Human Services Technology

Human Services Technology, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse

It is time to pursue a professional career in Human Services! Enroll at the college and start your coursework in May.

What You Will Learn

You are committed to service; you are an empathetic leader who excels at building relationships and solving problems. You listen well and show that you care about others' well-being. In the human services field, you will practice with the utmost integrity. Enroll in the Human Services Technology program at Central Piedmont and earn an Associate of Applied Science in Human Services Technology with a concentration in either Developmental Disabilities or Substance Abuse. There are also many specialized certificates available designed primarily for individuals who already work in the field. 

As stated by the Southern Organization for Human Service Education, "Human Service professionals receive formal education combined with practical experience... Human Service professionals go wherever people are experiencing difficulties. Their profession is a vital one — not merely a job... their value is centered in their commitment to assisting others in maximizing their potential." Human services are designed to promote or enhance the personal well-being of individuals and is one of the fastest growing professions heading into the next century. The human services technology program at Central Piedmont will provide you with a basic body of knowledge and skills that will prepare you to be effective in a wide range of human service agencies. You can earn a specialized degree or certificate in:

  • Human Services Technology
  • Developmental Disabilities
  • Substance Abuse

Coursework will provide an understanding of the personal, social, psychological, and personal impact of issues, such as domestic violence, child abuse, disabilities, homelessness, mental health, aging, and substance abuse, among many others. Foundational knowledge includes the history of human service studies, professional standards, and ethical responsibilities. You will develop interpersonal and cross-cultural effective communication skills to work with a range of populations. You will study family structure dynamics and addiction process. Through training in case studies, you will practice interview and counseling techniques, research, crisis intervention strategies, therapy and prevention methods, and legal procedures. Upon completion of the program, you will be able to:

  • formulate and evaluate clients' needs based on the available evidence
  • develop a personal philosophy of human services based on current research on best practices
  • identify and apply appropriate assessment tools to evaluate and document clients' individual needs and context during an interview and/or home study in a multicultural environment; these tools include the utilization of attending and listening skills, development of supportive and empathetic presence, assessment and formulation of goals, the ability to plan and evaluate change, working with people/clients in crisis, and the development of a self-care process
  • identify and apply appropriate human services ethics based on current human services practices
  • explore ethical conflicts within the field of human services. 

Although there is currently no state licensure required for human services generalists, graduates will be eligible to sit the national Human Services Board Certified Practitioner credential developed by the Center for Credentialing and Education upon program completion. Graduates are employed in the criminal justice system and corrections centers, mental health clinics, social services, family services, disabilities agencies, rehabilitation centers, substance abuse treatment centers, non-profit organizations, and childcare and educational facilities. The Board Certified Human Services Professional credentialing will offer greater employment opportunities for the human services professional. 

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Why Choose Central Piedmont

The human services technology program is accredited by the Council for Standards in Human Service Education. You will gain valuable hands-on experience through a required internship. You will also have the opportunity to participate in the Human Services Technology Club as well as to apply to join the Tau Upsilon Alpha National Organization for Human Services Honor Society.

Real World Education

At Central Piedmont, your education goes beyond what you learn in class. We offer numerous opportunities for you to enhance your learning — and to make friends, network, and pursue your passions — through clubs and organizations, sports, events and activities, leadership opportunities, job experience, volunteer experiences, visual and performing arts, and even international experiences.

Central Piedmont has walked with me, cheering me on and allowing me the opportunity to be the best me possible. Evelyn Hill, Substance Abuse '21 Read Evelyn's story

Careers in Developmental Disabilities, Human Services Technology, and Substance Abuse

Visit Central Piedmont’s Career Coach for detailed human services technology career opportunities, salary information, and job openings. Upon completing a substance abuse certificate or degree program at Central Piedmont, you will not be certified by the state. State licensure is required if you are working with substance abuse specifically. You care required to work in the substance abuse field while you are in the process of getting your certification/licensure. You can learn more about State certification/licensure requirements and processes by contacting the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board at 919.832.0975 or The degree as well as the substance abuse counseling certificate will also provide you with the 300 hours of supervised practicum required by the Board. The information obtained in all courses helps to prepare you for the written State credentialing exam.

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The Details

  • Program Options

    The human services technology program offers multiple educational pathways, whether you are already in the profession or are just getting started. The college catalog lists the developmental disabilities, human services technology, and substance abuse program options, courses, eligibility, and requirements currently available at Central Piedmont.

    Choose from:

    • Associate in Applied Science in human services technology
    • Associate in Applied Science in human services technology - developmental disabilities
    • Associate in Applied Science in human services technology - substance abuse
    • several specialized human services technology, developmental disabilities, or substance abuse certificates

    Certificates are primarily designed for those individuals who already have advanced degrees and are interested in furthering their human services skills. There is also an interdisciplinary certificate in children with exceptionalities offered in collaboration with the early childhood education and occupational therapy assistant programs. If you would like information on opportunities to transfer associate degree credit to a four-year institution, please visit the Transfer Resource Center.

    Developmental Disabilities

    The Associate in Applied Science in human services technology - developmental disabilities and developmental disabilities certificates are designed to prepare current and prospective human service professionals to work with children and adults with physical, intellectual, and emotional disabilities. A key component of service provision is identifying the individual needs and supports for persons with disabilities.The past four decades have produced major advances in legislation, education and services for individuals with disabilities. With the support of innovative services, families are raising their children at home rather than in institutions, children previously considered uneducable are attending public schools, and adults with developmental disabilities maintain jobs, live independently, and are active members of their communities. Participating students will gain an understanding of the support needs of individuals with developmental disabilities in medical, psychological, social, educational, vocational, and economic terms. Fieldwork and clinical experience in community agencies which provide comprehensive services to persons with disabilities and their families will be offered. Successful graduates of the Associate in Applied Science in human services technology - developmental disabilities or developmental disabilities certificates should qualify for employment and leadership positions in group homes, foster care homes, respite services, vocational rehabilitation agencies, supported employment programs, adult day activity programs, early childhood intervention programs, public school classrooms as teacher assistants, community support services, and other programs that provide support for individuals with developmental disabilities.

    Substance Abuse

    The Associate in Applied Science in human services technology - substance abuse and substance abuse certificates are designed to prepare you for a career in the addictions field and assist you in the process of state credentialing toward becoming a certified or licensed substance abuse counselor. You will also be able to transfer your credits earned and pursue a four-year degree. Coursework includes classroom and experiential activities geared toward:

    • knowledge and skills in the twelve core functions of a substance abuse professional
    • an understanding of the physical, psychological, and sociological aspects of addiction, including process additions, co-occurring disorders, and relapse prevention
    • an understanding of the impact of addiction on the individual, the family, and society
    • knowledge and skills in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of addiction
    • an understanding of the ethical and legal aspects involved in the addictions field

    Graduates who complete certification/licensure by the State Board qualify for positions as substance abuse counselors, DWI evaluators and educators, residential and half-way house counselors, criminal justice addiction professionals, prevention and education specialists, case managers, and community based program managers. Substance abuse knowledge is vital in many other areas of human services including, mental health, social work, criminal justice, domestic violence, homelessness, and HIV prevention and education. The Central Piedmont substance abuse program does not currently provide peer support specialist training; North Carolina’s Peer Support Specialist Program is coordinated through the NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services. The credential offered is the NC Certified Peer Support Specialist (NCCPSS) and is required for those who want to provide peer services in a public agency. For more information on becoming a NCCPSS, please consult the NCCPSS page. Substance abuse certificates may be used towards the initial or renewal of certification/licensure through the North Carolina Substance Abuse Professional Practice Board (NCSAPPB) or the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC). These courses are also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC). If you already have a degree but it is not in a like field, you will be required to take additional prerequisite courses prior to or in conjunction with those required of the certificate.

    Visiting Students

    If you wish to transfer human services technology course credit back to your home institution, explore how to enroll at Central Piedmont as a visiting student.

    Corporate and Continuing Education

    Central Piedmont's Corporate and Continuing Education provides non-credit, non-degree courses and programs, including job skills, industry-focused career training, certificates, certifications, professional licensure, and personal enrichment. Day, evening, weekend, and online opportunities are available.

    College and Career Readiness

    If you are looking for programs to gain the knowledge or skills necessary to finish a high school degree or to get a job, visit Central Piedmont's College and Career Readiness.

    College Credit for High School Students

    Visit Career and College Promise to learn about opportunities for high school students to earn college credit at Central Piedmont.

  • Human Services Technology, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Program Requirements and Suggested Course Sequences

    The human services technology associate degree requires the completion of 73 credit hours completed full-time in five semesters, or 76 credit hours completed full time in five semesters if working towards the developmental disabilities or substance abuse concentrations. It is possible to complete certificates in three to four semesters, but recommended to complete in four. The curricula include general studies courses as well as program-specific courses. If you take more hours each semester or transfer relevant hours in from another college it may take you less time, if you can only attend on a part-time basis it will take you longer to complete. The program chair will work with each student every semester to advise you on course sequence and offers guidance on how many credit hours to take. It is imperative to seek advisement from the program chair for course sequence to complete as quickly as possible. Please note this timeframe does not apply to students that have a degree in an unrelated field, who will need to take additional courses. The timeframe for those students varies depending on how many additional classes they may need to take. General studies courses can be taken at any time and at most campuses. For detailed information on developmental disabilities, human services technology, and substance abuse program options, courses, eligibility, and requirements, visit the Central Piedmont Community College catalog. After completing the process to enroll at Central Piedmont, speak with a program advisor before registering for human services technology program courses.

    Suggested Course Sequences

    Work-Based Learning

    Human services technology degrees and certificates listed in the catalog with a WBL course(s) will require you to complete an internship (Work-Based Learning). For all human services technology associate degree students, work-based learning is typically done within the your last two semesters in the program. All human services technology students, regardless of specialization, must have a 2.5 cumulative GPA in order to take WBL courses. For more information, please contact the program chair or refer to the Work-Based Learning site.

  • Locations

    General education courses are available at many locations and over the summer, but program courses are not. Courses available and their schedules can change each semester. Check the developmental disabilities, human services technology, and substance abuse program options, courses, eligibility, and requirements each semester.

  • Course Delivery Methods

    • Classroom/Lab
    • Combined (Classroom/Lab and Online)
    • Online

    Our classes are very interactive and often have experiential aspects to them, thus may not be conducive to online instruction, but many of the general education classes are offered online. Courses available and their schedules can change each semester. Check the developmental disabilities, human services technology, and substance abuse program options, courses, eligibility, and requirements each semester.

  • Career Coach

  • Costs and Aid

    Central Piedmont provides real-world, affordable, hands-on education and career training. Learn how much it costs to attend Central Piedmont. Financial aid and scholarships are available.

    Human Services Technology Scholarships

    In particular, students interested in the human services technology program should consider the following scholarships. Please note that many scholarships are managed by organizations outside of Central Piedmont.

    Substance Abuse Scholarships
    PACT Scholars Program

    Thanks to a grant from the Mecklenburg County Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Board Community Health and Wellness Grant Program, the Central Piedmont substance abuse program is excited to announce its new Preparing Addictions Counselors of Tomorrow (PACT) Scholars Program. This program is designed to assist current substance abuse students who are facing barriers to completion. Students in the scholars program will benefit from the following opportunities:

    • scholarships for tuition, fees, and books for up to three semesters
    • academic advising and mentoring
    • participation in events designated by the substance abuse faculty and staff including career seminars, networking events, service-learning projects, professional organizations, conferences, and state Board meetings with funds for travel available for select non-local events
    • assistance with the application process for state credentials including financial assistance to pay for the registration fee

    In order to be eligible for the PACT Scholars Program, you must meet the following criteria (the program will verify your eligibility):

    • have attained a 2.5 or higher GPA
    • be currently enrolled in the Associate in Applied Science degree program in substance abuse or in the dual certificate program in substance abuse
    • have completed 30 hours of coursework (including general education courses) in the Associate in Applied Science degree program in substance abuse or 9 hours of coursework in the dual certificate program in substance abuse
    • enroll for a minimum of six credit hours per semester in the program (where feasible given remaining coursework and course availability)
    • complete the admissions process

    To apply for the PACT Scholarship:

    • Submit your information using the interest form. Program staff will follow up with you about next steps. Next steps include:

      • completing a 500-750 word essay
      • interviewing with the admissions committee

    Please contact Jeff King at with any questions you may have about the PACT scholarship.

  • Related Programs

  • Admitted Students: Find Your Faculty Advisor

    Students at Central Piedmont have a faculty advisor for each program of study offered. Find your faculty advisor based on your last name.

    Developmental Disabilities and Human Services Technology

    Sherina Dubose Tillman

    Substance Abuse

    • DeAn White: last names A–M
    • Tameka Brewington: last names N–Z