If you are looking for a profitable healthcare career that is also personally rewarding in nature, you can start your steps towards becoming a substance abuse counselor. A substance abuse counselor, who is otherwise known as ‘drug abuse counselor’, is a health care professional who identifies the primary causes of a person’s addictive behavior and then, start following the particular person through a systematic regimen of physical as well as psychological therapies.
As a substance abuse counselor, you could have the opportunities to work in various settings like:
Residential treatment facilities
Juvenile detention centers
State or local government
Substance abuse centers
Mental health centers
Employee assistance programs
As a substance abuse counselor, you may have to perform the following tasks:
Assessing and evaluating the patients’ mental as well as physical health, addiction problem, and their willingness to get treatment
Helping patients in developing treatment objectives and plans
Reviewing and recommending treatment choices with the patients and their families
Helping patients to develop skills and/or behaviors required in order to recover from their addiction
Working with patients in order to find out the behaviors/situations that hinder their recovery
Teaching families on addiction
Helping the clients to develop strategies for coping with the addiction problems
Referring the patients to other resources and/or services like:
Job placement services
Conducting outreach programs to help identifying the signs of addiction and steps to avoid addiction
How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor?
The educational requirements for becoming a substance abuse counselor would vary depending on the various factors like:
Type of work
Level of responsibility
Thus, the requirements would range from a high school diploma to a postgraduate degree. Candidates with more education are trusted without much immediate supervision.
Study fields relating to substance abuse counseling are:
Licensure and Certification:
All the substance abuse counselors in private practice need to be licensed. In the United States, the licensing requirements would vary from state to state. However, all the states require the candidate to have a master’s degree plus 2000-4000 hours of supervised clinical experience. Additionally, the applying candidates must pass an exam and fulfill continuing education each year. For further information on licensure and certification, you may look at:
National Board for Certified Counselors
Addiction Technology Transfer Center
Job Outlook and Opportunities:
The job opportunity for substance abuse counselors has been projected to increase by 31% from the year 2012 to 2022. This rate is much faster than the median for all the occupations.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual pay for a substance abuse counselor was found to be $38,520 per year in May 2012. This equals the hourly pay of $18.52.
Average Pay : $38,520
Education : High school diploma or more
Number of Jobs, 2012 : 89,600
Employment Growth from 2012 to 2022 : 31%
On-the-job training : Moderate-term on-the-job training