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Alcohol Therapists: Job & Career Info

Read about a career in alcohol therapy. Research the educational and skill requirements, and learn about the job description and employment and salary outlook for an alcohol therapist.

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Career Definition for an Alcohol Therapist

An alcohol therapist is a type of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselor. Alcohol therapists are charged with helping patients in their recovery from alcoholism. Alcohol therapists may work in outpatient, inpatient and/or group treatment settings. Typical job duties required of alcohol therapists include collecting patients' information, assessing patients, developing treatment plans, conducting individual or group therapy sessions and monitoring patients' recovery.

Required Education High school diploma as a minimum; many positions require a master's degree in a relevant field
Job Duties Include collecting patient information, developing treatment plans, monitoring patient recovery
Mean Salary (2015) $40,920 (all substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors)
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 22% growth (all substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

While the education requirements for alcohol therapists vary from state to state, many jobs require a master's degree in a relevant field, such as psychology, social work or mental health counseling. There are some areas in which only a high school diploma and a desire to help people are required. Individuals with more training are permitted to provide a greater variety of services, like one-on-one sessions. Those with less education are typically required to fulfill a period of on-the-job training and are supervised more closely in their service. The coursework in a relevant master's degree program includes individual and group therapy techniques, psychological development, group processes, dynamics and a relevant internship.

Licensing Requirements

Alcohol therapists who work in a private practice must be licensed by the state. A license to work in such a setting requires a minimum of a master's degree and 2,000-3,000 hours of supervised, clinical experience. Additional requirements vary by state.

Required Skills

To work as an alcohol therapist, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that you need the following qualities:

  • An approachable, open-minded and empathetic personality
  • Ability to give advice, encouragement and, when necessary, push or critique your patients
  • Ability to listen and speak well

Employment and Salary Outlook

Per the BLS, the employment outlook for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was excellent; employment in the field was expected to grow by 22% from 2014-2024, which is must faster than average. Mean annual earnings in May 2015 for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors were $40,920. The most counselors in this field were employed at outpatient care centers, and in the same year, general medical and surgical hospitals paid average salaries of $49,450.

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