Saturday, February 17, 2024

How To Become An Addiction Specialist

Continue Your Education And Stay Up To Date On Substance Abuse And Addiction Counseling Trends And Changes

Understanding Addiction Counselor Certification

Continuing education is imperative to maintaining professional counseling licensure/certification and keeping up-to-date with any updates to the substance abuse and addictions field.


Bachelor’s holders can prepare to become a licensed professional counselor online. With no GRE scores required to apply, the 24 month online MA in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine allows you to advance your career and be a catalyst of change.


Depending on the setting and state in which they practice, the educational requirements for a substance abuse/addiction counselor vary. However, as is the case with any counselor, a masters degree in counseling or related fields such as social work or psychology is highly recommended and often required.

Certification demonstrates your experience, education and level of counseling skills. The American Institute of Health Care Professionals offers the Substance Abuse Practitioner Certification Program. The Association for Addiction Professionals offers certification programs specific to addiction and recovery. Many counselors become credentialed after having worked with an institution for a period of time. Some employers will pay fees associated with attaining counseling credentials.

Option : California Consortium Of Addiction Programs And Professionals

The California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals, a member board of the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium , offers credentials at multiple levels. Candidates may begin as registered technicians. At this level, training requirements are minimal the individual must have nine hours of orientation.

The Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor I credential is dependent on meeting a number of additional requirements, including education, practicum, and examination. The work experience requirement is 3,000 hours.

The CADC II credential is dependent on accruing additional experience the experience requirement is less if the individual has a bachelors degree. The CADC III credential is dependent on attainment of a bachelors degree. The Licensed Advanced Alcohol Drug Counselor credential requires a masters degree 2,080 of the 4,000 experience hours must be post-degree.

Professionals can also pursue specialty certifications like Certified Criminal Justice Addiction Professional.

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.

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Becoming An Addiction Interventionist

The Association of Intervention Specialist Certification Board has a voluntary credentialing system that lists skills, responsibilities and duties that intervention specialists should perform. Board certified interventionists must have a license or certification in counseling or a related field, two years of experience in the field, and insurance. The interventionist also must have signed the AISCB’s code of ethics, which emphasizes nondiscrimination, legal and ethical behavior, confidentiality. and client welfare, among other responsibilities.

Where Does An Addiction Psychiatrist Work

How to Become an Addiction Counselor

As an addiction psychiatrist, you will be able to work in a variety of settings. The majority of professionals work in outpatient and residential mental health and substance abuse facilities. However, the selection of locations is vast, including prisons, probation agencies, detox centers, and employee assistance programs. Another option is private practice, where psychiatrists work in individual settings. Most professionals work full-time, with some nights and weekends in certain settings. The nature of the job can often be stressful, making self-care essential for an addiction psychiatrist.

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Benefits Of Becoming A Substance Abuse Counselor With The Ccapp

CCAPP offers a gold standard of addiction counseling certification in California. So it comes with a lot of benefits.

The CCAPP certification can offer specialized training to counselors if they want to pursue it.

They work with the Hazelden Betty Ford rehabilitation clinic to offer specific training. This clinic focuses on treating co-occurring disorders. This is when substance abuse and co-occurring disorders, like depression or OCD, occur at the same time.

They have also paired up with the Distance Learning Center for Addiction Studies. This means they can offer online training to anyone who wants to continue their training remotely.

Expanding your area of studying in this way will help to build your skillset for specific patients. It means you will be able to combine these into your regular practice and help more people.

And all of this means also means that having CCAPP certification makes you more likely to get a job following your training. Employers value the skills and training that it provides. They know anyone with CCAPP has an excellent education.

What Does A Substance Abuse Counselor Do What Is The Role Of An Addiction Counselor

A typical client who has been abusing substances may find their addiction to include alcohol, illegal drugs such as amphetamines, opiates, cocaine, or prescription medications. Substance abuse is a dependency on any mood-altering substance. As defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine addiction is a treatable, chronic medical disease involving complex interactions among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individuals life experiences. People with addiction use substances or engage in behaviors that become compulsive and often continue despite harmful consequences. Prevention efforts and treatment approaches for addiction are generally as successful as those for other chronic diseases.

Without treating the addiction or engaging in recovery activities, the addiction can progress, resulting in disability or premature death.

While there are similarities of behavior across all types of substance abuse, an experienced substance abuse/addiction counselor knows to carefully treat each client as an individual with a unique history, personality traits, and pattern of abuse. Treatment plans are personalized based on a range of factors and may include individual or group therapy, as part of a comprehensive inpatient or outpatient treatment plan.

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Substance Abuse Counselor Professional Organizations

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.

How To Become An Addiction Specialist

What is Addiction Counseling? How to Become an Addiction Counselor.

To become an addiction specialist, you must have a bachelors degree and a medical degree, as well as significant training, qualifications, and skills related to mental health, psychiatry, and drug and alcohol abuse issues. If you know you want to be an addiction specialist, you should also take psychology classes during undergraduate in addition to your pre-med courses. After medical school, you need to complete a clinical residency and become a board-certified physician. You then need to get subspecialty certification in addiction medicine from a national professional organization, such as the American Board of Preventive Medicine.

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Choosing An Intervention Expert

Understanding the educational backgrounds of interventionists may be a helpful way to differentiate between one type of interventionist and another, but it may not be the only method families will use in order to find the right person to work with on an intervention. After all, an advanced degree may not translate into an advanced ability to understand the individual needs and pressures that family members are going through as they deal with an addiction issue.

In the end, it might come down to whom the family members feel comfortable with. The interventionist is likely to spend a significant amount of time working with the family and learning a substantial amount of details that some families would prefer they kept private.

Its best that the family chooses someone they feel comfortable being completely open and honest with, on a day-to-day basis.

On the other hand, asking about qualifications is a perfectly reasonable way for families to protect themselves against people who would do a poor job or provide advice thats not based on scientific principles.

If youd like help finding a professional interventionist who has the qualifications youre looking for, contact us today at . We can match you up with an interventionist who works in your area and answer any questions you have.

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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Who Will Answer The Need For Addiction Treatment

While the American Board of Addiction Medicine is attempting to remediate the statistics above by encouraging more doctors to become certified in addiction treatment, the process is a slow one.

Yet the physicians in American ERs overwhelmingly do not understand these drugs, addiction, and addiction treatment modalities. That makes the addition of credentialing for addiction treatment a necessity in American healthcare facilities. While most physicians and psychiatrists do not specialize in addiction treatment, the American healthcare system is desperate for more of these talented professionals.

What Is Involved In Becoming A Medical Addiction Specialist

Importance of Addiction Counseling in Treatment

The U.S. Surgeon General issued a new report called Facing Addiction. In it, he expressed dire warnings about the volume of patients facing addiction:

  • One in seven Americans will misuse alcohol or drugs in their lifetimes.
  • 20 million Americans currently suffer from addiction.
  • 78 people die from an overdose every day in this country.

Here is one more startling statistic. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse suggests that the majority of physicians in the American healthcare system simply are not prepared to handle these patients. The Washington Post confirms that only 10 percent of the substance users in the U.S. actually receive treatment.

This article explores what you have to do to become a medical addiction specialist. What does that role entail? What training is required? What can you expect in the way of salary and work environment?

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The Benefits Of Working With An Addiction Specialist

Obviously, it is to everyones benefit to have an addiction specialist on-site at a rehab. Nearly 50% of those addicted to drugs or alcohol have or develop a dual diagnosis mental illness or physical symptoms of the disease. These highly trained physicians and psychiatrists have specific knowledge that can assist individuals through recovery. More often than not, addiction specialists lead a team of counselors and medical professionals. Under the direction of an addiction specialist, each member of the team will do their part to enhance the treatment plan developed by the addiction specialist.

As you might expect, developing the right individual treatment is important. Sometimes, what may appear to be an addiction could be a physical dependence. In such cases, an addiction specialist would recognize the unique characteristics of the issue and create a concrete plan. More often than not, people with a physical dependence will be slowly weaned off of the substance, unlike the immediate detox necessary for those struggling with active addiction.

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.

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Why Get A Masters In Addiction Counseling

While not always required for certain counseling careers, earning a masters in counseling will typically qualify the graduate for higher levels of licensure. Higher levels of licensure can allow for independent practice, better salary potential, and a greater number of job opportunities overall. At the same time, a masters program is an intensive investment of both time and money. Only you can decide whether a masters is ultimately the best fit for your goals.

Complete Supervised Work Experience

How to become a Substance Abuse Counselor in NC

Depending on the level of certification or license, applicants can be required to complete supervised work experience. Trainee, intern, and associate licenses and certifications are often required to begin earning these hours. Requirements vary by state but can be as few as 1,000 hours or six months and as many as 6,000 hours and three years. The number of hours required varies based on the level of certificate or license pursued.

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Are Any Certifications Or Credentials Needed

Once a nurse has completed 2,000 hours of professional nursing experience in the substance abuse sector and 30 hours of continuing education related to addictions nursing within the last three years, he or she may sit for the Certified Addictions Registered Nurse certification exam offered by the Addictions Nursing Certification Board .

There is also an opportunity to gain certification as an Advanced Practice Certified Addictions Registered Nurse through the ANCB. This certification requires a Master’s of Science in Nursing or higher, as well as 45 hours of continuing education and 1500 hours of advanced-practice addictions nursing experience within the last three years.

Both of the CARN certifications are valid for four years. While not required for all substance abuse nursing positions, the CARN certifications communicate a nurse’s commitment to substance abuse nursing to prospective employers.

Qualities Of A Good Substance Abuse Counselor

Being able to withstand the emotional burden of substance abuse counseling isnt the only quality you need.

Any good counselor needs to be able to listen patiently to their patients. They should take the time to think and speak constructively in response to their patients.

This requires a lot of compassion and empathy. Addiction can sometimes feel like a foreign land for some people and reasoning doesnt always work.

This means that the work can often be frustrating. Empathizing with someone going through addiction recovery is essential. This often requires a good helping of patience.

But a counselors work doesnt just happen with their patients. Being a successful substance abuse counselor also comes with a lot of administrative work too. Maintaining accurate records in an organized fashion is also part of the role.

Finally, anyone becoming a counselor should be aware that this isnt your standard nine to five job. You dont always clock off when you leave the office at the end of the day.

Not only can the emotional stress of the day come with you, but you might also have to work evenings or weekends. After all, people suffering from addiction dont just shut it off at the end of the day!

Most counselors work with multiple patients. And working at a rehabilitation center or in your own private practice often requires you to be on call for patients.

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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.

Is Our Substance Abuse Counselor Program Right For You

Be A Counselor

Our program is designed for aspiring addiction counselors who have a passion to counsel those who are currently suffering from the effects of substance abuse. The perfect candidate for this program has a desire to assist individuals in recovery through identifying behaviors and problems relating to their addictions and then providing support for behavioral change and maintenance of sobriety. You can be located in California, or in any of the states our program is approved in. Explore your states substance use counselor requirements to see if our program will work for you or contact our Admissions Counselors and they can answer any questions you may have.

The field of alcohol and drug treatment is growing and evolving at an accelerated rate. With the more widely accepted disease model of addiction, the demand for addiction treatment along with substance abuse counselors has inflated therefore serious applicants generally have no issue finding a suitable job.

Even at entry level drug and alcohol counseling positions, substance abuse professionals are estimated to start out earning greater than $42,000/year. Sober College School of Addiction Studies will provide you with the techniques to work with individuals, groups, and families in both theory, and through practical application.

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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 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.

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