Drug Counselor Certification Programs with Career Information

Drug counselor certification programs are administered through colleges or certification boards. Some national certification boards include the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, the International Certification Reciprocity Consortium and the Association for Addiction Professionals.

Essential Information

Drug counselor certification programs prepare individuals who are already working as drug counselors to take state or national certification examinations. Prerequisites for certification programs may include degrees or a certain number of years of related work experience. Certification examinations are available for different levels of education and experience. For example, some associate's degree programs qualify graduates for a level one certification examination. There are also certifications for counselors who have a bachelor's degree or a master's degree and significantly more work experience.

  • Program Levels in Drug Counseling: Certificates
  • Prerequisites: Associate's degree for Level One certification; bachelor's degree, current state certificate and 5 years work experience for a Level Two certification; master's degree, current state certificate and 3 years of supervised post-master's work experience for Level Three certification.
  • Program Length: Varies

Program Coursework

In a typical 1-year drug counselor certification preparatory program, students take the following courses:

  • Drug counseling case management
  • Drug counseling theories
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Drug addiction treatment methods
  • Drug abuse and addiction
  • Group counseling practices

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS,, the job outlook for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is expected to grow faster than average from 2012-2022. The organization credits this job growth to an enlightened society in which people are more likely to seek treatment. These counselors earned a median annual salary of $39,270 in May 2014, according to the BLS.

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