Social Work/CASAC Program

Below you'll find answers to the most frequently asked questions for the Master of Social Work and Addiction Credential at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. For additional questions, contact us at

Program Name: Social Work/CASAC Program
Degree Type: Master of Social Work and Addiction Credential
Credits: 60
Start Semester(s): Fall, Spring, Summer
Format(s): On-Campus, Live Online, Asynchronous
FT/PT: Full- or Part-Time

What is a CASAC credential?

CASAC stands for Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor. This is a credential issued by the state of NY indicating you have completed the equivalent of 350 hours of clinical training and are prepared specifically to address addiction issues from direct clinical practice to policy development. The training required for NY meets national standards and is applicable to credentialing in most other states.

What does the credential allow me to do that a regular LCSW cannot?

Many agencies who work primarily with addicted populations require a CASAC. This includes Medication Assisted Treatment programs for the opioid dependent client, inpatient detoxification and residential treatment programs. The CADAC signifies that you are qualified to practice social work with this specialty population. It is a universally recognized sign of your qualifications.

How many courses will I take for my MSW?

The MSW program consists of 20 three credit courses for a total of 60 credits. For CASAC students, 9 of those credits prepare you specifically for work in the field of addictions. Field placement will be in an agency that serves, at least in part, clients with addiction issues.

How many courses go toward my CASAC certificate?

Three elective courses in addiction, one course in psychosocial pathology, and two advanced clinical practice courses. Field placement will be in an agency that serves, at least in part, clients with addiction issues.

Do students enrolled in the joint CASAC program take more classes than those in the traditional MSW program?

No, they do not. All MSW students complete 60 credits.

What courses do I take for the CASAC certificate and when do I take them?

Three elective courses in addiction: (SWK 6691; 6791 and 6891); one course in psychosocial pathology (SWK 6111); and two advanced clinical practice courses (SWK 6013 or 6123 and 6014 or 6024). Field placement will be in an agency that serves, at least in part, clients with addiction issues. The addiction courses must be taken in sequence, each a prerequisite for the other, unless approved by the program director.

What is the CASAC fieldwork like: hours, settings, when you take them in the sequence?

Field hour requirements are the same for all MSW students. Students in the Joint MSW/CASAC program will work with the field office to establish a placement where they are trained to work with clients suffering from addiction.

Can Advanced Standing students enroll in the MSW/CASAC program?

Yes, though it will require an additional elective as the CASAC requires 3, not the usual 2 for advanced standing students.

Where are the classes held?

Classes are held either in virtual classroom or asynchronous online format. Each is supported by a state of the art thoroughly developed course shell in the Canvas Learning Management System. When the school is open, courses may also be taken face to face on the NY campus with all classroom courses supported by a specialized course shell in the Canvas Learning Management System.

Are there prerequisites to apply for the joint CASAC program? If so, what happens if I don’t have them?

No prerequisites. Any student accepted into the MSW program may choose the CASAC program. Students who have taken undergraduate courses or have other substantial training in addictions may be advised to complete a CASAC application with NY State OASAS and obtain a report of how much more training they need.  This would then be reviewed with the CASAC Program Director for advising.

Who is the ideal student for the program?

Ideally Joint MSW/CASAC students will have an identified commitment to learning to practice with a clinically special population. Most persons suffering addictions have additional mental illness. Initial interventions may be brief but recovering clients need ongoing support in stable psychotherapeutic treatment.

What makes the CASAC certificate offering unique?

It is the electives. All Wurzweiler students receive excellent clinical social work courses and the MSW/CASAC program electives provide an additional clinical focus to the MSW studies. Addiction counseling has a parallel (though more recent) professional history and regulatory structure as social work. Graduates of this program will be recognized as “Dually Credentialed” or in some states “Dually Licensed” in both social work and addiction counseling.

How long will the program take to complete?

This program takes the same amount of time as the regular MSW program.

Am I eligible for any additional licenses? If so, how do I get the license (i.e. what exams and licensing hours do I need)?

Certification, credentialing and licensing of addiction counselors varies by state. In NY state, the addictions credential is simply called a ‘credential.’ In other states, It is called a certification or a license.In all cases a competency exam must be passed, similar to the social work licensing process. The Joint MSW/CASAC program meets NY state educational standards which are accepted by the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium which affords a high degree or portability from state to state and internationally.

Do I apply for the CASAC program at the same time as the MSW on the application?

Yes - it is best if this interest is indicated at the time of admission by selecting the MSW/CASAC program option in the application.

Can I apply to the MSW first and then decide to add on the CASAC certificate?

Yes - but be sure to not take any other elective first.

Are there any scholarship opportunities unique to this joint program?

Not yet! The school is working on seeking support for this program and students will be kept informed through the student newsletter. Although there aren't additional CASAC scholarships yet, students are eligible for our MSW scholarships awarded at the time of admission.

Who teaches in the program and what makes them qualified to teach addiction and substance abuse classes?

Program Director Dr. Tim Conley, LCSW, has been a Certified Addiction Specialist (CAS) with the American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders since 1996. An Associate Clinical Professor at Wurzweiler School of Social Work, he designed and oversees all addictions course content, updates, and teaching. There are 8 additional professors vetted and qualified to teach in this specialty.