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How To Become An Addictions Counsellor

What Certifications Are Available

Understanding Addiction Counselor Certification

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.

Research Your States Requirements

Every state has its own requirements for substance abuse counselors. Some states only require a high school diploma and a certificate for an entry-level counseling license. Other states may require a bachelorâs degree or more. Furthermore, there are often requirements for budding counselors to complete a period of supervised training.

It’s vital that counselors explore the licensure requirements in their state. Since some states have multiple levels for their counselors, it’s important to investigate the parameters for each. Some may wish to enter the field with a lower licensure level before they commit to graduate school or more.

For those who are curious about entering the field, most substance abuse programs will be able to provide guidance. Prospective students should ask what the program does to help its graduates qualify for licensure, including any special examination preparation.

What Careers Are Similar To Addiction Counseling

There are several types of careers, which are similar to addiction counseling including the following:

Mental Health Counselor: A mental health counselor helps patients cope with various types of emotional issues. For example, mental health counselors may help individuals process a significant life event, such as a divorce or death or a loved one. Similar to addiction counselors, they also work with people who have substance abuse issues. A minimum of a masters degree in counseling is required to work as a mental health counselor. States vary on licensing and certification requirements.

Rehabilitation Counselor:Rehabilitation counselors are trained to help people deal with various types of physical, emotional and social conditions and disabilities, which interfere with employment. Although they may work with people with substance abuse problems, they also work with other patient populations. Rehab counselors often help clients develop vocational plans, which include implementing strategies to overcome obstacles, which may interfere with their goals. In most instances, employers require a minimum of a masters degree in rehabilitation counseling.

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Obtain An Associates Or Bachelors Degree

While a degree is not required in every state for a career as a substance abuse counselor, it can help aspiring professionals obtain more advanced certification or licensure and with job advancement. The most commonly earned degree for this field is addiction counseling, although degrees such as psychology, counseling, chemical dependency counseling, and other behavioral sciences can suffice. Some states require specific coursework, so students should check with their local board to learn the requirements.

Students should ensure the program they attend is accredited, as most states wont accept degrees from unaccredited institutions. The program should be regionally accredited by an agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or the US Department of Education . Completing a program accredited by an entity such as the National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission is required in some states.

Substance Abuse Counselor Certification Requirements

Becoming an Addictions Counselor / Edition 4 by Peter L. Myers, Norman ...

Most states require 415 academic hours of substance abuse counseling to qualify for work in the field, as well as a specific number of practicum hours. Each state has different requirements, so its important to find out how many hours you need based on the location where you plan to work. Along with academics and experience, most states also require that you pass an exam.

Some states require completion of 2,000 to 6,000 internship hours before taking an exam, but requirements vary depending on your current academic level. When you are under the supervision of a licensed therapist, you are working and making money as an alcohol and drug counseling intern and each state has different requirements for when you can take their exam sometimes, you need to complete internship hours before you finish your academics, other times you can complete the practicum hours after the academics.

National Universitys undergraduate certificate in alcohol and drug abuse counseling prepares you for entry-level employment and is a stepping stone to pursuing advanced degrees in psychology or other fields or a career as a therapist in the mental health community.

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Doctorate Degree In Addiction Counseling

Some substance abuse professionals choose to earn a doctoral degree. Typically, a masters degree is the minimum educational requirement for taking clinical licensure exams, but you could also qualify with a doctorate.

In fact, to become a professionalpsychologist, you must earn a doctoral degree. In settings like hospitals, medical clinics, rehabilitation centers, and private practices, psychologists can provide drug counseling services for people who have addictions.

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Having a doctorate can also open the door for other opportunities in this field. You might become a researcher who studies addiction science and treatment methods, or you might teach students who want to become substance abuse counselors.

Your doctorate may also make you an outstanding candidate for leadership positions in treatment facilities and non-profit organizations.

Do I Need A Masters In Order To Earn A Phd In Counseling

The degree required for admission to a PhD program varies. Some programs only admit those who already have a masters in a counseling-related discipline or equivalent formal substance abuse counselor training these programs tend to focus more heavily on research and theory. Other programs will consider applicants who have a bachelors degree these programs will likely include a deeper focus on counseling practice and may qualify the graduate for first-time counseling licensure.

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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.

Academics: The First Step

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

Once you have decided that work as a substance abuse addictions counselor is for you, you will need to begin a course of formal study. While your state will have specific requirements, most states follow a predictable pattern in their education requirements. Please consult with your academic advisers and with your state’s professional regulatory boards to ensure that your work will help support your goals.

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What Do You Learn In An Addiction Counseling Degree

There are both traditional education programs along with online programs that are accredited by the state you wish to work in. But it is important to research the program you wish to take will meet the job or state requirements before enrollment.

In any program the bulk of an Addiction Counseling major would include program required classes in psychology, addiction, and counseling. Courses can vary from program to program, but may include:

  • General Psychology
  • Family Issues and Addictive Disorders
  • Special Populations

In addition there can be additional classes that are not specific to a councilor but are required and can be helpful understanding the human body. Classes in these areas may include:

  • Anatomy and Physiology

If a formal degree is needed, an associates degree and higher, there can also be other areas of required classes that are common to all students in the school. It may look as if these classes would not be used in the profession, aspects will be used in the work environment and it helps the student become a well-rounded individual. There can be additional required courses in:

  • Other Humanities and The Arts
  • Health and Wellness

Complete Educational And Work Experience Requirements

In order to become an addiction counselor, it’s vital to start with an education. Every state structures its licensure process differently. Some offer multiple license types, each of which has their own educational requirements. Furthermore, there are some programs that are dedicated only to substance abuse counseling while there are others that have a broader scope.

Most substance abuse counseling degrees prepare graduates to work in drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. However, depending on the degree, and subsequent licensure, counselors may be limited in the scope of their practice. For instance, most counselors with only an associate or bachelorâs degree will likely not be able to provide one-on-on counseling. Furthermore, they are unlikely to be able to operate a private practice.

To work in private practice, most states require that counselors have a minimum of a masterâs degree in psychological counseling. Itâs also possible to work as a counselor with a Master of Social Work. MSW holders are quite common in the field and they are found working with addicts in both the private and public sectors. All aspiring counselors must pass an exam and work for a period of time under direct supervision from a licensed counselor.

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Licensed Professional Counselor Licensing Process

To become a professional counselor in Texas, you must complete either a counseling-related masters degree or PhD. The degree must comprise at least 60 credit hours of study and cover a specific range of topics, including normal and abnormal human behavior, assessment, and counseling theory. You must also complete at least 300 hours of supervised practicum with individuals or families. The Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council oversees the licensure process. In Texas, licensed professional counselors are trained to assess individuals, develop treatment plans, provide counseling, and consult or make referrals on a variety of mental health and therapeutic issues. For more about a career in professional counseling, read our mental health counselor career guide. In Texas, to become an LPC, you should complete the following steps.

1. Pass the required exams.

You must pass both the NCMHCE and the Texas Jurisprudence Exam before applying for licensure. The NCMHCE is a multiple-choice test designed to assess counseling skills and knowledge. Free study resources are available online through the National Board for Certified Counselors. The Texas Jurisprudence Exam tests your knowledge of ethical and legal issues related to counseling. In Texas, you are allowed to attempt the Texas Jurisprudence Exam up to three times at which point further coursework may be required by the Board.

2. Register as a Temporary Licensed Professional Counselor .

3. Accrue supervised experience.

What Does An Addiction Counselor Do

Introduction to Christian Addiction Counseling ...

Here are some of the ways that an addiction counselor may support their patients:

  • Discuss drug and alcohol use history with patients

  • Evaluate the extent of the addiction

  • Determine root causes for substance abuse

  • Help patients share and process feelings

  • Highlight negative behaviors or reactions

  • Teach healthy coping skills

  • Maintain aftercare processes after a patient recovers from addiction


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What Is A Certified Addiction Counselor

Well, generally-speaking, a certified addiction counselor is a mental health professional that provides counseling services, and support to recovering alcoholics and addicts . The primary goals of a certified addiction counselor is to help addicts work through their issues so they can attain and maintain a drug-free existence.

Certified addiction counselors work in a: group home, hospital, treatment facility, clinic, private doctors office, prison, and half-way house. They may work with clients individually, and in group settings. It is important to note that some substance abuse and addiction treatment facilities hire former addicts, who have maintained sobriety for a certain amount of time, to counsel active addicts through the withdrawal and treatment process.

These addiction counselors are not really counselors because they have not received formal training or experience in the counseling field, however, they are considered addiction coaches and addiction mentors, that provide a safe, place for addicts to work out their problems, and talk with someone, who has experienced the throes of addiction.

Both certified addiction counselors and addiction coaches/mentors can make a tremendous difference in the life of someone, who is suffering from an addiction. To become a certified addiction counselor, you will need to earn a bachelor degree and a masters degree in addiction counseling or a related field, and obtain a license and/or certified in the field.

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.

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Discover Your Program In Minutes

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse costs Americans $740 billion each year due to crime, healthcare, and decreased productivity. This issue also costs human lives. Society needs qualified substance abuse counselors to help individuals cope with addiction.

Becoming a qualified substance abuse counselor with a doctorate takes up to a decade of higher education and requires sincere commitment. Compassionate individuals who enjoy problem-solving and active listening typically thrive in this role. Keep reading to learn how to become a substance abuse counselor.

What Do Drug And Alcohol Counselors Do

Counseling: Becoming a Professional Counselor

Drug and alcohol counselors have education and training related specifically to counseling those who are suffering from addiction and are working to maintain their recovery. They often work in rehabs, halfway houses, hospitals, prisons, clinics, health departments or other community agency settings.

The counselor has to document every interaction they have with clients including phone calls or emails.

Daily job duties include meeting with client to provide counseling services, along with case management. Many agencies use an electronic medical record system to assist with case management. The counselor has to document every interaction they have with clients including phone calls or emails. They also communicate with members of the treatment team, typically being doctors, social service workers and probation officers. These interactions are also documented.

Drug and alcohol counselors may meet with client family members to provide education about addiction and treatment. They may run groups such as recovery support groups or job skills groups. They may also work as an intake coordinator. The intake process involves the steps for someone to begin treatment. The intake coordinator interviews clients to get their history and help determine what level of care best meets their needs.

As a counselor you provide an important perspective as someone who is trusted and knowledgeable about your client, yet also outside of the dynamics common in a personal relationship.

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Graduate From High School Or Obtain A Ged

All substance abuse counselor certificates and licenses require applicants to graduate high school . Students who want to pursue this career can start their education while still in high school by focusing on classes such as psychology, social sciences, biology, English, and math. Work experience can be gained by volunteering in the substance abuse counseling field.

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:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline

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Become An Addiction Counselor

Substance abuse and addiction counselors treat individuals with drug and alcohol addictions, gambling and eating disorders. This career field is one of the most challenging mental health fields and requires a person with compassion, understanding and empathy.

They also have to be strong, self-confident and honest individuals able to deal with confrontation, stress, setbacks and incremental success. With the courts more willing to make drug or alcohol rehabilitation as part of sentencing for crimes involving substance abuse and addiction, the field is growing with opportunities in many areas.

What Jobs Can You Get With A Degree In Substance Abuse Counseling

Opioid Addiction Counseling Services

Since the licensing requirements for substance abuse counselors vary from state to state, we suggest checking your states requirements as you evaluate substance abuse counselor programs. You may also find it helpful to check current job listings in your area to get an idea of common requirements. Note that while a certificate can qualify you for a license in some states, this varies widely by state and program. To help you begin to research, we have provided the following overview of common jobs for each drug counselor degree level.

Associates-trained substance abuse specialists are typically eligible for a variety of technician and assistant positions in the counseling realm. With an associates degree in substance abuse counseling plus completion of a practicum or internship and passing scores on an exam that meets your states requirements, you may be able to apply for a licensed technician or licensed substance abuse counselor credential. This may allow you to practice direct substance abuse treatment and counseling services under supervision or with a recognized treatment provider.

Earning a masters in substance abuse counseling will typically qualify you for licensure as a substance abuse counselor. At this level, a masters degree and a license are often prerequisites for the positions available. Most jobs will focus on the clinical treatment of addiction disorders, though it is possible to find research positions with a masters degree.

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