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How Much Do Addiction Counselors Make

Drug Counselor Job Growth Trend

Substance Abuse Counselor Salary | How Much You Can Make! | ADCS Institute

According to the BLS, employment figures for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors is expected to increase by 22 percent from 2018 to 2028. Job prospects are considered to be very good, in part because of job turnover, but also due to the fact that there is increased demand for counselors to work with individuals who have been involved with the criminal justice system.


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Interest in mentoring in order to counsel clients, and provide therapy and mediation services and in assisting individuals and groups of clients to identify, understand and overcome personal problems and achieve personal objectives


Interest in co-ordinating information to develop and implement counselling and intervention programs to assist clients in determining goals and the means of attaining them may conduct research, publish research papers, educational texts and articles


Interest in following up results of counselling programs and clients’ adjustments and in conducting vocational testing and psychometric assessment may supervise other counsellors, social service staff and assistants

The interest code helps you figure out if youd like to work in a particular occupation. Its based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory , which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means its a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Addictions counsellors promote healthy lifestyles and raise awareness of addictions. This may involve developing, implementing, and evaluating programs for public education, prevention, and health promotion.

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Find A Substance Abuse Counselor Program Today

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Licenses Certifications And Registrations

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors in private practice must be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state, but all states require these counselors to have a masters degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. In addition, counselors must pass a state-issued exam and complete continuing education every year. Contact information for your state’s regulating board can be found through the National Board for Certified Counselors.

The licensure criteria for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors outside of private practice vary from state to state. For example, not all states require applicants to have a specific degree, but many require them to pass an exam. Contact information for individual states licensing boards can be found through the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network.

All states require mental health counselors to be licensed, after completing a period of postdegree supervised clinical work under the supervision of a licensed counselor.

S To Become A Substance Abuse Counselor

What Does A Substance Use Counselor Do? A Career Overview

The following list outlines general steps for how to become a substance abuse counselor, but readers should note that requirements vary by state.


    All states require substance abuse counselors to hold a high school diploma or higher. While in high school, aspiring counselors can prepare for their careers by volunteering with crisis centers, community organizations, or faith communities.


    In most states, counselling or psychology degrees qualify graduates to become substance abuse counselors. However, each state determines its minimum required education level. Most states require at least a bachelors degree.


    These requirements can include supervised work hours or state-specific training. The Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network provides a list of state requirements. Substance abuse counselors who work in private practice must hold licensure with the National Board for Certified Counselors.


    Counseling professionals can advance their careers by pursuing certification as adolescent addictions counselors, peer recovery support specialists, or master addictions counselors.

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    Mental Health Counselor Salary And Projected Job Growth

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for substance abuse counselors, behavioral disorder counselors and mental health counselors was $44,630 in 2018. Because of an increase in the number of individuals seeking addiction and mental health counseling, jobs in this field are expected to grow 23 percent through 26, which is much faster than average compared to all other occupations.1

    The top-paying industries for substance abuse counselors, behavioral disorder counselors and mental health counselors are:2

    • Insurance carriers: $60,610 annual mean wage
    • Agencies, brokerages, and insurance-related activities: $60,060 annual mean wage
    • Colleges, universities, and professional schools: $56,270 annual mean wage
    • Local government: $56,160 annual mean wage

    Substance Abuse Counselor Salary And Job Growth

    TheBureau of Labor Statistics , projects the need for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors to rise 22% between 2018 and 2028, much faster than other industries. These professions grow as people continue to seek help for addictions. Substance abuse counselors earned a median annual salary of $46,240 in 2019.

    Salary varies based on geographical region. Local governments often offer incentives, like federal loan forgiveness, to counselors who work in high-need areas. Certain employers, like federal prisons, often pay more to attract a competitive job pool.

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    Drug Counselor Education Requirements

    According to the BLS and O*Net Online, educational requirements for drug counselors vary by state as well as by the types of services that the counselor provides. Some drug counselors hold advanced degrees and professional licensure while others may only hold a high school diploma or GED. Required education and licensing depend on state regulations as well as the degree of supervision under which the counselor practices.

    The level of education required to become a drug counselor is set by state licensing boards and often depends on the type of counseling provided, as well as the level of supervision that the counselor must have while practicing. According the the BLS, all drug counselors who operate a private practice in offering counseling must hold at least a master’s degree and professional licensing as a mental health professional.

    Substance abuse counselors who work in institutional settings under the supervision of mental health or medical professionals, on the other hand, aren’t held to such strict credentialing standards. Degree options vary, with some counselors holding associate or bachelor’s degrees. Some counselors may be able to obtain certification or licensure without earning a degree after completing college-level courses specified by state rules.

    Faq On Becoming A Substance Abuse Counselor

    How Much Do Counselors Actually Make?

    After a master’s 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 master’s degree related to substance abuse counseling. This means most counselors spend at least six years on higher education.

    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline

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    Components Of A Successful Substance Abuse Counselor Career: Skills Credentials Tools And Technology

    It takes more than just a master’s degree to succeed as a substance abuse counselor. These professionals take further steps to educate themselves and demonstrate competency.

    For example, counselors need excellent interpersonal and active listening skills. They demonstrate these skills by listening to interview questions and answering them clearly and confidently. Counselors also need problem-solving skills to develop creative treatment approaches.

    Many counseling centers now offer teletherapy, so employers often seek candidates with computer skills. Substance abuse counselors must also understand software programs, likeTherapyNotes. Self-employed substance abuse counselors also need marketing and accounting skills.

    Career Description Duties And Common Tasks

    Substance abuse counselors work to improve peoples lives by identifying, treating, and relieving the effects of substance abuse disorders. These counselors may work with people from the general public or they may specialize in specific populations, such as teens or veterans. Some counselors work with people voluntarily seeking help, while others provide services to people with court orders to receive counseling due to drug- or alcohol-related offenses.

    Substance abuse counselors meet with clients to evaluate their health and identify goals and treatment plans. These professionals may also teach group classes, help clients establish their careers, and provide updates and reports to the court. In addition, some counselors provide assistance to families and help with aftercare plans. Substance abuse counselors can work in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, or private practices. Counselors specializing in the treatment of children or teens often work in schools or after-school settings.

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    Should I Get A Master’s In Addiction Counseling

    A master’s degree in addiction counseling can lead to a rewarding career in a growing industry. Graduates can pursue addiction or mental health counseling positions, licensure, or a doctoral degree. Counseling professionals enjoy the personal rewards of helping individuals, families, and entire communities while also benefiting from strong salaries and growth potential.

    The BLS projects 25% job growth in the field between 2019 and 2029, more than six times faster than the projected growth rate for all occupations. Graduates with a master’s degree in addiction counseling and licensure can access some of the most desirable and lucrative positions in the field.

    Counseling professionals enjoy the personal rewards of helping individuals, families, and entire communities while also benefiting from strong salaries and growth potential.

    Earning a master’s degree in addiction counseling can prove challenging, as these programs typically require two years of study, extensive research, and significant clinical components. Professionals who wish to earn licensure must complete substantial postgraduate clinical requirements, which often include 3,000-5,000 supervised hours.

    Once eligible, candidates must pass an examination to earn licensure. They then need to maintain their license by completing a certain number of continuing education credits every 2-3 years.

    Preparing To Become A Substance Abuse Counselor: Schools And Programs

    How Much Do Substance Abuse Counselors Make In Texas ...

    Prospective students interested in pursuing substance abuse counseling should make a list of the top qualities they hope to find in a program. Examples of priorities could include affordable tuition, a low student-to-faculty ratio, a flexible program format, and a customizable curriculum.

    Individuals who value affordability often take financial aid into consideration. Some colleges with high tuition offer significantly more financial aid to students. Third-party scholarships and federal grants also decrease out-of-pocket expenses. Individuals willing to pay more for smaller class sizes often consider private colleges over state schools.

    Program format makes an impact on student satisfaction. For example, individuals who value flexibility benefit from online programs that follow an asynchronous format. This type of program allows students to watch pre-recorded lectures and hold conversations with peers online.

    Prospective students should ensure that a program’s curriculum aligns with their career goals.

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    What Kind Of Institutions Hire Substance Abuse Counselors

    A relatively long list of institutions hire substance abuse counselors with most looking for full-time employees. Substance abuse counselors may find they have to work nights or weekends to accommodate clients schedules. They should also be flexible in case a client is in crisis day or night.

    Facilities include:

    • Drug and alcohol treatment centers
    • High schools

    What Does An Addiction Counselor Do

    An addiction counselor first comes in during the intervention stage or sooner. Its his or her job to asses the addiction issue and determines any other circumstances that might aid in the addiction and recovery. Because every addicts situation is different, its the counselors job to help implement a unique treatment plan designed for each individual addict.

    The level of addiction, a persons age, the family or support system that they have, the type of drugs theyre addicted to, and any legal requirements are all taken into consideration when putting together a plan. A counselor might implement a plan through one of the following:

    • Individual Therapy Services
    • Group Therapy Services
    • Treatment Classes

    Each method has its own benefits and a counselor will help decide which one is best for each addict.

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    Training And Clinical Experience

    Before getting licensed as a counselor, students must spend many supervised hours gaining clinical experience. These hours may be done through internships or practicums, which are usually a part of your degree program.

    In states where licensure can be achieved with a bachelors degree, candidates typically spend 4,000 to 10,000 hours gaining supervised experience. However, those with masters degrees may only need around 1,000 hours of clinical experience. After these hours are completed, a candidate can take an exam to become licensed.

    Other Helpful Skills And Experience

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    Succeeding as a substance abuse counselor means more than meeting the basic state-established education and experience requirements. Candidates should develop the attitudes, characteristics, and skills needed to help people overcome the challenges posed by chemical addictions.

    Soft skills, such as communication, organization, and memorization, can prove valuable in counseling settings. Moreover, the ability to manage stress, regulate emotions, and empathize with people in recovery also proves critical. Most importantly, substance abuse counselors must want to help people facing this particular challenge.

    In addition to these soft skills, specific backgrounds and experience can lay a strong foundation for substance abuse counseling. Relevant experience for this career includes military service or prior work experience with diverse groups of people. Personal experience with recovery can also give counselors valuable insight as they help others however, maintaining boundaries also proves critical to becoming an effective counselor.

    While education and certification are vital, the best degrees build on students life experiences and innate talents. People with the hearts to serve others can use their coursework and licenses to make a difference.

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    Occupational Employment And Wage Statistics

    The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

    What Are You Waiting For Start Your Journey Today

    Now that you know what it takes to become and be an addiction counselor, whats holding you back? Start your journey towards becoming an addiction counselor today by checking out what certificate and degree programs we have to offer you. You know just how important it is to help someone on the road to recovery and help change their life.

    Whether youve been through it yourself or youve watched a loved one go through it, you know how hard addiction is to fight. If you are ready to stand up and help fight the battle of alcohol and substance abuse, Contact us today to get started!

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    What Will I Learn In An Addiction Counseling Master’s Program

    Master’s programs in addiction counseling can feature very different curricula. Many schools offer foundational coursework in addiction and the various causes that can lead to addiction, such as mental health disorders and societal influences. Possible courses may include counseling law and ethics, trauma and families, and approaches to substance abuse disorders.

    Students can gain skills in assessment and treatment planning, motivational enhancement, and diagnosis. They also learn how to adjust their treatments and approaches to the situation, adapting to diverse cultures, dependencies, mental health disorders, and settings, including individual, group, and family counseling.

    Prospective students may get to choose between MA and MS programs in addiction counseling. While these two degree types can offer similar coursework, some MA programs feature more interdisciplinary approaches, whereas MS programs tend to focus more on technical skills and clinical practice.

    Salary And Career Outlook

    How Much Do Substance Abuse Counselors Make In Florida ...

    How much does a substance abuse counselor make? According to the BLS, these professionals earn a median annual salary of $44,630. Substance abuse counselors working in hospitals or for the government can earn more than those working in outpatient or residential settings. Moreover, counselors who lead teams or qualify to make clinical assessments may earn more than their colleagues who primarily provide diagnoses or create treatment plans.


    The BLS projects that jobs in this field will grow by 22% from 2018-2028, much faster than the national average. Criminal justice reform provides a major reason for this growth. As drug-related offenders threaten to overwhelm the penal system, more judges and magistrates are handing down community-based sentences as an alternative to incarceration. These sentences often include required counseling.

    Another reason for this fields growth comes from the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, which mandates that participating insurers cover both mental and physical health issues.

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    How Much Competition Will I Face For A Job

    Even with a plentiful supply of jobs, employers will always look for the best and brightest counselors, so you want to ensure youve earned the appropriate degree and gained experience where you can.

    Substance abuse counselors with specialized training are more apt to stand out in a pile of resumes compared to someone with a masters degree in general counseling.

    If youre applying for a job in a very specific setting, youll find that competition may be less fierce if youve been specially trained to handle a certain demographic.

    Another way to edge out competition is to become certified. This shows youve earned a masters degree and passed a rigorous exam recognized in the field.

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