Addiction Studies Salary Information
Nationally, the top 10 percent of substance abuse counselors earned an annual salary of $78,700 in 2020, while those in the bottom 10 percent earned $30,590, according to the BLS. Business, professional, labor, political and related organizations paid the highest mean annual salary to substance abuse counselors in 2020, with a wage of $70,940. The BLS salary statistics show that in 2020, substance abuse counselors in Nevada earned the highest mean annual wage of $68,560 among all states.
Job Outlook For Addiction Counselors
The job outlook for addiction counselors is outstanding. There will be 22% job growth in the field through 2028, according to BLS. Employment growth will occur as more people want addiction and mental health treatments.
Also, the demand for addiction counselors should rise because states are trying to get more treatment and counseling for drug offenders instead of years in jail.
The criminal justice system has seen that substance abuse addictions are not as likely to re-offend if they get treatment for their addictions. Many drug sentences require the offender to get therapy and counseling for their problem. If they do not, they can be sent back to jail. Research has shown that addiction treatment programs can be more cost-effective than putting people in jail. States may use substance abuse treatment programs as a way to prevent people from re-offending.
Rehabilitation counselors will see 10% job growth through 2028, which is faster than average. Demand for these counseling professionals will grow with the growing elderly population, and with the additional rehabilitation needs of many groups, such as war veterans and people with various disabilities.
What Are The Education Requirements For Addiction Counseling
Depending on what setting an addiction counselor wishes to work in, they will have to obtain specific licensure. Some states require bachelor’s or master’s 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.
Some 2-year colleges offer associate degrees in addiction counseling. However, they are offered less commonly than bachelor’s and master’s 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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Sample Courses For An Ms In Addiction Counseling
To earn a masters degree in addiction counseling, youll need to take classes in the science of addiction and the art of counseling. Some classes may include practical components in which youll get to try out your skills in real-life settings.
You may take classes like:
- Addiction and Mental Health Disorders: Substance abuse disorders often co-occur with other mental health conditions. In this class, you can learn about providing integrated treatment that addresses multiple disorders.
- Addiction Treatment Theories: This course covers various approaches to treating substance abuse disorders and can give you a framework for how to apply certain theories best.
- Counseling Approaches for Substance Abuse Treatment: You may discuss group sessions, family therapy, inpatient care, and pharmacology in this class.
- Human Lifespan Development: This course is valuable for gaining an understanding of normal development and complications that sometimes arise.
- Tests and Assessments for Addiction Counseling: You can learn to use screening tools to help you identify substance abuse disorders and related conditions.
- Youth Addiction: In this class, not only can you learn about counseling young people with addictions, but you can also discuss prevention methods and discuss family support.
Your program may also include a practicum class in which you can gain professional experience and may be able to earn clinical hours.
Career Information For Substance Abuse Counselors
Substance abuse counselors may treat patients in a group setting or in private sessions. Counselors develop treatment plans to help patients overcome substance abuse and addiction disorders. Treatment includes helping patients develop the skills needed for recovery. Substance abuse counselors also work with the families of patients to help them understand addictive behavior. The BLS predicts employment for substance abuse counselors will increase by 23 percent between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than the 8 percent rate of growth expected for all occupations combined.
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What Is The Earning Potential For Counselors In Private Practice
If youre interested in opening your own practice, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Private practice gives you the freedom to choose who you work with and how often. Private practice can also be lucrative if its done properly. However, there are some costs to consider before opening your own practice:
Costs to Consider
Licensing Fees: Before you open your practice, youll need to research the laws in your state. There are specific laws for owning your business. Youll likely have to obtain a business license from the city you live in and renew it annually.Client Base: Youll also need to generate business in order to be profitable. The more clients you have, the more money youll likely make. In order to generate business, youll need to put forth money towards marketing effortsOverhead: Some of the expenses needed to operate a private practice include: office space the cost of utilities and furnishings, office supplies, additional staff, if necessary, and the price of medical, dental, and liability insurance.
The risks associated with private practice are not for everyone. Thats why its important to know the facts. It may be helpful to talk to a fellow clinician in private practice to learn more about the pros and cons. Fluctuating income can be challenging for counselors who have other expenses. However, if youre willing to put in the work and have the resources to do so, private practice can be incredibly rewarding.
How Much Can I Earn With An Addiction Counseling Degree
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average substance abuse counseling salary is $46,240 per year. In 2019, there were a total of 319,400 jobs in the substance abuse, behavior disorder, and mental health counselor category. The job outlook for this role is expected to grow by 25% between 2019 to 2029, adding a total of 79,000 jobs. Its worth noting that the job outlook was generated long before the COVID-19 pandemic and the potential effects of an extended lockdown on the mental health of the population werent foreseen. Lockdowns and movement restrictions have caused a spike in substance abuse patterns among individuals who may have not otherwise entered into substance use and abuse. The potential exists for more employment opportunities as a substance abuse counselor and a corresponding increase in the average addictions counseling salary.
Other factors that play into the average substance abuse counseling salary include geographical location, experience, and the average income of the population. The denser and wealthier a population, the higher the addictions counseling salary. However, rural and poor areas of the country experience a higher rate of addicted individuals which can affect the average substance abuse counseling salary. The individual substance abuse counselor should decide where they want to live and work in order to earn a satisfactory substance abuse counseling salary and enter into a career path that makes the most sense for them.
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How To Become A Substance Abuse Counselor
While many mental health providers must meet specific education, certification, and state licensure requirements to practice, substance abuse counselors can become certified or licensed to practice by meeting any number of requirements depending on the specific role they will fill and the license required for that role.
Consider What You Want to Achieve
Associates degreebachelors degreemasters degreeor a basic course of training beyond a high school diploma? Which is right for you?
Because most states have credentialing options for substance abuse counselors at a number of levels, you may be at a loss regarding which type of degree you should pursue.
A smart first step is to visit your states licensing board website to learn about how the certification/licensure process works and what type of education and experience is required for all levels. Some states have a dedicated substance abuse/addiction counseling board, while other states certify and license substance abuse counselors through the board of health or department of human services.
Then, youll want to explore the profession in your area. Check out recent job postings and talk to addiction counselors where you live. What type of education do they have? What credentials are employers looking for? What credentials do you need to run your own practice or supervise/manage a practice? Can you increase your earning potential and/or employment prospects by earning a higher degree?
Professional Organizations In Addiction Counseling
While youre earning your masters degree, you can join a professional organization for addiction counselors.
Membership in a group can give you access to networking opportunities with others in the field.
- American Counseling Association: ACA is dedicated to professional development and advocacy for all types of counselors, including substance abuse counselors.
- American Mental Health Counselors Association: If you are interested in dual diagnoses, consider joining AMHCA, which offers networking, standards of ethics, and continuing education for professionals in the mental health field.
- American Psychological Association: APA represents psychology researchers, practitioners, students, and more. One of the organizations divisions is the Society of Addiction Psychology.
- American Society of Addiction Medicine: Membership in ASAM can help you network with doctors and other medical practitioners who treat people with substance abuse disorders.
- Association for Addiction Professionals: Any professionals who work with people who have addictions are invited to join NAADAC this includes people from the counseling and medical professions.
- International Association of Addictions and Offender Counselors: As a division of ACA, IAAOC focuses on professionals who work with people in the criminal justice system and those with substance abuse disorders.
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Q What Are The Most Rewarding And Challenging Aspects Of Working As An Addiction Counselor
The most rewarding aspects of working as an addiction counselor are the breakthroughs that clients share with you about how the process and information you are disseminating is helping them in their lives. We get to watch the proverbial light come on in people and it’s an amazing experience.
The most challenging aspect is the loss, frustration, and absorption of other people’s pain that is simply part of working with the population. We want everyone to do well and that’s just not always possible. Additionally, the consequences of not doing well have a high probability of grave outcomes.
Examine The Origins Of Addiction And Treatment During The Masters In Addiction Counseling Program
Students may take courses online or at approved campus locations for evening classes. All classes are taught by fully qualified instructors who guide students through a curriculum designed to provide foundational knowledge and skills in the counseling field. GCU seeks to graduate students who are skilled communicators and effective servant leaders, capable of thinking critically about ethical issues and dilemmas.
In courses such as Introduction to Addictions and Substance Use, Co-Occurring Disorders and Social and Cultural Diversity Issues in Counseling, students will examine the following topic areas:
- The stages, processes and effects of substance use, as well as the professionals role in prevention, intervention and aftercare
- Screening, assessing and treating individuals with co-occurring disorders, and associated strategies for risk management
- Theories of multicultural counseling, multicultural competencies and strategies for working with diverse populations, including immigrants and refugees
- Major counseling theories and principles, including existential psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral, reality therapy/choice therapy and rational emotive behavioral therapy
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Substance Abuse Counselor Salary
The median certified substance abuse counselor salary is around $47,660 as of 2020, according to the BLS. The highest 10% earned more than $78,700.
The BLS also reports that those who work in community and social service counselor occupations earned more on average around $50,500 a year.
Because counselors are a less-expensive alternative to psychiatrists and psychologists, managed care insurers increasingly prefer to hire and reimburse counselors who hold masters degrees as opposed to psychologists with doctorate degrees.
Government agencies generally pay the highest wages, followed by hospitals and social service agencies. Residential care facilities often pay the lowest wages. Many drug and alcohol counselors start out as interns in residential care and move up as they complete their intern hours and earn their licensing credentials.
What Is A Substance Abuse Counselor
A substance abuse counselor is a mental health professional who helps patients struggling with addictions. The main responsibility is to work with individuals and their families to treat both mental and emotional disorders, as well as to promote overall mental health.
Sometimes called therapists, mental health counselors train in a variety of therapeutic techniques. They treat emotional conditions, such as depression, addiction and substance abuse, suicidal impulses, stress and overall problems with self-esteem and grief.
Also known as drug and alcohol counselors, these professionals work individually with patients and in group counseling sessions, depending on the kind of treatment needed. The goal is to help clients pinpoint situations and behaviors that lead to relapse or block the road to recovery. Drug counselors can also help clients find jobs or refer them to other resources, services, and support groups.In some cases, an addiction counselor may also conduct programs or informational sessions that teach not only their clients, but also family and friends of patients about addiction, behavioral disorders, coping strategies, signs of addiction, and how to avoid destructive behavior.
Job descriptions may vary but skills such as active listening, social perceptiveness, critical thinking, and deductive reasoning are all paramount to success and safety as a counselor. Specific work responsibilities can include:
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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.
How Much Can You Earn In This Field
The current median salary for addiction counselors is $41,070, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The salary range for counselors in this field is between $30,000 to $65,080. There are some career options, such as private practice, that offer a substantial salary that can top $100,000 these careers are often attainable after having a decade of work experience in the field.
Prospective students with a bachelors degree should consider financial aid options for their online masters programs. Your continuing education should not put you in debt. A masters degree in addiction can lead to high-paying careers.
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How Much Does An Addiction Counseling Degree Cost
The cost of addiction counseling degrees varies depending on several factors, including the degree type and location. For example, associate degrees typically cost less than bachelors degrees. Students can also save money by attending public institutions.
Tuition and fees at a public 4-year institution cost an average $9,400 in 2019-20 according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Meanwhile, tuition and fees at a private 4-year institution cost an average $36,700. These costs do not factor in room, board, and other fees such as books and transit.
For masters degrees, tuition and fees averaged $12,410 at public institutions and $28,430 at nonprofit private institutions in 2019-20. Most students complete a masters degree in two years.
Students can also save money by pursuing online programs. Some schools charge less tuition for online programs. Additionally, students can save money by avoiding the costs of relocating and commuting. Many institutions offer asynchronous programs, meaning students can complete their coursework on their own time. This can help students continue to work during school and avoid missed wages.
Want To Make A Difference
If youre serious about earning your masters in addiction counseling, here are some next steps to take:
Once you enroll, youll be on your way to gaining the skills necessary to help people manage their addictions and maintain healthier lifestyles, and thats something you can feel very good about.
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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.