AUGUSTA — The University of Maine at Augusta has received certification as a NAADAC Approved Educational Provider for the Graduate Certificate in Substance Use Disorders program. Academic programs with this credential are assured that the credits provided will be accepted toward national credentialing by the NAADAC Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals, as well as by many of the individual state licensing/certification bodies in the addiction and other helping professions.

The NAADAC Approved Education Provider certification signifies that an organization has voluntarily opened its educational programs to examination by NCC AP for content applicability to state, national, and international certification standards. This rigorous review process ensures that learners receive a consistent, reliable, and quality learning experience that is applicable to their careers and advances their understanding of addiction and co-occurring disorders-related issues.

Maine ranks among the top states in the country for opioid-involved overdose death rates. According to a report released by the Maine Attorney General’s Office in February, an estimated 716 Mainers died from drug overdoses in 2022, and last year was the third consecutive year that Maine set another record of fatal overdoses.  The 716 overdose deaths in Maine in 2022 were part of the more than 10,110 total overdoses that were reported.

The skyrocketing rate of non-fatal overdoses helps to reveal the enormous and growing scale of this crisis that has been exacerbated by the flood of deadly fentanyl. In addition, treatment options have not been meeting the communities’ needs due to the sheer number of people impacted (directly and indirectly), and many healthcare providers are currently in preparation for retirement.

The Graduate Certificate in Substance Use Disorders program at UMA was launched in fall 2020 to address these challenges. It offers training and education for those who are seeking to become certified/licensed, for those who want to maintain their certification/license at the state or national level, for those who want to add to their education, and for those from other disciplines who want to learn more about substance use and co-occurring disorders.

Students who successfully complete the UMA graduate certificate can sit for the national Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor exam to pursue licensing as a substance use treatment professional and can apply for the Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS) certification. The CCS is a national certification allowing individuals to seek employment in all 50 states and is required to supervise Registered Alcohol and Drug Counselors, Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselors, and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselors.

“We are very excited about this new certification from NAADAC,” stated Wendy St. Pierre, UMA associate professor of Mental Health & Human Services and Coordinator of the program. “As a completely online program, our graduate certificate will offer current human services professionals throughout the U.S. the flexibility to obtain a credential that can lead to career advancement and become a pathway to additional professional credentials or a master’s degree. It is also consistent with UMA’s long-standing mission and history as a leader in distance education.”

Since UMA’s program integrates course work with current academic programming available at its sister institutions within the University of Maine System, students could continue their graduate education at the University of Maine or the University of Southern Maine with some credits easily transferable.

Applications are now being accepted for UMA’s Graduate Certificate in Substance Use Disorders programs for a fall 2023 start. There will be two virtual information sessions to learn more about the program: April 13 and May 3. Visit for details.

UMA transforms the lives of students of every age and background across the State of Maine and beyond through access to high-quality distance and on-site education, excellence in student support, civic engagement, and professional and liberal arts programs.  For more information, please visit