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Drug Counseling Certificate and Certification Programs

Those interested in having a career as a drug counselor often attain a Certificate of Completion in Substance Abuse Counseling. The certification process gives students the skills needed to help clients cope with and heal from addiction.

Essential Information

Drug counselors are certified professionals who help others overcome addiction and substance abuse issues. Individuals who earn a Certificate of Completion in Substance Abuse Counseling can sometimes work for hospitals, rehabilitation centers, mental health facilities, nonprofit organizations and other related agencies. Certificate programs can be completed separately or as part of an associate's, bachelor's, master's or doctoral program. In many cases, two semesters of coursework must be done before taking a certification exam.

Most states expect students to pass credentialing exams, like the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) or Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor (LDAC) tests. Educational requirements vary though some states require the completion of a degree program, like a master's in counseling with an emphasis in addiction or substance abuse.


Drug Counseling Certificate

Students in a substance abuse or drug counseling certification program develop strategic planning and empathetic listening skills. Courses in interpersonal relations, like individual and group counseling, are incorporated into the curriculum, as well as classes covering:

  • Psychopharmacology of addiction disorders
  • History and legal developments in drug abuse
  • Relapse prevention
  • Case management
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Treatment models

Salary and Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean annual salary for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was $42,920 as of May 2015. Substance abuse counselors may work full-time, part-time, evenings, weekends and weekdays.

Continuing Education Information

The initial license, such as the CDAC or LDAC, will expire without additional coursework and professional practice. It may be beneficial to obtain a master's degree and additional counseling licensing. Licensed social workers, marriage and family therapists or clinical psychologists with the additional CADC or LDAC license have an increased potential for higher pay and advanced licensing.

Drug counseling certificate programs prepare students to work with individuals overcoming drug addiction and substance abuse. In the program, students learn about listening skills, various counseling environments, and many courses relating to prevention, therapy, and treatment.

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