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Drug And Addiction Counselor Salary

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How Can I Qualify For Substance Abuse Counselor Jobs

With the expected increase in substance abuse counselor jobs in the coming years, the outlook for future counselors is bright. Qualifications for these jobs will vary by state, employer, and geographic area, but will typically require some type of state-level license or certification. You can learn more about drug and alcohol counselor licensure through our counselor licensing guide.

Substance Abuse Counselor Careers By Degree Level

According to a survey from O*NET OnLine, 41% of respondents working in the industry said that a masters degree is required to be a substance abuse counselor, while 24% said that a high school diploma or equivalent is required.3 Since the type of career you can expect with a degree in substance abuse varies by degree level, we have designed the table below to help you research common jobs and requirements. State licensing standards for substance abuse counselors also vary from state to state, so there are also significant differences in the degrees required for certain job titles from state to state. In addition to state standards, you will also find variances in how employers define a given role. With this in mind, the below table outlines the general relationship between a given degree and associated careers, though requirements in your area or for a specific job posting may be higher or lower.

Counseling Job Title

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Salaries For Substance Abuse Counselors

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earned the following salaries at the 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles, as of May 2018:

Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labors Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2018 . BLS salary data represents state and MSA average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Individual job listings with educational requirements and salary information accessed directly from internet job boards and directly from the sites of employing agencies and do not constitute offers of employment.

All salary and job growth data accessed in October 2019.

Is There Demand For This Career

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For aspiring substance abuse counselors, now is a great time to earn your degree and enter the field. Jobs are expected to grow as more people seek help for their addictions and other behavioral issues. In addition to this, court-ordered therapy is becoming more common in conjunction with criminal convictions, creating jobs in jails and halfway houses.

Because the job can be tremendously demanding and often stressful, turnover can be high making room for new substance abuse counselors looking to make an impact and help others.

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Is There A Specialty For Alcohol Abuse Counseling

Yes, there are specialized counselors who focus on providing alcohol counseling. In most cases, they will hold the same license as a professional counselor or substance abuse counselor. They may have had additional training specific to recognizing and treating alcohol addiction and related disorders, such as a postgraduate certificate or other formal training.

References: 1. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment and Wages, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: 2. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors: 3. O*NET OnLine, Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors: 4. National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers: 5. Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections:

Addiction Counselor Salary Information

Bureau of Labor Statistics

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the median salary for substance abuse counselors was $44,600 in May 2018. The top 10% earned more than $72,900. Addiction counselors with more education and experience will earn higher salaries.

The top industries, in terms of pay for addiction counselors, are:

  • Government: $51,690
  • Individual and family services: $44,100
  • Outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers: $43,100
  • Residential mental health and substance abuse facilities: $38,190

A related field to addiction counseling is rehabilitation counseling. These professionals help patients with physical, mental, and emotional disabilities to live independent lives. They work with the patient to manage any social, personal, or psychological effects of disabilities on living independently or on employment.

The median wage for rehabilitation counselors in May 2018 was $35,600, and the top 10% earned $63,800. Top industries in terms of pay were:

  • State government, excluding education and hospitals: $51,300
  • Individual and family services: $33,300
  • Nursing and residential care facilities: $31,600
  • Community and vocational rehabilitation services: $31,200 reports the average salary for addiction counselors is $40,050, with a range between $30,000 and $54,000.

Your income also can vary based on the city in which you live: June, 2020

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What Is A Substance Abuse Counselor

A substance abuse counselor is a mental health professional who helps patients struggling with addictions. The main responsibility is to work with individuals and their families to treat both mental and emotional disorders, as well as to promote overall mental health.

Sometimes called therapists, mental health counselors train in a variety of therapeutic techniques. They treat emotional conditions, such as depression, addiction and substance abuse, suicidal impulses, stress and overall problems with self-esteem and grief.

Also known as drug and alcohol counselors, these professionals work individually with patients and in group counseling sessions, depending on the kind of treatment needed. The goal is to help clients pinpoint situations and behaviors that lead to relapse or block the road to recovery. Drug counselors can also help clients find jobs or refer them to other resources, services, and support groups.In some cases, an addiction counselor may also conduct programs or informational sessions that teach not only their clients, but also family and friends of patients about addiction, behavioral disorders, coping strategies, signs of addiction, and how to avoid destructive behavior.

Job descriptions may vary but skills such as active listening, social perceptiveness, critical thinking, and deductive reasoning are all paramount to success and safety as a counselor. Specific work responsibilities can include:

Licensing And Certification Requirements

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Substance abuse counselors who work in private practice must obtain a license. States require substance abuse counselors to have a master’s degree and clinical experience to qualify for a licensing examination. The licensing board may require the applicant’s education program to include coursework specific to substance abuse counseling. State licensing boards require applicants to complete between 2,000 and 3,000 hours of work experience in substance abuse counseling under the supervision of a licensed counselor.

The National Board for Certified Counselors, or NBCC, offers the master addictions counselor credential for substance abuse counselors who hold the organization’s national certified counselor certification and meet education and experience requirements. Applicants for state licensing and certification must pass a written examination to earn the credential and work in private practice.

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What Is My Earning Potential

While not every state requires a masters degree to work as a substance abuse counselor, you may benefit from having one since it can often boost your earning potential.

The advanced degree allows you to offer more services to clients so employers may be more apt to pay a higher salary. Secondly, a masters degree opens the door to working in private practice.

Working independently can provide a healthy salary if you have a large enough client base. If you partner with other mental health professionals or doctors, they may recommend you as a preferred provider to their patients.

Your earning potential will also be affected by where you work. Certain facilities that employ substance abuse counselors tend to pay better in certain areas of the country.

And heres something to work toward: The top 10% of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors earn more than $77,980.

How Can Alcohol And Drug Addiction Counselors Increase Their Salary

Increasing your pay as an Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselor is possible in different ways. Change of employer: Consider a career move to a new employer that is willing to pay higher for your skills. Level of Education: Gaining advanced degrees may allow this role to increase their income potential and qualify for promotions. Managing Experience: If you are an Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselor that oversees more junior Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselors, this experience can increase the likelihood to earn more.

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What Is Substance Abuse Counseling Understanding Addiction And How It Is Treated

Substance abuse counseling, also often referred to as addiction counseling, is a course of education, coaching, and support designed to help those recovering from addiction better understand the root of their addiction as they adopt new lifestyles changes, practices, and coping skills.

Substance abuse counseling is just one part of the recovery process and is often used in conjunction with other forms of psychotherapy, medical treatments, and medications provided by other members of the healthcare community.

Emotional support is one of the most important facets of substance abuse counseling. While the goal of this type of counseling is to help addicts better understand the behaviors, attitudes, and feelings that fuel their addiction and then to help them implement positive changes designed to break those unhealthy cycles, its often the supportive nature of this type of counseling that makes it a valuable and unique addition to any recovery plan.

The Role of Counseling in the Treatment of Addiction

What causes some people to become addicts and others to not is still not fully understood however, the environment, psychological traits, stress levels, and genetics all play a part. The use of drugs and alcohol actually changes the brain in profound and lasting ways, making recovery a complex and often difficult process.

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What Issues Might Alcohol And Drug Addiction Counselors Deal With

What Can I Do with a Degree in Addiction Counseling?

Because of the many issues counselors may face, they must have the skills to deal with just about anything that could come up in a session with a client. They should want to help others, be a good listener, have confidence, respect for others privacy, high-level communication skills, motivation, and even inspiration.

All of these skills and others can come in handy when youre working with someone who is struggling with one or more addictions. As well as confronting the issues their clients are facing, counselors have to be able to handle their own. Burnout is a real issue for many types of counselors and, in a situation when your client is at very real danger for relapse, the stakes are understandably high.

Counselors may be required to meet with family members of their clients, help clients identify their triggers for abuse, create treatment goals and plans, refer their clients to support groups, lead individual and group therapy sessions, help their clients find jobs and write or update court reports.

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Online Counseling Masters Degree

Despite state requirements, a masters degree is the best educational program for those looking to become substance abuse counselors because of increased career opportunities.

Requirements for private practice typically include the completion of a masters degree in counseling. You may also need to complete at least two years or 3,000 hours of supervised clinical experience beyond a masters program.

A substance abuse counseling graduate program equips students with skills and knowledge concerning in-treatment and prevention methods for addiction patients. Courses in these programs include:

  • Methods and Techniques of Group Counseling
  • Contemporary Topics in Substance Abuse
  • Assessment, Counseling, and Diagnosis of an Individual
  • Treatment Methods for Drug or Alcohol Abuse

Many of these programs require students to complete an internship, as well as a thesis or capstone project.

Specializations or concentrations for a graduate program in substance abuse counseling include:

  • Drug Abuse Counselor
  • Alcohol Abuse Counselor
  • Clinical Counseling

Students should choose their concentration according to their career goals. Those who want to work in medical and healthcare-specific environments should consider a concentration in clinical counseling. Those who wish to work in social work environments should consider rehabilitation counseling concentrations.

Career Information For Substance Abuse Counselors

Substance abuse counselors may treat patients in a group setting or in private sessions. Counselors develop treatment plans to help patients overcome substance abuse and addiction disorders. Treatment includes helping patients develop the skills needed for recovery. Substance abuse counselors also work with the families of patients to help them understand addictive behavior. The BLS predicts employment for substance abuse counselors will increase by 23 percent between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than the 8 percent rate of growth expected for all occupations combined.

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What Is The Job Growth For This Field

Employment of substance abuse counselors is predicted to grow 23% through 2030. By comparison, all other occupations in the U.S. are expected to grow 8% through 2030.

Certain facilities that employ substance abuse counselors are expected to have very high growth through the remainder of the decade.

High schools and colleges also employ substance abuse counselors to not only help students recover, but also to discuss preventative measures and proven coping skills.

Masters Degree Programs In Substance Abuse

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Master’s degree programs in substance abuse counseling prepare students in the psychology of addiction and the techniques that help patients overcome the emotional and mental health issues that can impede recovery. In addition to courses in substance abuse, master’s programs may also cover behavioral addictions such as shopping addiction, internet addiction and eating disorders, according to the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Courses can include the biology of addiction, addiction evaluation and treatment, psychopathology, cognitive neuroscience and substance abuse counseling.

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Online Counseling Degrees For Career Change

The Association for Addiction Professionals offers drug and alcohol counselor certification for licensed professionals looking to redirect their careers. Programs include:

  • Nicotine Dependence Specialist
  • National Endorsed Co-Occurring Disorders Professional
  • National Peer Recovery Support Specialist
  • Recover to Practice Certificate
  • Conflict Resolution in Recovery Certificate

The NBCC also offers specialty counseling certifications and training in areas of addictions and clinical mental health. Counselors still need to seek out the specified regulations of their state counseling boards in order to acquire licensure to practice in their state.

Dont have a background in psychology? Dont worry. Teachers, ministers and healthcare aides often cross over into counseling careers. Many who hold bachelors degrees in the liberal arts, philosophy, religion, humanities or social science go on to earn a masters in counseling. Consider enrolling in an online substance abuse course to kick off your career transition.

Job Outlook For Addiction Counselors

The job outlook for addiction counselors is outstanding. There will be 22% job growth in the field through 2028, according to BLS. Employment growth will occur as more people want addiction and mental health treatments.

Also, the demand for addiction counselors should rise because states are trying to get more treatment and counseling for drug offenders instead of years in jail.

The criminal justice system has seen that substance abuse addictions are not as likely to re-offend if they get treatment for their addictions. Many drug sentences require the offender to get therapy and counseling for their problem. If they do not, they can be sent back to jail. Research has shown that addiction treatment programs can be more cost-effective than putting people in jail. States may use substance abuse treatment programs as a way to prevent people from re-offending.

Rehabilitation counselors will see 10% job growth through 2028, which is faster than average. Demand for these counseling professionals will grow with the growing elderly population, and with the additional rehabilitation needs of many groups, such as war veterans and people with various disabilities.

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Addiction Counselor Career Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects substance abuse counselor jobs will grow by 25% through the year 2029 a much faster rate than the average for all occupations.

States are creating networks to improve services for children with serious emotional disturbances and their families. These networks need staffing.

The criminal justice system will create additional demand for licensed professional counselors to treat drug offenders as an alternative to jail time.

Substance abuse professionals who have earned a masters degree, have professional and field experience, and have earned specialized accreditation or certification have the best job prospects in this field.

Outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers, as well as nursing and residential care facilities employed 44% of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors. Individual and family services, as well as non-education and hospital state and local government facilities make up around 13% of the rest of the prospective jobs.

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