Login

Drug Rehabilitation Careers: Job Options and Requirements

Degrees related to drug rehabilitation typically involve psychology or social work. Find out about the curricula of these programs, and learn about career options, job growth and salary info for graduates.

View popular schools

A career in drug rehabilitation requires a bachelor's degree and may require a license or certification and additional training. Drug rehabilitation careers include social workers, counselors, and registered nurses.

Essential Information

While social workers specializing in substance abuse must possess at least a bachelor's degree in social work or psychology to enter the drug rehabilitation field, nurses need only to be licensed as a registered nurse (RN) in the state they work. Substance abuse counselors face the most requirements, generally needing a master's degree as well as additional experience working in a drug rehabilitation setting.

Career Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors Registered Nurses
Education Requirements Bachelor's degree Master's degree and experience RN licensure
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 19% 22% 16%
Median Salary (2015)* $42,170 $39,980 $67,490

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Find schools that offer these popular programs

  • Clinical Pastoral Counseling
  • Community Health Services
  • Genetic Counseling
  • Marriage and Family Counseling
  • Medical Social Work
  • Mental Health Counseling
  • Mental Health Services Technician
  • Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis
  • Substance Abuse Counseling

Careers

Careers in drug rehabilitation can include registered nurses as well as social workers and substance abuse counselors. See below for more information on the roles these positions play in the drug rehabilitation field.

Substance Abuse Counselor

Counselors help those suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction by supporting and treating the client through their rehabilitation process. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors are expected to grow at an above-average rate of 22% from 2014-2024, while the median salary of counselors in 2015 was $39,980.

Substance Abuse Social Worker

Social workers are trained to provide a variety of services that help improve the lives of the disadvantaged. Substance abuse social workers provide services similar to a counselor, including group therapy session. A social working my also focus on social rehabilitation, the process of integrating clients back into a social life following cessation of an addiction or discharge from a treatment facility.

The median annual wage for mental health and substance abuse social workers in 2015 was $42,170, according to the BLS. At that time, outpatient care centers employed the most of these workers, though the highest salaries were found in the offices of health practitioners. The BLS projects a 19% employment increase for mental health and substance abuse social workers between 2014 and 2024.

Substance Abuse Nurse

These registered nurses often provide support to drug rehabilitation clinics with an intimate knowledge of the effect of drug withdrawal and use. Typically these types of nurses administer select medications that ease the withdrawal symptoms of a drug addict seeking treatment. These nurses generally follow guidelines put forth by the American Society for Addiction Medicine (ASAM), but traditional nursing programs generally do not offer substance abuse specializations.

The BLS does not report specifically on substance abuse nurses, but the overall registered nursing field is expected to experience a 16% job growth rate from 2014-2024, according to BLS projections. BLS data from 2015 indicated a median annual salary of $67,490 for registered nurses at that time.

Requirements

Requirements for entry into the field of drug rehabilitation vary significantly according to the desired position. Substance abuse nurses generally only need to be licensed as a registered nurse (RN) in the state they wish to work; however, some positions will require the completion of a specialized associate's degree as well. Social workers specializing in substance abuse must possess at least a bachelor's degree in social work or, in rare instances, a related field such as psychology. A master's degree and additional clinical experience in a substance abuse facility are generally required for employment as a substance abuse counselor.

The BLS predicts faster-than-average job growth for substance abuse social workers, substance abuse counselors, and registered nurses from 2014-2024. Those interested in pursuing a career as a social worker or counselor may complete a bachelor's degree program in social work or psychology. A master's degree or license may be recommended or required. Registered nurses may also need to take additional training to specialize in drug rehabilitation.

Next: View Schools

What is your highest level of education?

Some College
Complete your degree or find the graduate program that's right for you.
High School Diploma
Explore schools that offer bachelor and associate degrees.
Still in High School
Earn your diploma of GED. Plan your undergraduate education.

Schools you may like:

Popular Schools

The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.

    • Master of Health Administration in Health Systems Management
    • Master of Science in Health Informatics
    • Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate

    What is your highest level of education?

    • MSHS in Health Care Quality
    • Graduate Certificate in Health Care Quality

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Master of Science in Healthcare Management

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision
    • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Performance Psychology
    • EdD in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
    • MS in Addiction Counseling
    • MS in Professional Counseling
    • M.S. in Professional Counseling with an Emphasis in Trauma
    • M.S. in Mental Health and Wellness with Emphasis in Grief and Bereavement
    • M.S. in Mental Health and Wellness with Emphasis in Prevention
    • M.S. in Mental Health and Wellness
    • BS in Counseling - Addiction, Chemical Dependency, and Substance Abuse
    • BS in Health Care Administration
    • BS in Health Sciences: Professional Development & Advanced Patient Care
    • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science
    • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Mental Health and Wellness Emphasis in Community Health Administration
    • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Forensic Psychology

    What is your highest level of education?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • Master of Arts in Health and Human Services Administration

    What is your highest level of education completed?

  • What is your highest level of education completed?

    • MBA in Healthcare Management
    • Master of Health Administration
    • Executive Certificate in Health Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

    • Graduate Specialization - Healthcare Administration

    What is your highest level of education?

Find your perfect school

What is your highest level of education?