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How Much School To Be An Addiction Counselor

How Do I Start A Career In Addiction Counseling

What does it take to be an addiction counselor?

If youre eager to get into the field, you dont have to wait until you complete your substance abuse counselor degree. Many substance abuse clinics have positions that offer students the chance to gain practical experience while working toward a degree and/or license.

Theres a desperate need for peer support, parenting support, mentorships, said Seth Matthews, associate dean of human services at Southern New Hampshire University. There are all these jobs out there related to substance abuse treatment that dont require the need for a certification to get your foot in the door.

Its also worth noting that graduates of SNHU’s substance abuse degree concentration are prepared to provide entry-level, non-licensure services. That can open you up to immediate opportunities in residential addiction treatment facilities, outpatient addiction programs and more.

What Are The Requirements For Addiction Counselor Certification

To become a certified addiction counselor, you will first need to earn a high school diploma/GED. Once you have graduated from high school, you will be able to enroll in a bachelors degree program, in a field of your choice. In other words, you do not have to earn a bachelors degree in addiction counseling, counseling or a related field, in order to enroll in a masters degree program. You will, however, be required to earn a masters degree in addiction counseling, counseling or a related field, if you want to seek licensure in the field.

Most states require a masters degree, supervised clinical experience and successfully passing of the licensure exams to practice as an addiction counselor, however, in some circumstances you can become certified with a high school diploma/associates/bachelors degree, and extensive experience in addiction counseling.

Once you graduate with a bachelors degree, and enter a graduate program, you will complete a combination of coursework and clinical rotations .

Typical Master-Level Courses

  • Survey of Research in Human Development for Professional Counselors
  • Survey of Research Methodology
  • Principles of Psychopathology: Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Theories of Personality
  • Ethical and Legal Issues in Professional Counseling
  • Introduction to Clinical Mental Health Counseling
  • Theories of Psychotherapy
  • Life Planning and Career Development
  • Counseling and Advocacy with Diverse Populations

What Can You Do With A Masters In Addiction Counseling

Individuals with a masters degree in addiction counseling may provide direct services to people with varied types of substance abuse issues. They may work with people of all ages in various stages of their treatment. In addition, they may also promote substance abuse prevention and education programs in a variety of organizations.

As an addiction counselor with a masters degree, an individual may work as a substance abuse counselor and may have a variety of responsibilities. For instance, they may develop individual treatment plans, which include counseling and address co-existing mental health issues. They may also facilitate support groups and make referrals to other mental health agencies as needed. In many cases, masters level addiction counselors may also provide family counseling to help family members learn how to support their loved one during recovery.

Individuals with a masters degree in addiction counseling may also work in a specific capacity within the recovery process. For example, some individuals work as detox specialists. As a detox specialist, addiction counselors work with clients during their initial recovery phase, which presents certain physical and emotional challenges. Counselors help clients work through this difficult first step toward long-term recovery.

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Learn How To Become A Counselor

Explore careers in counseling and the education and training required to pursue them.

Counselors have a major impact on the lives of the patients they counsel. Because of the importance of their impact on client lives, and in order to provide the highest quality of care, its critical they get the right training and education. The first step is to determine what specialty you want to pursue as a counselor. Counselors typically work with specialized patient populations and provide specific types of treatment and therapy. The training you choose will need to be tailored to your career objectives.

After you have an area of focus figured out, youll be ready to begin researching education programs. If you are just beginning to figure out how to become a counselor, your course may include some liberal arts study besides general psychology and counseling classes. As you progress, your coursework will focus more on subjects that pinpoint your area of specialty.

There are lots of options to choose from, each with its own educational requirements and career outlook. This guide will show you everything you need to know about counseling degrees and training.

Substance Abuse Counselor Specialties

Addiction Counselor, Addiction Counselor Certification, LPC

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.

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Your Future In Addiction Counseling

The Addiction Counseling program is designed to provide you with invaluable skills so you can counsel clients through the recovery process. Topics include assessment, treatment planning, individual and group counseling, case management, crisis intervention, vocational rehabilitation, trauma and recovery, client education, and community resources. Discussions will occur around special issues including sexual harassment, gender, aging, disabilities, cultural differences, and co-occurring disorders.

Throughout the program, youll learn to apply theories of addiction, substance assessment, and counseling techniques including motivational counseling. Youll grow to understand the neurobiology of addiction, family addiction dynamics, and special population concerns. Throughout the program you will explore ethics and boundary considerations, all while working and interacting with those involved in Addiction Counseling. Lastly, but still very important, youll develop an understanding of diversity and tolerance for others.

With flexible online and on-campus schedules, smaller class sizes, and accelerated programs, you will feel prepared and supported to pursue your career goals upon graduation.

Substance Abuse Counselor Job Outlook

Employment for substance abuse counselors is projected to rise by 23 percent, or 23,800 new jobs, through 2026, the BLS reports. Several factors will contribute to the increased demand:

  • More states are making a push to provide counseling and treatment to drug offenders rather than sentence them to jail time or prison.
  • The continued fight against prescription pain relievers and other drugs, including heroin and fentanyl. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that the economic burden of prescription opioid abuse is more than $78.5 billionannually.
  • Improved access to treatment centers and recovery services for drug abusers.

Job prospects are expected to be best for substance abuse counselors with bachelors and masters degrees, the BLS notes. Although advances in pain management practices, new research into pain and addiction, and the production of non-addictive medications and technologies could eventually ease demand for substance abuse counselors, these developments are in their early stages and have not had any significant impact on the nations need for trained substance abusecounselors.

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How To Apply Apply For An Alcohol And Drug Counselor License

Alcohol and Drug Counselor Licenses must now be applied for and renewed on-line using the BSAS eLicensing System. In order to get access, please contact Ian Bain by phone at 774-6627.


Alcohol and Drug Counselor Licenses must now be applied for and renewed on-line using the BSAS eLicensing System. In order to get access, please contact Ian Bain at .

Pass Any Required Substance Counseling Exams For Licensure And Certification

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

Some states and/or counseling programs require the passing of a recognized examination for graduation or licensure such as the National Counselor Examination and/or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination . Some organizations require an examination to receive certification or credentialing. Check the available licenses and required examinations for counselors in your state through the National Board of Certified Counselors and apply for licensure.

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How To Choose A Bachelor’s In Addiction Counseling Program

Students should investigate several programs before choosing where to pursue their substance use counselor degree, paying attention to accreditation, program requirements, cost, and location. A school’s accreditation status can impact a learner’s eligibility for federal financial aid. It can also influence subsequent graduate school admission and/or employment chances. Students should also compare curricula and decide which degree tracks best reflect their interests and career plans.

Time commitment and cost represent other important considerations when choosing a school. The majority of substance use counselor degrees take full-time students four years to complete. Alternatively, many degree seekers require the flexibility of a part-time schedule or online classes, which may prolong the graduation timeline but allow students to keep working or handle family obligations. The overall cost also tends to vary significantly between public and private institutions.

Students should also consider the cost of living on campus versus off campus and make sure to budget accordingly for transportation, room, and board. Learners who opt to earn an online degree should determine whether a program requires visits to campus and find out what a school does to help distance learners secure internships or supervised experiences. These requirements can add to transportation expenses and the time required to finish a degree.

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:

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What Does An Alcohol And Substance Abuse Counselor Do

The day-to-day responsibilities of an alcohol and substance abuse counselor will vary based on your specific role and where youre providing services. According to the BLS, some of the overarching duties may include:

  • Evaluating behaviors and mental and physical health.
  • Assessing readiness for treatment.

Substance Abuse Counselor Salary

What does a drug &  alcohol counselor do?

The median certified substance abuse counselor salary is around $47,660 as of 2020, according to the BLS. The highest 10% earned more than $78,700.

The BLS also reports that those who work in community and social service counselor occupations earned more on average around $50,500 a year.

Because counselors are a less-expensive alternative to psychiatrists and psychologists, managed care insurers increasingly prefer to hire and reimburse counselors who hold masters degrees as opposed to psychologists with doctorate degrees.

Government agencies generally pay the highest wages, followed by hospitals and social service agencies. Residential care facilities often pay the lowest wages. Many drug and alcohol counselors start out as interns in residential care and move up as they complete their intern hours and earn their licensing credentials.

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What Will I Learn In My Courses

Your undergraduate education will combine both a liberal arts education with your major in psychology. Youll often take core classes in the first half of your program and specific psychology courses in the latter portion.

If you decide to enroll in a masters degree program, your curriculum will include field experience along with courses such as:

  • Human Growth and Development
  • Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy

Different Types Of Therapists

  • Clinical psychologists : Trained in psychological theories and methods.
  • Psychiatrist : A medical doctor with a specialty in psychiatry. Emphasis on the biological causes of mental disorders. Treats patients with medication.
  • Psychoanalyst : Trained in psychoanalysis.
  • Licensed Social Worker : LSWs have supervised internship requirements similar to psychologists.
  • School Psychologist : Trained in psychology with an education and child development emphasis.
  • Training in psychology or social work.

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Preparing To Become A Substance Abuse Counselor: Schools And Programs

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.

Find A Substance Abuse Counselor Program Today

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GetEducated offers pertinent information about online degrees available to those seeking entry into new careers, professional transitions, and any credential that can push adults forward in todays competitive marketplace. Click the link below to start your search for online substance abuse counseling degrees!

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Certified Addiction Counselor Course Information

Certified Addiction Counselor training, along with work experience and supervision are the first steps in becoming an addiction counselor. The Certified Addiction Counselor represents one of the highest designations in the addictions field and is overseen by the Florida Certification Board. The CAC designation is also reciprocated in dozens of states throughout the US designation), allowing credentialed individuals to become credentialed in other states without retaking qualification requirements.

With the addiction counselor training you receive at The Academy for Addiction Professionals, youll be well prepared for the Florida Certification Boards exam. Below, youll find more information on the educational requirements to become a CAC.

Certified Addiction Counselor standards for certification


Addiction Counseling Program Online Or On Campus

If you have a desire to help others who are struggling with substance addiction, consider Beal Universitys Addiction Counseling program, designed to begin in the diploma program, advance to associate degree and further complete a bachelor degree while working in the field.

You know the devastation addiction can cause, and you believe you have the ability to help others empower themselves. Perhaps youve overcome addiction yourself, and have become stronger for having survived it. You have the willpower, now all you need is training and youll be on your way to starting a fulfilling career as an Addiction Counselor.

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Scholarships For Addiction Counseling Students

Students pursuing addiction counseling degrees can pursue financial aid to help them pay for their degree. Unlike loans, scholarships do not require repayment, making them ideal forms of financial aid. The following list outlines several scholarship opportunities for addiction counseling students.

Scholarships for Addiction Counseling Students


Stephanie Nicole Ross Graduate Scholarship

$1,500 Counseling graduate students enrolled in accredited Florida schools qualify for this opportunity. Applicants must submit essays and a resume.

Finding Work As An Addiction Counselor

Should Recovering Addicts Choose Addiction Counseling as a ...

Once you earn your degrees, licensure and any certifications you desire, you can finally begin your career as an addiction counselor. Luckily for any aspiring addiction counselor, this career is expected to grow as people continue to seek addiction and mental health counseling services. As the criminal justice system recognizes that substance abusers are less likely to offend again if they get treatment for their addiction, the demand for counselors grows.3

Addiction counselors work in a variety of settings, including:

  • Mental health and substance abuse centers
  • Hospitals

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Career And Salary Outlook

Because the current high demand shows no sign of slowing down, the career & salary outlook for addiction counselors is among the best in the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average rate of employment growth hovers around 11 percent. For substance abuse counselors, that number jumps as high as 22 percent. There are many reasons for this growth. As the criminal justice system becomes more open to the idea of treatment as a part of rehabilitation, more counselors will need to be employed by the penal system. In addition, mental health care has become more prevalently available in recent years for those with insurance. As of May 2017, the median annual wage for addiction counselors was $43,300. The lowest 10 percent of earners brought in just over $27,000 on average, while the highest earners made more than $70,000 per year. Check out the different types of counseling careers that are available to licensed professionals.

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