A certificate program in addiction counseling introduces topics related to the treatment of addiction, such as client assessment, case management, counseling methods and theories, family dynamics and mental illness. Courses can be completed in a year or less and the credits can go towards continuing education requirements for registered nurses and mental health specialists. Curriculum includes a clinical practicum or internship. Admission standards vary by institution; some only ask for a high school diploma or General Education Development (GED) equivalent, while other programs designed for working professionals mandate a bachelor's or master's degree.
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Addiction Counselor Certification
Addiction counseling certificate programs are usually comprised of 10-15 classes, roughly a total of 30-45 credit hours. Examples of common courses are:
- Case management
- Interviewing and counseling methods
- Common substances of abuse
- Families and addiction
- Addiction and mental illness
- Counseling ethics and professional conduct
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Addiction counselors help those struggling with substance abuse, as well as gambling and eating disorders, and often work for treatment centers, hospitals, schools, drug courts and government agencies. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts employment for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors to grow at a rate of 22% over the 2014-2024 decade. As of May 2015, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $39,980.
Continuing Education Information
The National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors offers five levels of voluntary certification for addiction counselors (www.naadac.org). Candidates with at least 1 year of experience, 125 hours of training or education, and a passing examination score, receive basic level certification.
Becoming an addiction counselor requires obtaining a certificate in the field. Graduates are eligible for further voluntary certification, which requires passing an exam and the accumulation of a year and 125 hours of experience and training.