LAKE WORTH — More than 22 million people in the U.S. are in need of substance abuse treatment, causing a shortage of trained addiction professionals.

Palm Beach State College, where Dennis Gallon is president, is answering this need by offering an 18-month College Credit Certificate program and a two-year Associate in Science degree in Addiction Studies, both starting this fall term. Classes begin Aug. 23.

Information sessions will be held from 6-7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 11 and Monday, Aug. 13 in Room CE119 in the Continuing Education Building on the Lake Worth campus, 4200 Congress Ave.

The Addiction Studies programs are designed to prepare students for employment as clinical specialists, social/human services practitioners, chemical dependency practitioners, addiction specialists and substance abuse counselors.

“I receive phone calls almost every day from prospective students looking for an accredited addiction studies program that will allow them to learn the necessary skills in order to become substance abuse professionals,” says Lois Pasapane, department chair and professor of psychology and human services.

The 39-credit College Credit Certificate is the technical core of the 73-credit A.S. degree, and both meet the coursework requirement for the Florida state addiction professional certification.

Pasapane stressed that a wide range of individuals at different points in their careers can take advantage of the programs, from high school graduates to those who already have degrees but want specialized education in this field. The CCC credits transfer fully into the A.S. degree, and A.S. degree credits transfer into Palm Beach State’s B.A.S. degree in Supervision and Management.

Transfer agreements with other state colleges and universities also are in the works. Both programs are eligible for financial aid.

“We have been contacted by several external groups and rehabilitation facilities expressing interest in Palm Beach State offering these programs,” said Susan Caldwell, associate dean of social science.

Florida is at the top of the list for number of rehabilitation facilities. With a large number of local treatment centers and new ones under construction, the college will be positioned to respond to the growing need for qualified addiction professionals.

“It’s very gratifying to be a part of these important new programs,” said Pasapane. “I look forward to helping our students learn to make a difference in so many people’s lives.”

For more information go to or call 561-868-3326.

Photo: Tanya James