differences between the US and Canadian systems, both in terms of services provided and educational approaches. It seems like we still have a pretty long way to go in the US, but the Mental Health and Addiction parity act will probably make some pretty substantial changes in that regard.
  18. BillDayson

    BillDayson New Member

    My layman's impression is that the state laws regulating addiction counselors are currently in a state of flux. Many addiction counselors have historically been former addicts and whatever formal education requirements they faced weren't very high, often just a high school diploma.

    Now quite a bit of new legislation is hitting the books, apparently seeking to professionalize this field. California wrote some new legislation several years ago. The state apparently wants to see certification by one of several state-specified certifying organizations, or else graduation from Breining. (Breining is specified in the California regulations, which reminds me of how the California-approved psych-schools are written into the psychology licensing law.) But some other states are talking about accredited college-level work, associates or bachelors degrees. That might create some problems for Breining graduates outside California, depending on where they live.

    Again, my layman's understanding is that California MFTs, social workers, psychologists and psychiatrists are exempted from addiction counselor certification requirements. And apparently general counseling masters degrees are the path that addiction counselors sometimes take if/when they pursue further university education. There too, a Breining graduate might experience some limitations.

    So it looks to me like a trade-off. Breining has some unique advantages and disadvantages. A custom-tailored degree in addiction counseling that's credible enough to be recognized by the regulators in Sacramento (and probably by some employers) - definite pluses. But the accreditation thing might cause some problems outside California or in subsequent university work - potential minuses.

    (Once again it illustrates what's starting to look like a general law: good unaccredited schools are best seen as niche players.)
  19. mikethedrugcounsel

    mikethedrugcounsel New Member

    Regional Accreditation

    Breining Institute aside, there is one other thing to consider about our current system of private maybe on the way out and sooner not later is a real possibility. We are the only nation on earth that uses that kind of system. In the 1990s it reached the nadir of collapse. Large differences in the standards and emphasis among the different regional bodies created a lot of conflict. The general coordinating board was, if I recall correctly, dissolved and reconstituted three times in four years! The Clinton era DOE was not amused and actually issued invitations to other bodies to be reviewed for official recognition as a warning shot across the bow so to speak. Bush et al, of course, prefer private everything and so have left it alone. Some states however have strengthed their state oversight bodies and invested them with the power to operate and grant approval of degree granting schools. It is notable that New York and Oregon are leading examples and these states, to my understanding, have establsihed reciprocity standards with state operated institutions with similar standards. California is currently locked in a battle between the Governator and the legislature over the tougher standards for state approval that he wants. The smart money says he'll win and that would make for three leading progressive states who recognize each others schools. Obama doesn't have a knee jerk 'private' bone in his body if you'll pardon the mixed metaphor. So, I would watch for a trend here. I'm sure current schools regionally accredited would be absorbed, but so will current state approved institutes... if so it might make the difference of where you attend meaningless.*More will be revealed...****
  20. carguyrod

    carguyrod New Member


    I got my AS through Fresno City College and all my units are transferable almost anywhere. I then chose Breining to get my credential. California recognizes 10 or 11 different agencies as being "state certified". I chose Breining for a couple of reasons. First they were the first of the group to be accepted by the state. Second, I liked the title RAS, as I expect to treat other addictions besides drug and alcohol. Breining claims it is recognized in 14 countries and 40 states. I am still learning exactly what this means? As many already know the economy in CA is not near rebounding and most agencies have a hiring freeze. I found myself now looking for work out of state and am having a problem finding reciprocity. If you go to Breining's website they have a drop down list of all the agencies that they give reciprocity too, but I can't find the list anywhere on who gives them reciprocity. They also claim that their cert qualifies you for NAADAC certification, but as of today 10/14/2010, NAADAC tells me that the "grandfather" clause allowing that ran out over 2 years ago. It appears as though I will end up qualifying in many states, but with many more hoops than I expected. I have called Breining and am only able to get voicemail, to see if I can get any help from them, but have not heard back from them. I still think I made a good choice, but I am a little flustered right now. BTW Mike, I'll move to TX, can you use a good RAS-CSC?

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