Opportunities For Qualifications & Study

Providing support and treatment for people with alcohol and other drug issues is a specialised field which requires study and training.

Listed below are some of the common pathways and courses available with links to further information.

An online search will provide further study opportunities available through online universities and other registered training organisations.

For more information about any of these opportunities, please contact the training provider directly.

Alcohol and Other Drug Skill Set

The Alcohol and Other Drug Skill Set is a vocational entry level course. It can be done in addition to an existing qualification in the community services and health fields to provide additional skills in AOD work.

Link to more information: https://training.gov.au/Training/Details/CHCSS00093


Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs

The Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs is a vocational qualification recognised as the minimum preferred qualification by most employers. It can be undertaken as a stand alone qualification or in addition to an existing vocational or higher education qualification. It provides a comprehensive grounding in the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to work in the alcohol and other drug sector.

Social Work

This degree will equip you with the knowledge, skills and values required for social work practice. You’ll graduate prepared to work in a range of contexts, including government, not-for-profit and private organisations.


A qualification in Psychology will enable you to work in the AOD sector in clinical roles, providing counselling, support and case management.

Public Health and Health Promotion

These qualifications often lead to work in policy development and implementation in government or non-government organisations. Public health is the branch of health and medicine that aims to improve the health and well-being of both big and small communities. You will be able to develop your understanding of public health, and how change can affect the wider community.

UniSA: https://online.unisa.edu.au/degrees/bachelor-of-public-health

Flinders University: https://www.flinders.edu.au/study/courses/bachelor-public-health

University of Adelaide: https://www.adelaide.edu.au/degree-finder/mph_mpubhlt.html 

Graduate Certificate in Alcohol and Drug Studies

This is a flexible online certificate, ideally suited to professionals maintaining regular work commitments in Australia or overseas. It focuses on building advanced knowledge around drugs and alcohol, and the ways in which addiction can be treated.

Addiction Medicine

Qualifications in addiction medicine are gained after three years of post-graduate study. Once qualified clinicians become members of the Chapter of Addiction Medicine.

Link to further information: https://www.racp.edu.au/about/college-structure/adult-medicine-division/australasian-chapter-of-addiction-medicine


General Practice

General practitioners may specialise in AOD by working in clinics with a high number of AOD using clients or by working as a GP within a specialist government (Drug and Alcohol Services SA) or non-government service.

Link to further information: https://www.racgp.org.au/education/professional-development/courses/alcohol-and-other-drugs


What it’s like to work in the South
Australian AOD Sector

  • Jasmin
    I chose to work in the AOD field as it provides an opportunity to support diverse populations and utilise a broad range of skills. The field intersects different areas of practice, and each day provides a new challenge. There are a broad range of reasons that can lead a young person to use substances in a problematic way, and I value the opportunity to be a part of someone’s journey into recovery, empower them to live a life full of quality and reduce the stigma surrounding alcohol and other drug use.
  • Sophie
    As a Youth Worker, I was continuously frustrated at the lack of services and programs for vulnerable young people to access in a regional setting for their AOD issues. Now, working in the AOD sector, I really enjoy the mutual respect between myself and those who walk in the door of my office, whoever they are. I love seeing people get to where they want to be, and their humour, resilience and respect for a therapeutic alliance.
    Sophie Bourchier
    Substance Misuse Limestone Coast
  • Throughout my career and personal life I have observed the impacts AOD has had on people’s lives and the barriers for people seeking treatment. I never set out directly to work in this field, but through my career journey, I wanted to be part of supporting people. As a Senior Practitioner with New ROADS, it’s an absolute privilege to be in a position to work directly with clients on their recovery journey. The work isn’t always easy, however, the reward that comes from seeing people flourish and succeed and the benefits observed when community attitudes shift makes this work extremely worthwhile.
    New ROADS, Uniting Communities
  • Lisa
    It was never my goal to work in the AOD Sector. In the 90s I was trying a start fresh after a stint in prison and a 10-year dependence on various illicit substances. After a great deal of self-reflection, I eventually felt stable enough to change my path. While I was studying, I volunteered at a local AOD service and the work has been so rewarding. I have been stopped by past clients in the street who have wanted to let me know that I really helped them, and they were doing well.
    Hepatitis SA

Links to further information

If you’re interested in further information about a career in the Alcohol and
Other Drug Sector, visit the links below.

SANDAS Jobs Board

Vacancies in the South Australian Alcohol and Other Drug Sector are listed here.

Getting You Ready for a New Career

Explore the opportunities for further study in Alcohol and Other Drug work for a range of qualifications.

Ongoing Learning

Visit our Events page for links to further Professional Development opportunities from SANDAS and other providers.