Requirements May Slightly Vary In Each Province But Might Include:
- An addictions counselor must be free from drugs, alcohol and other addictions.
- Should have a graduate degree in Addiction Counseling, Human Resources and Psychology or Social Work
- A certificate provided by Canadian Addiction Counselors Certification Federation in addictions counseling, or completed an internship and cleared a licensing exam.
Substance Abuse Counselor Specialties
Students specialize in a topic by selecting a concentration for their studies. Keep in mind that schools offer a unique set of concentrations, and some colleges and universities do not offer concentrations at all. Programs that do not offer concentrations often allow students to tailor their studies with a minor.
Examples of ideal concentrations for prospective substance abuse counselors include alcoholism, adolescent addiction, and mental health. Individuals pursuing a concentration in alcohol addiction learn about topics like genetic predisposition and the physical effects of alcohol.
Students focusing on adolescent addiction learn about how drugs and alcohol impact a developing brain. A mental health concentration emphasizes how substances detrimentally affect mental health and how some mental health disorders lead to substance abuse.
Individuals can also specialize in a topic by earning a certification from a professional organization.
Additional Licensing Requirements For Substance Abuse Counselors
Every state requires licensed professional addiction and substance abuse counselors to pass an exam. The National Counselor Examination , administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors, is used in some states. Other states use an exam administered by the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals, which offers Master Addictions Counselor certification to those who qualify. Some states may also require applicants to undergo a criminal background check, and to pass a state jurisprudence exam, which tests the applicants knowledge of state laws pertaining to counseling. As with other aspects of licensure in substance abuse counseling, it is crucial to research the specific requirements for your state of residence.
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Earn Your Online Masters In Counseling Degree With Northwestern University
You can earn an . The CACREP-accredited online Master of Arts in Counseling Program at Northwestern offers options as far as pacing, with students able to earn their degrees in 18 months to three years.
Graduates of Northwesterns Master of Arts in Counseling Program receive the skills and knowledge to become effective clinical mental health counselors. The scope of their practice varies by state, but most can diagnose and treat mental health concerns. Licensed counselors may work in agencies or in private practices, and they can receive third-party insurance reimbursement.
If you feel called to make a difference in the world and want to positively impact peoples lives, becoming a clinical mental health counselor might be the career path for you.
What Can You Do With A Degree In Addiction Therapy
Because there are so many types of addictions and so many career paths for therapists, addiction therapy offers many avenues for developing a career.
Naturally, the type of degree a person has will impact his or her job outlook. For example, a person that has a doctorate in addiction therapy will have more opportunities than someone with a bachelors degree in psychology with some additional training in working with people that have an addiction.
Having said that, workers that have less education will typically find lower-level jobs in this field. For example, a person with a bachelors degree might work as an orderly at an inpatient addiction treatment center. A person with a masters degree might work as a therapist at that same addiction treatment center. Still further, a person with a doctorate might serve in an administrative capacity and oversee the daily operations of the inpatient treatment center.
Addiction therapists also often work in institutions like public health clinics or hospitals. Usually, these jobs involve helping individuals find the services they need to overcome their addiction. For example, an addiction therapist might work with a team of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to devise a detoxification program for someone addicted to heroin. Likewise, an addiction therapist might coordinate services for a person thats got a sex addiction.
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What Jobs Can You Get With A Degree In Substance Abuse Counseling
Since the licensing requirements for substance abuse counselors vary from state to state, we suggest checking your states requirements as you evaluate substance abuse counselor programs. You may also find it helpful to check current job listings in your area to get an idea of common requirements. Note that while a certificate can qualify you for a license in some states, this varies widely by state and program. To help you begin to research, we have provided the following overview of common jobs for each drug counselor degree level.
Associates-trained substance abuse specialists are typically eligible for a variety of technician and assistant positions in the counseling realm. With an associates degree in substance abuse counseling plus completion of a practicum or internship and passing scores on an exam that meets your states requirements, you may be able to apply for a licensed technician or licensed substance abuse counselor credential. This may allow you to practice direct substance abuse treatment and counseling services under supervision or with a recognized treatment provider.
Earning a masters in substance abuse counseling will typically qualify you for licensure as a substance abuse counselor. At this level, a masters degree and a license are often prerequisites for the positions available. Most jobs will focus on the clinical treatment of addiction disorders, though it is possible to find research positions with a masters degree.
Licensed Alcohol And Drug Counselor Assistant Requirements
A person licensed by the Department to provide recovery based services under direct clinical and administrative supervision.
- Show proof of high school diploma or equivalent
- 2,000 hours of work experience in the alcohol or drug addiction field
- Minimum of 50 hours of training that address the full range of education related to substance addiction counseling
- Submit passing score on required examination
- Three letters of recommendation
- Payment of required licensing fee
For further details on requirements please refer to Section 168.006 – Eligibility Requirements found in the Licensure of Alcohol and Drug Counselors Regulations which are included in your application packet.
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Licensure And Certification Requirements
Each state sets its own rules about how professionals must demonstrate their competence in this profession. The regulations usually involve achieving a certain level of education, such as graduation from a substance abuse counselor program, and earning certifications or passing licensure examinations.
The examinations used for licensure purposes in most states arent exclusive to this specific area of counseling. Rather, they are used by counselors across many disciplines and are designed to test your overall counseling abilities.
Your state may rely on the National Counselor Examination or the National Clinical Mental Health Counselor Examination .
Once you pass the required exams, you may be eligible to apply for state licensure that so you can practice as a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor or another title used by your state.
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In addition to general counseling certifications, you can also earn certifications that are specific to the field of addiction treatment. Some of the most well-known certifications are offered by the National Certification Committee for Addiction Professionals .
- National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level I
- National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level II
- National Certified Adolescent Addiction Counselor
- National Clinical Supervision Endorsement
- National Peer Recovery Support Specialist
- Nicotine Dependence Specialist
Careers You Can Obtain
Substance abuse counselors can take many career paths. If you hold a master’s degree, you may choose to specialize in certain areas within the field. The following are common work environments for addiction counselors:
- Individual and family services: Professionals in this field provide families with a variety of counseling, referral and social services.
- Local and state governments: Within this environment, counselors work in government agencies, such as the United States Department of State, the United States Department of Health and Human Sciences and the United States Department of Homeland Security.
- Hospitals: Counselors who work in hospitals help patients who often pose a danger to themselves or others and require constant supervision.
- Outpatient recovery centers: Patients within this environment are considered to have mild or long-term addictions. Counseling in these settings can be provided to individuals or to groups.
- Residential mental health abuse centers: These centers are set in group homes to promote patients mental health via counseling.
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How Much Will My Education Cost
The cost of bachelors degree programs varies depending upon the type of institution you attend. According to College Boards Trends in College Pricing 2021-22, the average annual tuition cost for a four-year, public institution runs around $10,740 for in-state tuition and $27,560 for out-of-state tuition.
Masters degree programs at in-state accredited public institutions cost an average of $66,340 in 2022 says EducationData.org.
Attending an accredited school may allow you to apply for financial aid, whether the school you select is a traditional classroom or an online program.
What Do Addiction Counselors Do
Addiction counselors work with various forms of addictions including substance abuse . They also work with clients who have other addictions such as a sex addiction, a gambling addiction, or possibly an eating disorder. Primary aim of every addiction counselor is to prevent or treat various types of addictions.
Addition counselors conduct counseling for clients who are experiencing an addiction. Sometimes they might even be addicted to more than one thing. Their job duties would likely include assessment of the client and their behaviors to determine whether they are addicted and, if so, what they are addicted to. To do this, they would use certain standards, such as certain types of questioning and/or surveys, to identify the extent to which someone uses a certain substance or partakes in a certain behavior, for example.
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Do I Need To Go To Graduate School For Substance Abuse Counseling
Unlike many other specialties, substance abuse counselors can typically become licensed with an associates or bachelors degree. However, there can be more job opportunities for graduate-level counselors specializing in substance abuse. In addition to checking licensure requirements for your state, its a good idea to research current job listings to find out typical requirements in your area. If youre already working, there are a variety of online addiction counseling degree programs that can be a good fit for a busy schedule.
Graduate From High School Or Obtain A Ged
All substance abuse counselor certificates and licenses require applicants to graduate high school . Students who want to pursue this career can start their education while still in high school by focusing on classes such as psychology, social sciences, biology, English, and math. Work experience can be gained by volunteering in the substance abuse counseling field.
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Accreditation For A Substance Abuse Counselor Program
Before choosing a substance abuse counseling program, individuals should check the institution’s accreditation status. An accredited school regularly receives quality assessments from a third-party organization that the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation oversee.
Schools earn either regional or national accreditation, but employers usually view degrees from schools with regional accreditation as more reputable. Some scholarships reserve funds exclusively for students attending an accredited institution. Individuals can research a college or university’s accreditation status by using the ED Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs tool.
Counseling programs can also earn programmatic accreditation. The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs grants accreditation to substance abuse counseling programs. In addition, online programs can earn accreditation. The Distance Education Accrediting Commission grants accreditation to online programs.
Addiction Specialist Certifications & Licensure
Currently,addiction specialists only need to be licensed in 27 states and theDistrict of Columbia. Licensing requirements vary by state andaspiring professionals should check with their local board to learnthe steps they need to take.
Addictionspecialists may pursue certification as a national certifiedaddiction counselor through TheAssociation for Addiction Professionals. While not required, it can help with employability.
Thosepursuing this career as a certified counselor, however, are requiredto be licensed in all 50 states. Licensing is also done on a state bystate basis and requirements vary. Certification can be obtained as anational certified counselor , and subsequently as a masteraddiction counselor , through the NationalBoard for Certified Counselors.
To qualifyfor the National Counselor Examination , applicants must have anaccredited masters degree in counseling ,official transcripts, a specific number of supervised work hours, a processing fee, and other requirements.
The NCEexam itself consists of 200 multiple-choice questions across eightcore areas. Candidates have three hours and 45 minutes to completeit.
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Keys To Success As A New Clinician
As a new clinician, you will almost certainly be working for an agency until you earn licensure that allows you to work independently. Youll be under the supervision of an experienced clinician who has been trained and earned standing/licensure as a clinical supervisor.
- The importance of high quality clinical supervision cannot be overstated. This person is a mentor, a teacher, and an important support through a difficult learning curve.
- Understanding the commitment a potential employer has to the quality and quantity of clinical supervision should be part of every job interview.
Throughout the landscape of social service agencies, one finds a wide array of professional pitfalls. Please dont be discouraged, but know that organizations often behave like dysfunctional families. Common sense and the professional standards that apply throughout the business world will serve you well in the average nonprofit establishment. Clear and consistent boundaries are absolutely paramount to your success. Remember that we are all wounded healers.
Obtain An Associates Or Bachelors Degree
While a degree is not required in every state for a career as a substance abuse counselor, it can help aspiring professionals obtain more advanced certification or licensure and with job advancement. The most commonly earned degree for this field is addiction counseling, although degrees such as psychology, counseling, chemical dependency counseling, and other behavioral sciences can suffice. Some states require specific coursework, so students should check with their local board to learn the requirements.
Students should ensure the program they attend is accredited, as most states wont accept degrees from unaccredited institutions. The program should be regionally accredited by an agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the US Department of Education . Completing a program accredited by an entity such as the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission is required in some states.
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Certificate In Substance Abuse Counseling
For those who already have a degree or who are looking for a shorter program that can potentially lead to state licensure, many schools offer certificate programs in substance abuse counseling. At the undergraduate level, a high school diploma or associate degree is a common admissions prerequisite. At the graduate level, certificate programs will require prospective students to hold a bachelors degree.
Certificate programs typically take between 15 and 20 credit hours to complete, which equates to three to five courses . This can allow students to complete the program in as little as a semester, though a two-semester program is not uncommon. As such, certificates can provide a faster route to this career compared to a two-to-four-year drug and alcohol counselor degree program, especially if you already hold a college degree. Courses in substance abuse certificate programs tend to focus on the fundamentals of substance abuse counselor training, and will commonly have titles such as:
- Alcohol, Drugs, and Behavior
Faq On Becoming A Substance Abuse Counselor
After a masters degree, substance abuse counselors must complete around 3,000 supervised hours, which takes about two years.
BLS reports amedian annual salary of $46,240 for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors. Factors like employer type, years of experience, and geographical location affect salary.
These professionals diagnose and treat individuals experiencing substance abuse issues. They facilitate individual and group therapy sessions and provide clients with resources to overcome addiction.
Each state maintains different requirements, but most licensing boards require at least a masters degree related to substance abuse counseling. This means most counselors spend at least six years on higher education.
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Occupational Outlook For Addiction Counselors
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts the demand for addiction counselors will rise by 22% by 2028, which is over four times the average job growth rate. The median pay in 2018 was around $44,630.
Demand is expected to grow for a few reasons. The criminal justice system is finding people with drug-related crimes are less likely to commit them again if they receive treatment. As a result, many are given mandatory treatment and counseling as part of their sentencing. Additionally, telehealth services are growing in popularity, which allows people in underserved or rural areas to receive much-needed recovery resources.
National Certification Commission For Addiction Professionals
Thisorganization offers three levels of certification: national certified addiction counselor, level I national certified addiction counselor, level II and master addiction counselor. Each level hasits own set of eligibility requirements.
NCCAP also offers specialized certifications, such as nicotine dependence, adolescent addiction, or peer recovery support. NCCAP requires a $235 application fee and a $200 application renewal fee.
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What Are The Requirements To Become An Addiction Counselor
In order to become an addiction counselor, you need to obtain a masters degree, which can take approximately 2-3 years after your bachelors degree. A bachelors degree can usually be completed in four years of full-time coursework. You can obtain your bachelors and masters degrees either in psychology or counseling in order to work in a job that would consist of the job duties as an addiction counselor. The main difference, though, is that the fields of psychology and social work have slightly different codes of ethics that you have to abide by and also would give you different credentials that you would be labeled with. Additionally, many masters degree programs may accept students even from other disciplines , as well.
The main courses you will take relate to the history and theories of psychology. You may also take courses in research methodologies in all levels of degree programs you are in. In your masters program, you should take courses related to addictions, such as addictions counseling, family dynamics of addicts, substances, eating disorders, etc.