Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor: Job Description and Requirements
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a licensed drug and alcohol counselor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about training, job duties and licensure to find out if this is the career for you.
Licensed drug and alcohol counselors are professionally trained to assist people in overcoming substance abuse problems. They may provide counseling to addicts as a stand-alone therapy, as well as during or after rehabilitation treatments. Addicts are often counseled in groups, but individual counseling sessions may also be offered. Licensure requirements vary significantly from state to state and so do education requirements for this career field. In some states, a high school diploma and on-the-job training is enough for licensure, whereas other states require professionals to hold master's degrees. Other licensure requirements often include completing state-designated training programs and passing state-approved licensing exams. A strong desire to help others and the ability to withstand emotional stress are necessary ingredients for success in this career.
|Required Education||Varies by position, duties, and state requirements|
|Other Requirements||Fulfill educational and training requirements for licensure; pass licensure exam|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)||31%*|
|Average Salary (2013)||$41,090*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Licensed drug and alcohol counselors deal with individuals who may be addicted to alcohol and/or prescription or illegal drugs. Counselors monitor their clients' progress by taking notes and making reports throughout the course of treatment. Because substance abuse problems affect more than just the individual, counselors may also provide support to friends and family members. They may work with other health care professionals to determine the optimal treatment plan and find ongoing support for an addict upon release from treatment, such as a 12-step program.
While mental health counselors in general need to possess at least a master's degree in order to become licensed, licensure for drug and alcohol counselors depends on the state. Some states may only require a high school education and certification. The National Board for Certified Counselors offers the National Certified Counselor (NCC) credential, as well as specialty certifications such as the Master Addictions Counselor (MAC) credential (www.nbcc.org).
To earn the NCC credential, candidates must complete a certain amount of relevant coursework, pass an exam and possess counseling experience. For the MAC credential, candidates must first already have earned the NCC credential and then complete coursework, pass an exam and possess counseling experience relevant to the topic of addiction.
Even if postsecondary education is not required for licensure in one's chosen state, it is a good foundation from which to start a counseling career. Colleges offer certificate and associate degree programs in substance abuse counseling, which may include courses in the science of addiction, sociology and general counseling. For those who wish to pursue additional education, earning a bachelor's or master's degree in psychology may be a helpful option to consider.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that substance abuse and behavioral disorder counseling positions were predicted to grow at a faster-than-average rate of 31% between 2012 and 2022. Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors made a mean yearly wage of $41,090 in May 2013.
Related to Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor: Job Description and Requirements
- Recently Updated
Learn about the work responsibilities of a drug counselor. Find out the education prerequisites, licensure requirements, salary...
Explore a career as a drug abuse counselor for teens. Learn about the education and skills needed, in addition to the salary...
Licensed addiction or substance abuse counselors work with individuals who abuse their consumption of alcohol and other drugs....
Explore the training and job duties of a treatment center drug and alcohol counselor. Learn about the salary expectation and...
- Bruce Vinik on Study.com: A College Admissions Counselor Reminds Us to Slow Down
- Online Guidance Counselor Degrees: Program Overviews
- Online Substance Abuse Counselor Degree Program Options
- EKG Certification and Training Program Overviews
- Bachelor of Arts (BA): Media Arts Degree Overview
- Bachelor of Science (BS): Personal Injury Degree Overview
- Associate of Applied Science in Business Office E-ministration