The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) is the first nursing school in the United States to offer a post-bachelor’s Substance Use and Addictions Nursing Certificate. The online 12-credit graduate certificate is offered to registered and advanced practice registered nurses.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the already rising rates of overdose deaths in the United States. Between October 2019 and September 2020 there were more than 87,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States — the highest rate for a 1-year period since the opioid crisis began.

“My vision for this program started when I worked in the ER, early in the opioid epidemic, and later in behavioral health, where I experienced firsthand the need for nurses to know how to address addictions,” said Victoria L. Selby, PhD ’17, MS ’09, BSN ’06, CRNP-PMH, PMHNP-BC, CARN-AP, assistant professor and director of the program. “These patients were someone’s child, parent, [and] best friend – people with lives, dreams, and families. So, with a team of like-minded faculty, this program was not only built on facts and evidence, but also on the idea that nurses touch lives and can make a difference.”

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The Substance Use and Addictions Nursing Certificate program is designed to prepare nurses to care for individuals, families, and communities affected by addictions across all practice settings and take on leadership roles in addictions nursing, according to UMSON. To program will also prepare nurse to take the Certified Addictions Registered Nursing (CARN) or Certified Addictions Registered Nurse Advanced Practice (CARN-AP) exam. The certificate is complete through 4 online courses that can be completed in 1 year (two 15-week semesters), and includes a 90-hour in-person practicum component.

The Substance Use and Addictions Nursing Certificate program was developed with assistance from a Nurse Support Program (NSP) II grant, funded through the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission and administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Students in the program are eligible to apply for federal financial aid.


University of Maryland School of nursing launches nation’s first post-bachelor’s certificate in substance use and addictions nursing. News release. University of Maryland School of Nursing. April 21, 2021. Accessed April 26, 2021.