Substance Abuse Counselor: Training Requirements and Career Options
Substance Abuse Counselor: Training Requirements and Career Options Transcript
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become a substance abuse counselor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and licenses to find out if this is the career for you.
The requirements for a career as a substance abuse counselor vary for each state. In some places it is possible to pursue a career with a certificate, diploma, or associate's degree, while other states may require a bachelor's or master's degree. Substance abuse counselors may need to be licensed or certified, which also depends on the state they're working in.
Substance abuse counselors offer supportive, educational and counseling services to those who struggle with addictions to drugs and alcohol. These counseling professionals work in a variety of contexts and assist addicts in gaining and maintaining sobriety. Substance abuse counselors can come from a variety of educational backgrounds. However, those in private practice do require a master's degree and state certification.
|Required Education||Varies from high school diploma or GED to master's degree|
|Other Requirements||Some positions require a master's degree and clinical experience; some states require a license|
|Mean Annual Wage (2015)*||$42,920 for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||22% for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Substance Abuse Counselor Training Requirements
The requirements to become a substance abuse counselor vary according to state law. In some places, these counselors may hold only diplomas, certificates or associate's degrees in substance abuse counseling, which are available through vocational schools and community colleges. In many states, substance abuse counselors must hold master's degrees before becoming licensed to offer services to the public. Aspiring substance abuse counselors may also need to complete a specified number of work hours under the supervision of licensed or certified professionals as part of their educational programs.
Licensing and Certification
Some states require substance abuse counselors to be licensed, while others require these counselors to hold certification through recognized professional certifying organizations. Each state has its own regulations regarding the recognition of certifying organizations. Similarly, each certifying organization has its own requirements for certification. Some organizations require significant academic preparation, such as the completion of graduate coursework, prior to permitting a candidate to sit for a certifying exam. Substance abuse counselors may also need to complete continuing education coursework in the area of addictions counseling to maintain licensure or certification.
Substance Abuse Counselor Career Options
Substance abuse counselors work in a variety of settings and may advance into supervisory or even management roles. Those who hold graduate degrees will usually have the most flexibility in choosing career paths and may experience the best prospects for advancement.
Community Counseling Centers
Many community organizations sponsor mental health clinics and outpatient substance abuse programs. In these settings, substance abuse counselors provide counseling and assessment services to adults, youth and groups of people who suffer from drug addiction or alcohol dependency. These counselors may also coordinate outreach programs aimed at informing the public of and preventing substance abuse.
Substance abuse counselors also work in hospitals, rehab centers and halfway houses. Counselors in these locations may help facilitate support groups as well as work with individual patients and their families. They often work closely with doctors and nurses to establish and carry out treatment plans.
With experience, substance abuse counselors may go on to start their own private counseling practices. They might also start a group practice with other counselors. Being self-employed allows counselors a great deal of freedom in structuring their practices.
Experienced substance abuse counselors, particularly those who hold graduate degrees, may advance into administrative positions. They might go on to work as managers or directors of treatment programs. Along with overseeing treatment programs, these professionals may help counselors maintain licensure or certification by providing them with continuing education resources.
Salary and Career Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) categorizes substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors together in their employment statistics. In the decade 2014-2024, these workers can expect faster than average job growth of 22%. The BLS also reported that behavioral disorder and substance abuse counselors earned $42,920 as a mean annual wage in 2015.
Substance abuse counselors can work for community centers or enter private practice. They may also work in hospitals, rehab centers and halfway houses. Those with a graduate degree can also consider advancing to an administrative position, where they will oversee treatment programs and staff.
Substance Abuse Counselor: Training Requirements and Career Options Related Articles
Get info about online programs in substance abuse counseling. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, as well...
Explore the work responsibilities of a certified substance abuse counselor. Learn about academic and licensing requirements in addition...
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors require varying amounts of formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and...
Learn about the work a teen substance abuse counselor performs. Discover what degrees and training are required, and check the salary and...
Learn how to become a Christian counselor. Research the job description and the education and licensing requirements and find out how to...
- Substance Abuse Counselor Career
- Substance Abuse Counselor Education
- Substance Abuse Counselor
- Substance Abuse Counselor Master
- Substance Abuse Counselor Courses
- Certified Substance Abuse Counselor
- Drug Abuse Counselor Education
- Expert Advice From Career Counselor Patrick Chidsey at the University of Washington
- Teen Drug Abuse Counselor: Job Duties & Career Requirements
- How to Become a Relocation Counselor: Career Roadmap
- Gerontological Counselor: Job Description, Duties and Career Outlook
- How to Become a Teen Counselor: Career Roadmap
Get info about online programs in industrial design. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, and check out career...
Learn about online degree programs with criminalistics courses. Get an overview of the program types, requirements and course descriptions...
While there are only three schools in Burlington, there are 14 schools located within a 50-mile radius. Learn about the schools in several...
Get info about online programs in General Business. Read about program requirements, course topics and degree levels, as well as career...
Perfect School Search
10 Popular Schools
The listings below may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users.
- PhD - Addiction Psychology
- DHA - Health Care Leadership
- DHA - Health Care Quality and Analytics
- MS - Addiction Counseling
- MS - Mental Health Counseling (CACREP-accredited)
- MS - Clinical Counseling
- MHA - Health Care Leadership
- MS - Forensic Psychology
- BS - Psychology
- BS - Health Care Management (ACBSP-accredited)
- BS - Health Care Administration Leadership
- MS in Healthcare Administration
- MSM in Healthcare
- MS in Nursing: Patient Quality and Safety
- BA in Psychology - Addictions
- BA in Psychology - Mental Health
- BA in Psychology - Forensic Psychology
- BS Business Administration with concentration in Healthcare Administration
- BS Health Science
- BS Healthcare Administration
- 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 Forensic Psychology
- M.S. Nursing - Psychiatric Mental Health
- Master of Business Administration - Health Care Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Addictions Couseling
- B.S. General Studies - Life Sciences
- B.S. Healthcare Administration
- A.S. General Studies - Life Sciences
- Undergraduate Certificate - Pastoral Care and Counseling
- Doctor of Psychology in Mental Health Administration
- MA Counseling
- MA Counseling - Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- MA in Human Services, Mental Health Administration
- MA Counseling - Marriage, Couples, and Family Counseling
- Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology - Addictions
- PhD in Psychology - Mental Health Policy and Practice
- PhD in Marriage & Family Therapy - Therapy with Military Families
- PhD in Marriage & Family Therapy - General Family Therapy
- Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology - Trauma and Disaster Relief
- PhD in Marriage & Family Therapy - Couple Therapy
- MA in Marriage & Family Therapy
- Master of Science in Organizational Leadership - Health Care Administration
- Master of Arts in Marriage & Family Therapy (MAMFT)
- Master of Science in Health Services Administration: Clinical Care Management
- Master of Health Services Administration
- BBA - Health Services Administration Concentration
- Healthcare Management Bachelor Completer