Doane students can take free courses toward drug, alcohol counseling program

Nebraska City News-Press

Doane students interested in becoming a provisionally licensed alcohol and drug counselor now have the opportunity to take a number of undergraduate counseling courses for free. 

The funding for these courses, provided by a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) grant, applies to eight undergraduate courses in Doane’s substance use counseling program. These courses are foundational to receive certification as a Provisional Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (PLADC). Funding to receive free tuition and fees to complete the coursework applies to a limited number of students.

The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN) at the University of Nebraska Medical Center was created in 2009 to address a shortage of behavioral health professionals. Their purpose is to recruit, retain, and increase competency of the state’s behavioral health workforce. Potential students must first apply to be accepted to the BHECN program before they are eligible for the grant funds. 

In 2004, the Nebraska Legislature passed LB 1083, which formally moved the state away from institutional care delivered at three state-run regional centers. Instead, a community-based approach was adopted, focusing on maintaining wellness and recovery through resources in a local community.

Despite Nebraska’s progress over the years, there is still a shortage of behavioral health professionals, particularly in rural communities. The overwhelming majority of Nebraska counties are recognized as mental health professional shortage areas by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. 

In order to receive certification as a PLADC, an individual must complete eight courses and 300 hours of clinical experience (included in Doane’s substance use counseling program). Once someone has earned their bachelor’s degree, they must complete 4,000 hours of experience to transition from provisionally licensed to fully licensed. However, individuals can be gainfully employed with a provisional license. 

Funding for Doane students to take courses to receive licensure as a PLADC is available to students in a bachelor’s degree program and non-degree seeking students. Funding applies not only for tuition and fees for the courses, but also a $750 stipend to purchase a laptop or pay for textbooks. 

Students in Doane’s Master of Arts in Counseling program may also be eligible to receive funding for three graduate-level courses for PLADC certification. 

Prospective Doane students interested in this opportunity should contact enrollment@doane.edu and visit PLADC Practicum Federal Funding - UNMC for additional information. Current Doane students interested should contact their advisor.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number M01HP31279 and Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) for $1.1 million over four years. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.