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How To Become An Addiction Counselor In California

How To Become A Substance Abuse Counsellor

CCAPP Certification: Becoming a Substance Abuse Counselor
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If youve got an empathetic personality, strong communication skills and a fierce determination to help others, a career in counselling could be hugely rewarding. Substance abuse counsellors, in particular, work with some of the most vulnerable members of society, helping them to deal with and overcome various drug addiction issues.

Indeed, if you feel like you could potentially be suited to this enormously challenging role, then read on this is the lowdown on how to become a substance abuse counsellor

What Do Substance Abuse Counselors Do

Substance abuse counselors are employed at government agencies, clinics, hospitals, outpatient treatment centers, nonprofits, and residential treatment programs. Most substance abuse counselors are trained to provide services based on 12 core functions.

Duties can vary based on place of employment, level of license or certification, or job description, but they typically include:

  • Providing patient screening
  • Performing a thorough client intake
  • Giving clients program orientation
  • Assessing patients therapeutic needs through one-on-one counseling sessions
  • Writing treatment plans to help clients meet their therapeutic goals
  • Counseling clients in individual and group settings
  • Providing regular case management to ensure clients access all the services they need to be successful
  • Offering crisis intervention when necessary
  • Educating clients and family members on substance abuse disorders
  • Referring clients to other providers when necessary
  • Maintaining client records

Renewing Addiction Counseling Certification

Certifications must be renewed every two years. Additionally, there are several requirements for continuing education credits that counselors must complete to renew their certifications. For each of the three NAADAC certifications, renewal requires 40 hours of continuing education every two years. Counselors must also provide their work history for the last two years.

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Earn A Masters Degree In Substance Abuse And/or Addiction Counseling

Some substance abuse counselor positions require only a bachelors. However to be licensed and certified, you must earn your masters degree. The National Certified Counselor is a prerequisite for Master Addiction Counselor certification. All NCCs must hold a masters degree in counseling. Thus, obtaining your graduate degree in counseling is a requirement for practice as a licensed drug and alcohol counselor and clinical substance abuse disorder counselor.

Online Addiction Counseling Degrees 2021

How to Become a Counselor in California

Discover the best online addiction counseling degrees for 2021 and learn how you can begin a career in this field. is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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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.

Cadtp Alcohol/other Drug Counselor Clinical Supervisor Caodc

  • Complete 450 hours of formal classroom education related to alcohol and other drug abuse.
  • Finish 5 years/10,000 hours of general clinical experience.
  • Finish 2 years of clinical supervision experience. This requirement may be earned concurrently with the previous requirement.
  • Complete 40 hours of clinical supervision education courses.

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How To Become An Addiction Counselor In Southern California

by hhadmin | Jan 22, 2016 | Articles

Helping others to overcome addiction is a noble career choice that offers opportunities to see your work change peoples lives. In southern California, it is necessary to comply with state regulations that demonstrate your competence before you can become an addiction counselor. If you have always wondered what it takes to become an addiction counselor, then here are the requirements that must be met before a person can be certified.

Earn a Degree

The first step toward becoming an addiction counselor is to obtain a degree in a Behavioral Science field that includes Addiction Counseling. The amount of time a person must go to school depends upon the level of certification that they are seeking. For example, someone seeking to become a Licensed Advanced Alcohol Drug Counselor must have completed a masters level program. Courses in psychology, sociology and social work can also be applied to the educational requirements.

Complete a Practicum and Supervised Work Experience

During your educational experience, you will be provided with the opportunity to complete a practicum during which you can apply what you have learned under the guidance of a supervisor. Once this requirement has been met, then you will complete a specific amount of hours of supervised work experience before you are allowed to work with patients independently. These hours may range from zero to 10,000 depending upon your preferred level of certification.

Demand For Substance Abuse Counselors

What employers look for in addiction counselors

The U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics reports substance abuse counselors are among the fastest-growing positions in the country through 2026, its estimated this field will grow by 23 percent, which is much faster than the average occupation.

Dr. Donald Posson, a psychology faculty member at National University, explained how this increasing demand prompted his school to offer a drug counseling certificate program. He says, in a previous blog post, Because of the need in this specialty, we designed the program for professionals who need to pick up enough education credits to get certified in substance abuse therapy.

The need Posson speaks of is also often highlighted in the national news as well as in official health research. In March 2018, the CDC released an in-depth analysis of drug overdose data from 2016. That year, more than 63,000 Americans died as a result of a drug overdose, and 66% of those involved prescription medication or illicit opioids. In this report, the CDCs Dr. Anne Schuchat warned, No area of the United States is exempt from the epidemic we all know a friend, family member, or loved one devastated by opioids. A CDC fact sheet on alcohol reports that from 2006 to 2010, more than 88,000 people per year died of excessive alcohol abuse.

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Addiction Counseling Students Faq’s

Entry-level counseling positions may require only a bachelor’s degree, while more advanced positions typically require at least a master’s degree.

Addiction counseling degree programs are rigorous, but they position students for a rewarding career helping others.

Most bachelor’s degrees take four years of full-time study to complete. Most while most master’s degrees take 1-3 years to complete.

Many colleges offer online counseling degrees. However, online students must still complete clinical hours in person, which they can typically complete in their local area.

Can I Become A Counselor In California With An Online Degree

It is possible to become a licensed counselor in California with an online degree. An important step when evaluating programs is to ensure that the program you choose is approved by the appropriate California licensing board for the license you intend to seek. As long as the program is approved and accredited, attending classes online can be a great way to make progress towards your career goals.

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What Is The Salary Outlook For Substance Abuse Counselors

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics also released salary information and statistics for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors:

  • Median Salary$39,270
  • Low-End Salaryless than $25,310
  • 75th Percentile$50,010
  • 25th Percentile$31,400

As expected, salaries are higher for those with college degrees in appropriate fields and professional certification/licensure in the state.

So, using the above states as an example, how much might you typically expect to make in a specific location as a certified or licensed substance abuse counselor?

  • Salt Lake City, Utah up to $65,000
  • Boise, Idaho up to $52,000
  • Helena, Montana $40,976
  • Seattle, Washington $39,624

The best-paying niches are in educational settings at every level elementary through high school, private academies, and universities.

Salaries for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors are on the rise. Between 2006 and 2014, the median salaries rose steadily at a rate of approximately 19.73% per year.

School Guidance Or Career Counselor

Substance Abuse Counselor Certification Program

If you want to interact with children or adolescents in a school setting daily, you may want to become a high school guidance or career counselor. As a high school, middle school, or elementary school counselor, you may help students discover their passions, gain college admission, or work through problems at home. You may also administer testing to students to determine special needs and qualify entry into subsequent programs.

To become a school counselor, you will need to earn a masters degree in school psychology or become an education specialist . Either way, a masters degree will generally take 3 years of graduate education after a bachelors degree is completed. Finally, you will need to attain NASP certification by completing an internship to demonstrate clinical experience and proficiency, then pass a test .

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Alcohol And Other Drug Studies

If you are compassionate, a patient listener, enjoy building relationships, easily relate toothers, and have a belief in hope, you should look into the demanding, yet rewarding career of being a Substance Use Disorder Counselor.

Substance Use Disorder Counselors see patients in both an office setting and in the field, and have appointments with individuals and groups. It involves listening and building trust to help a person break the cyclical nature of substance use disorder. It’s about being their advocate and identifying what is needed to help them rebuild their relationships and their lives.

In our Alcohol and Other Drug Studies Program, you’ll gain knowledge of addiction, andthe role family and social networks play in an individual’s addiction. We’ll help you develop professional maturity and an understanding of the ethical issues of substance use disorder counseling. With these skills, you’ll have the opportunity to receive hands-on training through our internship program.

After graduating with a Certificate of Achievement or Associate of Science Degree, you may be eligible for an entry-level position as a substance use disorder counselor.

We offer an Associate in Science and a Certificate of Achievement in Alcohol and OtherDrug Studies.

Substance Abuse Counseling What Is It All About

As counselors, most of the times you have to deal with people who have mental issues. A substance abuse counselor has to deal with clients who have developed drug addiction habits. He is the one who is responsible to identify the causes and propose effective elucidations to those causes and help the patients to reduce their stress in their path towards leaving the critical desire of drugs.

A bachelors degree or a high school diploma is all that you need to enroll yourself in this certification. You might be required with additional education in case you are desiring an advanced license to practice. With bachelors degree you will be required to complete 120 credit hours, however having a masters degree will put you at an advantage of just completing 45-50 credit hours to get the certification.

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Expect More From Your Education


Online Information Session

This free online info session is available Aug 23 Sept 3 and provides a comprehensive overview of the certificate and its curriculum.

Required for new certificate students.


I cant thank UCLA Extension enough for launching my counseling career. I received excellent training from the programs knowledgeable and dedicated teachers. UCLA Extensions reputation has opened many doors for me. I now have the privilege of doing work that I love through facilitating groups at rehabs in the Los Angeles area and working as a counselor and case manager.

The UCLA Extension Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counseling Certificate is approved by the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals Education Institute .

Scholarships For Addiction Counseling Students

Substance Abuse Counselor: What Is CAADE Alcohol and drug counseling certification

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.

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What Is A Substance Abuse Addiction Counselor

The decision to become a substance abuse addiction counselor is not one to take lightly. This is a career that asks a lot of a person. It’s more of a calling than a career, a passion than a job. You will be in a position to help many, many people through a very difficult time in their lives.

Not only will you be able to help the addict themself, but your impact will be quite far-reaching. That’s because the addict is often a whirling mass of chaos who runs rampant through the lives of his family, friends, and community. In fact, it’s difficult to find a single person who has not been impacted by the disease of alcohol and drug addiction. The ever-expanding opioid crisis is spreading the problem in ways no one could have predicted.

If you wish to work in mental health substance abuse on the front lines of a national crisis, you will need to take the proper steps towards that goal. This page is here to help. Continue reading to learn the steps you need to take to become a substance abuse addictions counselor.

What Are The Degree Requirements To Become A Counselor In California

If you are aiming to become a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor then you must attain a Masters level degree in counseling, this is a minimum requirement to be considered for licensure. If you are working towards becoming a School Counselor then you also need to attain a graduate level program in School Counseling. If however, you desire to work as a substance abuse counselor you can be certified without a Masters degree.

Counseling Educational Track

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Substance Use Disorder Counselor

Substance abuse counselors in California are not required to be licensed, but must be certified by an organization recognized by the Substance Use Disorder Compliance Division of the California Department of Health Care Services . To provide substance abuse counseling in California, you must have at least a high school diploma or GED. However, you may find greater opportunities for employment with an associates or bachelors degree. If you later decide to pursue professional counseling, this will also prepare you to earn the required masters degree. In general, the substance used disorder counselor certification process in California is as follows:

  • Register with a DHCS-recognized organization.
  • Begin working as a substance use disorder counselor.
  • Earn certification from the recognized organization within five years of registering.
  • Be sure to maintain certification for as long as you are working as a substance abuse counselor in California.

Other Substance Abuse Counseling Credentials Offered in California

  • Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor
  • Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor I
  • Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor II
  • Certified Clinical Supervisor
  • Substance Use Disorder Certified Counselor
  • Substance Use Disorder Certified Counselor
  • Substance Use Disorder Certified Counselor
  • Substance Use Disorder Certified Counselor Clinical Supervisor
  • Substance Use Disorder Certified Counselor
  • Substance Use Disorder Certified Counselor Clinical Supervisor
  • Womens Treatment Specialist

Substance Abuse Counselor Professional Organizations

How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor in California ...

Joining a professional organization allows substance abuse counselors to network and stay informed on current industry advancements. Most professional organizations host national conferences and publish informative newsletters. These organizations also provide continuing education hours that help counselors meet licensing renewal requirements. The following list contains professional organizations for addiction counselors:

  • NAATP offers resources like an addiction industry directory, a code of ethics, and an exclusive job center. This organization provides unique training such as member roundtables. NAATP provides awards and recognizes outstanding members.

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Cadtp Alcohol/other Drug Counselor

  • CAODC is now known as Substance Use Disorder Certifed Counselor . Register with the CADTP as an applicant for mental health counselor certification board. Registrants are required to sign a statement agreeing to abide by a code of ethics. They must also complete a nine-hour orientation course. Afterwards, registrants have 5 years to complete the remainder of the requirements. During that time they are required to renew their registration on an annual basis by paying a renewal fee, completing 6 hours of ethics and confidentiality training, and outlining their education/professional activities throughout the previous year.
  • Complete 315 hours of formal classroom training focused on alcohol and other drug abuse. California association counselors must have at least 45 hours in each of the following content areas:
  • Introduction and Overview
  • Complete 160 hours of supervised training.
  • Complete 2,080 hours of paid or unpaid work as a substance abuse counselor.
  • Earn a passing grade on the Alcohol & Drug Counselor exam administered by the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium .
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