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New Degree in Chemical Dependency offered by JCC

Jefferson Community College announces the launch of a new associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree program in Chemical Dependency.  The program is designed to provide the education and training for graduates to enter the field of chemical dependency as an entry level counselor or service provider.  Graduates will be prepared to take the written portion of the exam for Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Certification (CASAC) through the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).  Spring semester classes at Jefferson begin on January 22 and students may apply for admission to the chemical dependency degree program, offered through the Liberal Arts Division, immediately.

The degree program curriculum, which includes 18 hours in chemical dependency and six hours in human services theory and application, was developed in collaboration with human services agencies in Jefferson and Lewis counties and will provide students with the academic background and practical skills needed to work effectively with individuals with substance abuse disorders. Students will develop an understanding of chemical dependency and approaches to treatment, learn the basics of counseling and assistance skills, and understand the ethics and professionalism required for effective treatment. Practical experience from a fieldwork placement is a key feature of Jefferson’s chemical dependency program. Students can choose from a variety of settings including Credo Center for Treatment of Addictions, Samaritan Medical Center, Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council, Fort Drum Behavioral Health as well as private counseling centers.  Students will earn educational hours and work-related hours toward their CASAC Certification.

“Jefferson developed this program in collaboration with several area providers who outlined a need for employees with advanced training in the area of chemical dependency / substance abuse,” said Thomas J. Finch, vice president for academic affairs at Jefferson.  “The A.A.S. program provides a clear career pathway for students as they will begin working in the field with 350 educational hours and 1000 work-related hours already earned toward Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Certification (CASAC).   Additionally, the program is designed to transfer easily to numerous baccalaureate programs for those who want to continue their education in chemical dependency or a related field such as human services or social work.”

Credo Community Center for the Treatment of Addictions, Watertown, was one of the agencies with which Jefferson worked to develop this degree program.  

“We spend the first two years training new employees to help them learn about addiction and the treatment process,” said James P. Scordo, L.M.S.W., CASAC, executive director of Credo Community Center.  “With this program, they will now be able to hit the ground running with a solid understanding of chemical dependency and the challenges faced by individuals trying to overcome their addiction.  The A.A.S. degree in chemical dependency paired with the bachelor’s degree in social work offered by Keuka College through the Jefferson Higher Education Center is a combination that will make a graduate even more marketable.   It is exciting to see this is all possible without having to leave Watertown.”

Graduates of Jefferson’s chemical dependency program will be prepared for employment within the field as entry level counselors, intake coordinators, administrative positions, relief staff and a variety of other positions. With changing job requirements in the field of chemical dependency, students may continue their educational studies in chemical dependency or in a related Bachelor’s degree program. Jefferson graduates will benefit from easy transfer to many colleges and universities including SUNY Binghamton, Keuka College, Columbia College, SUNY Brockport, Cornell University, SUNY Cortland, SUNY Empire State College and Ithaca College. 

The Chemical Dependency A.A.S. degree can be completed in four semesters of full-time study or over a longer period through part-time study.  All of the required classes are offered on campus and several are offered online and evenings. Students who wish to enroll in this program for the Spring 2013 semester are encouraged to contact the Admissions office, 315-786-2277, and the financial services office, 315-786-2355, as soon as possible to begin the application process.  Course registration for new students begins on November 5, 2012.

For more information regarding this program, please contact Gwen Francis-Frey, associate professor of early childhood, at or 315-786-2278 or Ronald Theobald, human services instructor at or 315-786-2494.