Supervisor Letter And Evaluation
All applications must be accompanied by a completed Supervisor Evaluation and a letter from your current supervisor on employer letterhead. The letter should confirm your position title, length of time in position, and number of hours of work experience as outlined in the Experience section of the Manual.
Substance Abuse Counselor Certification
All 50 states and the District of Columbia have some form of counselor licensing that governs the practice of mental health counseling.
Explore requirements for the Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor credential in your state. The Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist credential is appropriate for counselors looking to specialize in family therapy.
In California, for example, more than one type of licensing might be needed to engage in substance abuse counseling. Visit the California Board of Behavioral Sciences website for an alphabet soup of licensing options.
Most states require counselors to take state board licensing exams like the National Counseling Exam or the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination to become a licensed professional counselor. You must also complete a certain number of counseling hours and pass written and oral exams. Felony and other background checks are required.
Mental health counselors may also elect to be certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors . This national agency grants a general practice credential, the Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor . The CCMHC is widely recognized nationwide and may be required by some employers.
What Certifications Are Available
Certifications are a great way for a counselor to distinguish themselves in the job market. They do not replace any state certification but once a counselor earns these credentials, they will have an even more distinguished resume. Completing a certification such as the NCC AP or the CADC will show to the profession that the holder has met certain high standards for knowledge and skill in the field. Since these are national certifications, they will help when a counselor moves to a new state and begins seeking a job. This is especially helpful if it’s perceived that one’s home state has lower licensure standards than the state you move to. A national certification helps to level the playing field.
Certification often goes hand-in-hand with membership in a professional association. These memberships open up the possibility of free, or at the very least affordable, CEU opportunities, national conferences, and even state-level events where fellow counselors meet for learning and fellowship.
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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.
Make A Positive Impact In Peoples Lives
Overcoming addiction can be one of the most significant actions a person takes. Understanding how to become an addiction counselor is the first step toward helping people improve their health and well-being and making a positive impact on the lives of an individuals family, friends, co-workers and community.
While achieving this professional goal involves many steps, they are well worth taking. The University of North Dakotas online Master of Arts in Counseling program and the Addiction Counseling and Rehabilitation Counseling tracks can help individuals learn the knowledge and skills needed to provide this crucial level of treatment to those in need. Find out how UND can help you develop your ability to serve.
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What Is Naadac Membership
NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals is an organization for people who work in substance abuse treatment.
There are professional memberships for credentialed addiction counselors and associate memberships for those in related positions.
While youre in school, you can sign up for a student membership.
These mental health professionals subscribe to a code of ethics, and they have access to a variety of resources. These include networking opportunities, industry advocacy, job postings, continuing-education webinars, and a magazine subscription.
NAADAC is the parent organization for NCC AP, but holding NCC AP certification doesnt automatically make you a NAADAC member. Enrollment is separate, and dues are paid annually.
Check Your State Requirements For Licensure
Each state sets their own requirements and processes for counseling licensure, and where you live will determine exactly what department is in charge of licensing and what you need to qualify for state licensure. For example, in New York your credential will be overseen by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services and you’ll need a minimum of 350 hours of education specific to substance and alcohol abuse and up to 6,000 hours of experience before qualifying to sit for the exam. In Hawaii, licensure is overseen by the Hawaii Department of Health – Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division you must complete 300 hours of substance abuse specific education and 6000 hours of experience before applying to sit for the exam. Make sure you understand what school accreditation is accepted by the state before you enroll in your preferred program.
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General Addictions And Mental Health Program Requirements
Addictions and Mental Health programs at Ontario colleges generally require an Ontario Secondary School Diploma or equivalent, including a grade 12 English credit. Depending on the program, students may require Standard First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation certificates, as well as specific immunizations.
Some addictions and mental health programs are offered at the post-graduate level, in which case a diploma or degree will be required.
Six Steps To Becoming A Substance Abuse Counselor
Becoming an addiction counselor takes time and effort. After completing education and following the necessary steps, individuals can earn jobs as substance abuse counselors in private practice, rehabilitation, or hospital settings. Below, we discuss actions these professionals must take to emerge as a leader in this field.
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Complete A Bachelors Degree In Addiction Studies Behavioral Social Science Psychology Or Another Field
Because a masters degree is a requirement for a licensure counselor, pursuing a bachelors degree in substance abuse and/or addiction studies, psychology, social work, or a related field sets the groundwork for rehabilitation counseling students. Coursework for undergraduate studies in these fields will typically include the evaluation of human development, counseling foundation, theories of personality, foundations of addictions, and introduction to psychology.
What Issues Might Alcohol And Drug Addiction Counselors Deal With
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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What Addiction Counselors Do
Some drug abuse and addiction counselors work in private practice with clients one-on-one or in group settings. They help clients confront their behavior and work through underlying causes. Addiction and substance abuse often stem from traumatic situations and an inability to deal with the pressures of life or family relationships.
They also work with family members separately or as a group with the client, or conduct interventions which bring together family members and others close to the client as a means of confronting them with reality and to agree to undergo treatment. Counselors also conduct preventive drug and alcohol addiction awareness seminars.
Counselors frequently deal with crisis intervention situations. Addiction and substance abuse often lead to homelessness, mental illness, AIDS and even death. Crisis intervention requires a supportive, non-judgmental attitude and the ability to control emotions of anger and frustration when clients revert to their old behaviors. This type of counseling can be very frustrating and the burnout rate is high.
Earning Your Undergrad Addiction Counseling Degree
The first step in becoming an addiction counselor is to enroll in an undergrad addiction counseling degree program at an accredited university. Because many universities offer similar programs, specific classes for the programs will vary. However, you can generally expect to explore the following topics:
- Foundations of Addiction and Substance Use
- Psychopharmacology in Treatment of Addiction and Substance Use Disorders
- Multicultural Counseling in a Diverse Society
- Relapse Prevention in the Treatment of Addiction and Substance Use Disorders
- Trauma, Addiction and Substance Use Disorders
Some universities additionally explore special issues in this line of work, such as considerations for working with children and the encouragement of family treatment. When choosing a program, make sure your degree will give you the best possible foundation so that your skills can later be applied toward an advanced degree and licensure.
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Who Do They Work With
A counselor can work with anyone and everyone who is affected by substance abuse. No matter their age or any other factor, they need the professional relationship and rapport these counselors are able to provide. Whether they are trying to stop using drugs or alcohol or if they are having issues avoiding relapse, they need assistance and guidance that can only come from a licensed professional.
Families of addicts may have struggled for years to get their loved ones to stop using, and they may know that whatever theyve done in the past isnt working. Counselors can also work with them, explaining the process of addiction, why their loved ones are struggling with dependence, and how they as family members can help them most effectively.
Counselors also work with fellow professionals as they look for the best therapeutic approaches for individual clients. They may develop working relationships with those outside support groups so that they always have somewhere to send their clients if they need more support or there is a type of therapeutic application that they are not versed in.
College Trades Or University Program
These programs prepare students to help prevent substance abuse, counsel individuals and families with drug and alcohol problems, and perform intervention and therapeutic services for persons suffering from addiction. They include courses in individual and group counselling skills, psychology of addiction, sociology, crisis intervention, substance abuse identification methodologies, substance abuse treatment modalities, substance abuse prevention and treatment resources, pharmacology and behavioural aspects of abused substances, treatment evaluation, patient observation and education, group dynamics, professional standards and ethics, and applicable laws and regulations.
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Certified Addiction Counselor Cac
This requires up to 6000 hours of related work experience, up to 300 hours of supervised training in core areas like evaluation, documentation and managing records, ethics, drug education, treatment planning, and referral to other counselors. Associates and bachelors degrees reduce the amount of experience and training required.
What Is An Addiction Counselor
An addiction counselor is a health care professional who provides guidance and support to those suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. They may work with patients in various stages of addiction to help support them in their recovery process. Addiction counseling work may involve listening to patients and their concerns, offering support, advice and guidance and providing the appropriate resources to promote recovery. These counselors may also evaluate and provide counseling for patients’ mental health concerns to offer complete support as a patient seeks recovery.
Addiction counselors can work with patients through a private practice setting to provide individual or small group counseling. They can also work with groups within addiction treatment centers, hospitals or other health care organizations. Depending on their role, they may work with many patients at once and support those with different needs based on their current recovery stage.
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Do You Have What It Takes Substance Abuse Counselor Requirements
Substance abuse counseling is a specialized and challenging job with its own certification. Its a field that provides a good entry level into counseling careers since you dont need a bachelors- or masters-level education to become a drug and alcohol abuse counselor in 48 states, although it does require specialized training.
People dont pursue a counseling career in this field just for the paycheck. Being curious enough to research the education and experience needed to be an alcohol and drug abuse counselor is a great start, since reading journal articles and books on the subject will be an ongoing endeavor if you pursue this career path. Other qualities that make for a great counselor include:
- Active listening knowing how to read between the lines as clients talk about their lives
- Empathy being able to see experiences from your clients perspective putting yourself in their shoes
- Compassion showing genuine concern for a client
- Patience understanding that each clients progress toward positive change will be at their own pace
- Open-mindedness being nonjudgmental about details clients share with you
- Sensitivity keeping clients stories and health information confidential
- Authenticity being genuine, honest, and forthright with clients
S To Become A Licensed Addiction Counselor
Once you decide the role of substance abuse counselor is your ideal career you’ll need a working plan in order to reach your goal. While there are various paths you might take to earn this title, it is vital you have a clear idea of what you need to do and learn in order to qualify for the role. Here are the most accepted steps you’ll need to follow in order to become a substance abuse counselor:
Step 1: Check your state requirements for licensure
Step 2: Earn your degree
Step 3: Complete the minimum number of hours of counseling work experience required
Step 4: Complete your state application process
Step 5: Pass your state counseling exam
Step 6: Maintain your license by meeting state continuing education requirements
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What Degree Do I Need To Be A Substance Abuse Counselor
The education that you need for practicing as a successful substance abuse counselor depends on the state in which you practice.
You may be able to work in this field with only a high school education or an associates degree.
Most commonly, though, a person will need to earn a drug and alcohol counselor degree in a suitable field at the bachelors degree level and then the masters degree.
This educational path can empower you to provide comprehensive counseling care for people with drug abuse disorders.
Certified Masters Level Addiction Professional
This is an enhancement for masters level applicants that already have their CAP certificate. The MCAP certifies readiness to develop and assess drug abuse treatment plans. The MCAP requires 200 hours of direct supervision experience in treatment evaluation, ethics, planning, counseling, education, documentation, and information management.
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The Certified Addiction Counselor Cac Certification Requirements
Certified Addiction Counselors must have a high school diploma or equivalent. The college education levels reduce the training and work experience requirements.
The certified addiction counselor CAC level requires a High School education or equivalent. Many applicants have associates or bachelors degrees, and the system reduces their work experience, supervised training, and competency training hours based on their level of formal education.
Everything You Need To Know About Becoming A Substance Abuse Counselor
Youve longed for a career that will empower you to positively impact others, so its no wonder youre considering becoming a substance abuse counselor. These professionals, also called addiction counselors, work to help people caught in the throes of substance abuse regain control of their lives.
As a substance abuse counselor, you could show people how to overcome their dependencies on alcohol or drugs by providing expert care, guidance and support. This, by extension, can improve their physical and emotional well-being, their psychological functioning and their relationships with loved ones.
As you contemplate this meaningful mental health career, its good to learn more about what the role entails. Youll also need to know the various steps that can help get you there. Join us as we explore the ins and outs of working as a substance abuse counselor.
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Find Your Purpose As An Addiction Counselor
Many substance abuse counselors feel a remarkable sense of purpose and satisfaction from helping people take hold of their lives after drug or alcohol dependence. Making a tangible difference in peoples lives day in and day out by becoming a substance abuse counselor could be exactly what youre looking for in a career.
Now that you know more about this role, you may be wondering how to proceed. If you havent yet earned your bachelors degree, you can start by pursuing aBA in Psychologyor aBA in Social Work. If youve already completed your undergraduate education, consider taking the next step byearning aMaster of Arts in Psychology with an emphasis on Professional Clinical Counseling.