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Whatcom Community College to offer new pathways for chemical dependency professionals

New program fills critical need in local behavioral health workforce

Post Date:02/21/2018 9:00 a.m.

Bellingham, Wash. – With the increase in opioid dependency cases, both locally and nationally, there is a shortage of skilled behavior health professionals to provide counseling and treatment to those who need it. People interested in becoming a chemical dependency professional can soon pursue two new options at Whatcom Community College (WCC). Whatcom is now accepting applications for fall 2018 for a certificate of proficiency program, as well as an associate in science degree. The associate degree has two specialty options: general and behavioral health.

The programs prepare students to work as certified chemical dependency professionals in Washington State to assess, counsel, and treat individuals who are experiencing issues with substance use, abuse, and addiction. Students in this program will develop as professionals to gain deeper knowledge of the effects of psychoactive drugs, legal and ethical considerations, culturally sensitive counseling techniques, as well as strong assessment and case management skills. The courses offer evidence-based practices, and are offered primarily in the evening and through a combination of online and face-to-face classes. 

The degrees are still pending accreditation approval by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. WCC has already been approved by National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors as an education provider and is currently offering an alternative training program for masters level clinicians to be trained as chemical dependency professionals. Twenty students have completed the certificate of proficiency program and 22 more are currently enrolled.

Learn more, including how to apply, at or attend an upcoming information session:

About Whatcom:

Whatcom Community College is a regionally and nationally accredited college with an accomplished faculty and staff who serve 11,000 students annually. The College works closely with industry to prepare graduates to excel in their fields and meet emerging business trends. On its campus in Bellingham, Wash., and through online courses, Whatcom offers a four-year bachelor of applied science, transfer and professional-technical degrees, as well as basic education, job skills training, and community education classes. For more information, visit


Marisa Ellis, Whatcom Community College PIO, 360.383.3310, 


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