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Master’s Degree In Addiction Counseling Salary

Where Do You Practice Substance Abuse Counseling

Mental Health Counseling Master’s Degree [Is It Worth It? Career Outcomes & Yearly Income]

Where you work as a substance abuse counselor can also have a significant impact on your counseling salary. While there is a relatively high demand for counselors throughout the United States, some areas need more counselors than others, depending on factors such as population, crime, community resources, and available funding. If you intend to open your own practice, where you work also affects requirements for licensing and certification, continuing education and insurance. Learn more about licensure and certification for addiction counseling.

Does Becoming Certified Boost Your Counselor Salary

Beyond state licensing is the option to pursue voluntary nationally-recognized professional certification. Certification is a process that is similar in some ways to licensing, but often more rigorous. Instead of being offered directly by states, certification is governed by professional bodies made up of counselors themselves. Their standards are often the basis for state license requirements, but earning a certification is always a sign that you are meeting the level of competency that your peers expect.

Some states accept certification in lieu of licensure, recognizing national certification as meeting equivalent requirements for addiction counselors.

Under any circumstances, professional certification is a great way to boost your potential counselor salary level. As a mark of extra expertise in the field, both employers and clients will recognize that you are bringing more value to the table than counselors without it.

The big player in national counseling certification is NBCC, the National Board for Certified Counselors. The National Certified Counselor is the most basic and popular certification they offer. It verifies that you have earned a graduate degree in the field from an accredited university, passed a rigorous national exam, and have verified work experience in the field. And you can be sure that with all that knowledge and experience to back you up, youll be eligible for some of the best counselor salaries available.

The University Of Louisiana At Monroe

Monroe, Louisiana

Tuition: $6,490

The University of Louisiana at Monroe is home to an accelerated online Masters in Addiction Counseling degree that was designed for professionals who are interested in earning the right to sit for professional counselor licensure. This program is accredited through the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. Students will find that this is an online degree that is available 100 percent through the schools learning management system courses are available asynchronously or synchronously and run in 16-week sessions. Students can expect to complete this masters degree in three years or less when they choose to study full-time. More information on this program and its graduation requirements can be found by contacting the schools graduate admissions office. These programs can help those with co occurring disorders as well as many more.

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Areas Of Specialization For Substance Abuse Counseling Graduate Students

Some masters in addiction counseling programs may allow students to select a formal concentration to further tailor their studies. This may center on a certain type of patient or type of therapy, or a unique professional role. Substance abuse counselors may specialize in a variety of areas:

  • Individual or group counseling
  • Substance abuse of drugs, alcohol, or food
  • Medical or psychosocial diagnoses, analyses, and treatment
  • Substance abuse research
  • Specific populations
  • Crises or non-crises intervention

These and many other areas of specialization may be options for students seeking to pursue careers as substance abuse counseling professionals.

What Other Factors Affect Earning Potential

What Jobs Require a Psychology Degree?

Earning potential is determined by a variety of factors, and its important to know may affect your salary. These factors typically include:

  • Years of experience
  • Type of practice
  • Larger employers may offer more competitive salaries for counselors than smaller, non-profit social organizations. Counselors in private practice can earn significantly more depending on number of patients and hourly rate. However, private practices may have insurance fees that can be high, depending on where you live and the population you serve. Weve broken down the most common factors affecting your earning potential:


    Where you work as a counselor can have a big impact on how much you earn. Different parts of the country need more counselors than others, based on population, crime statistics, funding, community resources, and other factors. Location also plays an important part in licensing, continuing education, and insurance requirements, should you open your own practice.

    When considering location, dont forget to factor in the cost of living. The cost of living in larger cities, such as New York or Chicago, is much higher than it is in smaller cities or towns. If you considering opening your own practice in a city with a higher cost of living, make sure you have the resources to do so.

    • Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA NECTA Division

    Years of Experience

    Type of Practice

    • Human resource departments
    • Private practice

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    Career And School Counselor Salary

    Career counselors or coaches help students and working professionals explore occupations and make plans to further their education or career. Similarly, school counselors foster student success by assessing their academic performance and identifying areas for improvement. In both roles, counselors may address underlying issues affecting a clients career or academic life, such as social skills, anxiety, time management, or lack of focus.

    School counselors practice at all levels of education, ranging from elementary to postgraduate students. Career counselors work with adults and are usually employed in colleges, organizations, or private coaching firms.

    The median salary for career and school counselors is $58,120 per year, according to the BLS, and employment in the field is expected to grow 11 percent from 2020 to 2030.

    How Does Area Of Specialization Affect Salary

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics provides up-to-date salary data for many professions, including counselors. The BLS reports its findings on the most common types of counselors, such as substance abuse counselors, school and career counselors, behavioral health counselors, and mental health counselors.

    Youll likely find in your research that counselors and therapists are terms often used interchangeably. This may lead to question whether therapists and counselors earn similar pay. Counselors and therapists are BOTH trained clinicians that provide a variety of support services for various challenges.

    Your credentials, however, are determined by the graduate counseling program. These credentials include Licensed Clinical Social Worker , Licensed Professional Counselors , Licensed Mental Health Counselors , Licensed Marital and Family Therapist , and Licensed clinical professional counsellor . There are also many organizations that provide guidance for standards of professional practice. These include The National Certified Counselor , The National Association of Social Workers , The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy , The American Mental Health Counselors Association , and The American Psychological Association .

    Below youll find salary statistics for the most common types of counselors and/or therapists, including information on salary outlook and other important data.

    Education, Vocational, And School Counselors

    Mental Health Counselors

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    How Much Tax Will You Have To Pay As An Addiction Counselor

    For an individual filer in this tax bracket, you would have an estimated average federal tax in 2018 of 22%. After a federal tax rate of 22% has been taken out, Addiction Counselors could expect to have a take-home pay of $55,162/year, with each paycheck equaling approximately $2,298*.

    * assuming bi-monthly pay period. Taxes estimated using tax rates for a single filer using 2018 federal and state tax tables. Metro-specific taxes are not considered in calculations. This data is intended to be an estimate, not prescriptive financial or tax advice.

    What Are The Education Requirements For Addiction Counseling

    The SAD Truth About Mental Health Counselors Salary+Post Grad Truths|Social Work Degree+MSW+LPC+PSYD

    Depending on what setting an addiction counselor wishes to work in, they will have to obtain specific licensure. Some states require bachelors or masters degrees in addiction counseling, psychology, or social work for addiction counselors.

    The information below covers each type of addiction counseling degree, and career paths available for graduates of each type of program.

  • 1


    Some 2-year colleges offer associate degrees in addiction counseling. However, they are offered less commonly than bachelors and masters degrees in addiction counseling. Some programs may offer associate degrees in related fields, such as psychology, social work, or counseling.

    Some states allow students with only an associate degree to take an exam that qualifies them to work in public settings. They may also work as community health workers.

    Most full-time students can complete an associate degree in two years or less. Programs typically require a high school diploma or GED for admittance.

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    The University Of Oklahoma

    Online Master of Prevention Science

    Tuition: $6,583

    The University of Oklahoma is home to an accelerated online Masters in Addiction Counseling degree program that was designed to prepare students to become addiction specialists in the counseling field in two years or less. This 100 percent online program will prepare students to sit for the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortiums Certified Prevention Specialist credential. All courses for this online masters degree are available online through the schools learning management system and are delivered in asynchronous or synchronous sessions offered in 16-week terms. Students will find that this masters degree does not require an internship for graduation it also does not meet the educational requirements to earn professional counseling licensure in any state. Students will be required to complete a minimum of 33 credit hours of coursework, such as a graduate level course in multicultural counseling, a research project, and a comprehensive written exit exam. Sample courses include Prevention Across the Lifespan, Foundations in Prevention Science, and Research Methods in Interdisciplinary Studies.

    This ranking was updated in July 2020.

    Should I Get A Mac Counseling Degree

    A master’s degree in addiction counseling can lead to a rewarding career in a growing industry. Graduates can pursue addiction or mental health counseling positions, licensure, or a doctoral degree. Counseling professionals enjoy the personal rewards of helping individuals, families, and entire communities while also benefiting from strong salaries and growth potential.

    The BLS projects 25% job growth in the field between 2019 and 2029, more than six times faster than the projected growth rate for all occupations. Graduates with a master’s degree in addiction counseling and licensure can access some of the most desirable and lucrative positions in the field.

    Counseling professionals enjoy the personal rewards of helping individuals, families, and entire communities while also benefiting from strong salaries and growth potential.

    Earning a master’s degree in addiction counseling can prove challenging, as these programs typically require two years of study, extensive research, and significant clinical components. Professionals who wish to earn licensure must complete substantial postgraduate clinical requirements, which often include 3,000-5,000 supervised hours.

    Once eligible, candidates must pass an examination to earn licensure. They then need to maintain their license by completing a certain number of continuing education credits every 2-3 years.

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    Find A Masters In Counseling Degree Today

    Search 225+ schools that offer Masters in Counseling programs.

    About Masters In Counseling & Dr. Barbara LoFrisco

    Our blog is authored by Dr. Barbara LoFrisco, a Tampa, FL-based licensed mental health counselor, licensed marriage and family therapist, and certified sex therapist.

    Our Podcast & Megan Hawksworth

    The Mastering Counseling Podcast, hosted by Megan Hawksworth, a licensed marriage and family therapist, features in-depth interviews with leading counselors and therapists, about their practices, treating clients, and more.

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    Are You Ready To Discover Your College Program

    Addiction Counseling Degree Guide  What Can I Do with a Degree in ...

    Substance abuse and addiction counselors can save lives and impact the drug epidemic that has only worsened since the COVID-19 pandemic began. A reported 99,543 people died of drug overdoses in the 12-month period ending in September 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared to 67,727 deaths reported at the end of March 2019.

    Demand will only increase for qualified and passionate workers in substance abuse and addiction counseling in the next 10 years. This guide explains how to become an addiction counselor, what they do, the degree and certifications needed, and potential salaries.

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    What Kind Of Institutions Hire Substance Abuse Counselors

    A relatively long list of institutions hire substance abuse counselors with most looking for full-time employees. Substance abuse counselors may find they have to work nights or weekends to accommodate clients schedules. They should also be flexible in case a client is in crisis day or night.

    Facilities include:

    • Drug and alcohol treatment centers

    Bachelors Programs In Addiction Counseling

    A substance abuse counselor works in an advocacy and mentoring capacity because they are not authorized to prescribe medicine or professional psychological therapy. On-campus and online substance abuse counseling degree programs prepare addiction counseling graduates to help clients see their emotional connections that may contribute to the clients drug/alcohol dependency.

    Earning an on-campus or online substance abuse counselor degree is the perfect springboard for a variety of employment options. Those who earn online addiction counseling degrees will find gainful employment in many industries and in

    • Mental Health Clinics
    • State/Local Government Agencies
    • Residential Care Centers

    Many graduates with a substance abuse counselor online degree find employment across the many facets of the criminal justice system. Many substance abuse counselor degree online program graduates work to help those drug offenders within the criminal justice system as states have begun to realize that addiction counselors are most a cost-effective and more efficient alternative to incarceration.

    • Helping clients build a support network to use during their recovery.
    • Helping clients develop a workable life plan.
    • Working with a clients family to heal the results of the trauma created by the addiction.

    Substance abuse counseling degrees online also prepare graduates to work as educators, leading workshops in communities, employee assistance programs, or drug awareness outreach programs.

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    Counseling Specialities: Substance Abuse And Addiction Counseling

    Learn about our editorial process. 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.

    What Type Of Counselors Get Paid The Most

    Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling

    To determine what type of counselor gets paid the most, you have to go past the average salary levels for each group and instead look at the top end of those professions. The results are a bit different for who gets the highest paycheck in the top ten percent of each group:

    • Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors more than $78,700
    • Rehabilitation counselors more than $66,180
    • School and career counselors and advisors more than $97,910

    You can expect the most experienced and best-educated people in each category to hit those high salary levels.

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    What Will I Learn In An Addiction Counseling Master’s Program

    Master’s programs in addiction counseling can feature very different curricula. Many schools offer foundational coursework in addiction and the various causes that can lead to addiction, such as mental health disorders and societal influences. Possible courses may include counseling law and ethics, trauma and families, and approaches to substance abuse disorders.

    Students can gain skills in assessment and treatment planning, motivational enhancement, and diagnosis. They also learn how to adjust their treatments and approaches to the situation, adapting to diverse cultures, dependencies, mental health disorders, and settings, including individual, group, and family counseling.

    Prospective students may get to choose between MA and MS programs in addiction counseling. While these two degree types can offer similar coursework, some MA programs feature more interdisciplinary approaches, whereas MS programs tend to focus more on technical skills and clinical practice.

    Substance Use Disorders And Mental Health Counselors

    Mental health issues often contribute to substance use, and vice versa. The National Institute of Mental Health reported that about 50 percent of people with substance use disorders also cope with a co-occurring mental disorder.

    Substance addiction counselors and mental health counselors must be equipped to manage these overlapping needs, helping patients to work through emotional crises in healthy ways while reducing dependency on harmful substances.

    The median salary for an addictions counselor is $43,789, with the upper 10 percent earning more than $78,700, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Massachusetts, addiction counselors can expect to earn pay of approximately $60,220, and more in urban areas like Boston. Demand is high for jobs in addiction counseling, due in part to a growing movement to manage substance abuse conflicts through therapy, rather than incarceration. BLS projects a 23 percent increase in job growth between 2020 and 2030.

    Register now for an online information session.

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    Salaries For Substance Abuse Counselors

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics , substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earned the following salaries at the 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles, as of May 2018:

    Salary and employment data compiled by the United States Department of Labors Bureau of Labor Statistics in May of 2018 . BLS salary data represents state and MSA average and median earnings for the occupations listed and includes workers at all levels of education and experience. This data does not represent starting salaries. Employment conditions in your area may vary.

    Individual job listings with educational requirements and salary information accessed directly from internet job boards and directly from the sites of employing agencies and do not constitute offers of employment.

    All salary and job growth data accessed in October 2019.

    Do Schools Offer Online Programs With A Counseling Specialty


    Yes. Schools offer fully online undergraduate and graduate degrees with a counseling speciality. Programs incorporate counseling, social work, and psychology into coursework.

    The curriculum focuses on diagnostics processes, clinical assessments, and how to facilitate groups. Students take online courses, but they must complete clinical experiences in person.

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