Mental Health and Addictions Counselling

Saskatchewan Polytechnic is pleased to announce the launch of our redesigned Mental Health and Addictions Counselling (formerly Addictions Counselling) diploma program, which began August 2021. With the new delivery format, students will be able to study where they live and bring their new knowledge in the specialty to communities across the province to assist with our growing addictions crisis in Saskatchewan.

This is a demanding program that requires a full-time commitment. Students who are studying in this hybrid format will be required to:

  • Attend scheduled synchronous Zoom sessions each day for five to six hours.
  • Have access to a stable Internet connection (in your home or community) to allow you to fully participate in the program activities.
  • Ensure ongoing access to a reliable computer (desktop or laptop) and two standard size monitors to allow you to work effectively at home and participate actively in your Zoom classes.
  • Have a web camera and have it turned on while you are participating in Zoom activities.
  • Set up a private space for your studies (for classroom confidentiality).
  • Ensure you have an ergonomically correct space for your studies.
  • Attend a Sask Polytech campus (location to be determined) for one week in each semester one, two, four and five. These residencies are mandatory.
  • Be available for applied learning activities through practicums in semesters three, five and six. You may be required to spend this time in a location away from your home and where addictions counselling services are provided. During this time, you will be assigned to a preceptor and will apply the skills you have learned throughout your program in an industry setting.
Applied (hands-on) learning is the cornerstone of Sask Polytech's vision for education and allows you to hone the skills you've obtained throughout the Mental Health and Addictions Counselling program. It is made possible by our strong relationships with our industry partners, and they are excited to work with and mentor our students. You'll work alongside them and work directly with clients in a supervised setting; you'll have the opportunity to better understand the 'real world' role of a mental health and addictions counsellor and make important connections for your upcoming career. At times some travel is needed during these experiences to ensure you are able to meet the competencies of the program.
Our program works closely with Lethbridge College, the University of Lethbridge and Thompson Rivers University.

General courses that are transferable from other colleges, universities, or polytechnics include: ENGL 101, PSYC 102, and SOCI 171.

Career and salary information

Your career

Graduates of our program make a difference for clients in a variety of settings; here are a few of the areas and programs where our graduates work:

  • inpatient and residential treatment
  • intensive day-patient and outpatient
  • community mental health and addiction services (integrated outreach services)
  • indigenous treatment centres
  • mental health crisis teams
  • emergency departments
  • rapid access to addiction medicine clinics (RAAM) and a variety of multidisciplinary teams
  • partial hospital and day treatment
  • detoxification: social and medical
  • correctional facilities
  • programs working with offenders under community supervision
  • juvenile detention centres
  • employee family assistance programs
  • prevention and education community mobilization

For more information, contact the Student Employment Services at the Saskatchewan Polytechnic campus nearest you.

Potential careers

Sample job title NOC classification
Addictions counsellor Therapists in counselling & related specialized therapies (41301)
Mental health worker Social and community service workers (42201)
Crisis intervention worker Social and community service workers (42201)


Admission requirements


  • Current certification in the following must be provided prior to the commencement of semester 2 of the program. The cost of this certification is your responsibility:
    • Transferring Lifting Repositioning (TLR®)
    • Advanced Professional Assault Response Training (PART)
    • Standard First Aid
    • Basic Life Support Provider (formerly CPR Health Care Provider 'C' AED) or equivalent
    • 2015 WHMIS Globally Harmonized System (GHS) certification. Recertification will be required every three years to remain current.
  • Accepted applicants are required to provide evidence of a Criminal Record Check and Vulnerable Sector Search prior to commencement of the program. (When you are accepted to the program, you will be further advised of the required timelines for submission of the related documents. Please await further notice).
  • Accepted applicants are required to provide current immunization records.
  • Program readiness is vital to success in the program. If you have experience(s) with a substance use disorder(s), you will need to have reached a level of stability and functionality that will allow you to undertake this program of studies and to counsel others. It is strongly recommended that you consult with a Saskatchewan Polytechnic academic program advisor if you have questions about your preparedness for the program. An interview and/or letter of intent may be required to support your readiness.

Alternative admission

Applicants who do not possess the academic qualifications for a program may be admitted if evidence of probable success can be established through an alternative admission assessment. Applicants are automatically considered for alternative admission. However, some specific admission requirements may still need to be met.


Refer to the ACCUPLACER© cut scores for this program below, and review additional details concerning Alternative Admission using Accuplacer.

  • 250 Reading
  • 245 Writing
  • 4 Writeplacer


Some programs allow applicants to meet the admission grade level requirement using 15 approved post-secondary credits. Review additional information.

If the program applied to has specific course requirements, they may be met through alternative post-secondary courses. Review already approved courses that may be used for admission purposes for your programs.

Admission method

First Qualified/First Admitted

The First Qualified/First Admitted (FQFA) process is used for the majority of Saskatchewan Polytechnic programs. When we determine that you meet the program's admission requirements, you will be offered admission based on the date you fully qualify for the program. The earlier you provide the appropriate documents and information that qualify you for admission to the next intake, the earlier you might begin your studies. Your application, once qualified, is always considered for the next intake. 

Applicants to programs with multiple intakes in an academic year remain in the application pool until the last intake for that academic year has begun. Programs using the FQFA process receive applications year round and maintain an application pool for each academic year. Qualified applicants who are not offered a seat must reapply for the next academic year. 

Sponsored programs or programs targeted to specific groups do not accept applications year round or maintain an application pool.

See Admission Processes for more information about this method of admission.

Tuition and fees

Estimates are based on current rates and are subject to change. Amounts for a program may vary by campus. Totals shown here include all mandatory fees as well as approximate cost for books and supplies. Visit the Tuition and Fees web page for a complete breakdown of tuition and fees for this program.

2023-24 academic year 

Year 1 - $10,150
Year 2 - $9,310


Get credit for what you know

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition

Saskatchewan Polytechnic recognizes that adults learn in many different ways. This includes acquiring knowledge and skills through life and work experience or non-formal training.

See link(s) below to get more information about PLAR.

Transfer credit

Many Sask Polytech students benefit from transferring course credit. You may be eligible to transfer credit to Sask Polytech or to another college or university.

Institution Agreement details
Lethbridge College Graduates of this program may be eligible for block transfer, with a min GPA of 2.0, into the third year of the Bachelor of Applied Arts in Justice Studies. Students must complete Criminology-CJP 2278 prior to entering third year of the BAAJS program.
Thompson Rivers University Graduates of this program may be granted a maximum of 69 transfer credits into the Bachelor of Health Science. 
University of Lethbridge Graduates of this program may qualify for admission into the Post-Diploma Bachelor of Health Sciences Degree program in Addictions Counselling for completion of their Bachelor of Health Sciences degree.

Student awards

Thanks to the generosity of donors and alumni, Saskatchewan Polytechnic gives away more than $2 million in student awards during the academic year.

Saskatchewan Polytechnic offers student awards for every certificate and diploma program at every campus. Not all student awards are based on marks - some are based on financial need or things like community or volunteer involvement.

More about scholarships


Canadian Addictions Counselling Federation (CACCF)

The program is sanctioned by the Canadian Addictions Counsellor Certification Federation (CACCF, It also exceeds national workforce competencies developed by the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse (CCSA). This means your training is relevant in today’s job market.

Justice Studies

Youth Care Worker

Additional information

Joy Friesen
Program head
Mental Health and Addictions Counselling