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What Degree Do You Need To Be An Addiction Counselor

What Are The Specializations For Addiction Counseling

Addiction Counselor: Everything You Need To Know

A substance abuse counselor is basically a mental health professional who has been trained to assist those struggling with addiction. Their primary goal is to guide these individuals and their loved ones who are also impacted down a path to recovery and then help them establish a better lifestyle that is healthy and drug-free. To do this a counselor may use the following special tools and techniques:

  • Therapy sessions
  • Clearly state the action plans that will lead to full recovery if followed

Substance Abuse Counselor Salary

Nationwide, the salaries for substance abuse counselors typically falls within the range of $46,240 and $76,080.

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019. National 50th 90th percentile range for Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder and Mental Health Counselors.Salaries based on national data not school specific information. Conditions in your area may vary. Data accessed March 2021.

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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How To Become A Substance Abuse Counselor

In towns and cities across the United States, there is a growing and critical need for drug and alcohol abuse counselors. Sadly, its hard to escape the headlines and daily stories of individuals and families destroyed by addiction, especially with opioid abuse in our country now hitting crisis proportions.

People arrive at careers in the substance abuse counseling field in many ways some, after having dealt with their own addiction others, are drawn to the career path after seeing friends or family members cope with addiction and recovery. Many times, career interest is the result of a deep commitment to helping others. Whatever the motivation, everyone in this field shares the same goal: to work with individuals to alleviate or remove their dependencies on alcohol and drugs and improve the quality of their lives.

What It Takes To Be A Substance Abuse Counselor

How to Become a Therapist

There are several educational paths that lead to rewarding careers within the field of Substance Abuse Counseling. Like most career fields, there is a correlation between the amount of education and training you accumulate, and the salary, autonomy and job responsibilities you will have once you start working. A Bachelor’s Degree, earned at the college or university level, is typically the first step for students who wish to acquire the skills and certification needed to counsel individuals with substance abuse problems. The most common major for students pursing substance abuse counseling is in Alcohol & Drug Abuse Studies or Addictions Counseling. After students build a strong foundation in counseling and the behavioral sciences they have an opportunity to focus their academic pursuits on a more specialized area of study. Completing graduate level coursework with a Master’s Degree, or a Doctorate degree will provide students with the knowledge and skills required to become a licensed counselor and to work in private practice if they so desire.

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How Long Does It Take To Get A Bachelor’s In Addiction Counseling

Several factors affect the length of an addiction counseling program. Although degree tracks vary depending on core and major requirements, undergraduates usually complete 120-140 semester credits to earn their substance abuse counselor degree. Most on-campus students earn their bachelor’s within four years of full-time study. Although schools typically recognize learners who enroll in at least 12 credits each term as full-time students, undergrads need to take more than this if they intend to graduate in four years.

Alternatively, degree seekers who need to manage work or family commitments along with their school schedules may elect to study part time — either on-campus or through distance learning. Some online programs also offer accelerated degrees that participants can complete in one-and-a-half to two years years. Students may also shorten the time needed to graduate by transferring in previously earned college-level credits or completing high school AP courses and exams.

Substance Abuse Counselors Contribute To Society One Recovery At A Time

The substance abuse counselor has a noticeable impact on their community. Some ways they improve their community include:

  • Increase in community safety by helping addicts heal
  • Safer roads

The family of a substance abuser is often fraught with difficulty, heartbreak and emotional trauma. By helping the family to understand the nature of addiction and its related emotional component the substance abuse counselor can help to shift the families understanding of their chemically addicted family member. By taking a collaborative and empowering approach, the substance abuse counselor can help the family to participate in the healing journey of their chemically addicted family member. The impact on the family is very significant and it is tremendously fulfilling for the substance abuse counselor to help reconciliation and healing on this level.

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Substance Abuse Counselor Salary & Job Growth

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 102,400 substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors working in the U.S. in 2016. Substance abuse counselors work in a variety of settings, from rehabilitation and substance abuse centers to hospitals, prisons and detention facilities. Others work in detox centers and recovery houses. The countrys prolonged battle against opioids more than 115 people die every day in the U.S. after overdosing on opioids will continue to be a major driver of employment for substance abusecounselors.

Can You Get Licensed With An Online Substance Abuse Counseling Degree

What does it take to be an addiction counselor?

Absolutely! Provided that your substance abuse counselor program is appropriately accredited and meets state requirements, completing an online addiction studies program offers the same level of preparation as an on-campus program. You will likely need to complete an in-person clinical experience or practicum even if you do study online, but this can typically be completed in your local area.

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What Else Can I Expect From A Bachelor’s In Addiction Counseling Program

Most undergraduate students complete a core of general education requirements — including classes in English, natural science, mathematics, history, and the social sciences — in addition to major-specific courses. The specific course requirements for a substance use counselor degree can differ significantly between schools, and many addiction counseling degrees also include a capstone course, internship, fieldwork, or supervised counseling practicum.

How Can You Become A Substance Abuse Counselor

To land a job as a substance abuse counselor, youll need a minimum of a bachelors degree. However, a masters degree in social work, mental health counseling, or a similar field can enable professionals to provide more services to their clients. This can include private one-on-one counseling sessions, requiring less supervision than those with fewer educational qualifications.

If you hope to work in private practice, youll need to be licensed. Outside of working in this environment, the requirements to work as a substance abuse counselor will vary. Not all states expect counselors to have a specific degree, but many require them to pass a state-issued exam. The contact information for your states regulating board can be found through the National Board for Certified Counselors.

In addition to working in private practice, substance abuse counselors can find employment in rehabilitation facilities, K-12 schools, college and university systems, mental health centers, probation and parole agencies, insurance and managed care organizations, hospitals and employee assistance programs. While having personal experience overcoming alcohol or drug addiction isnt a requirement, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says this is sometimes viewed as especially helpful and insightful to those seeking treatment.

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Employment And Salary Outlook For Counselors

With more people seeking out mental health and addiction treatment, counseling careers continue to experience employment growth. Professionals commonly find work in outpatient care centers and individual and family services. They earn mid-level wages in comparison with their counterparts in local government and residential facilities.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects employment for mental health, substance abuse, and behavioral disorder counselors to increase by 22% from 2018-28. BLS projections also indicate that marriage and family therapists will experience a 22% growth rate in the same period.

Psychologists will experience a lower rate of projected job growth at 14% from 2018-28, while school and their career counselor employment will grow at a projected rate of 8% during the same period. Aspiring professionals must earn masters or doctoral degrees for these careers, making graduate coursework and degree completion essential to securing a job.

Graduate From High School Or Complete A Ged

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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 as well by volunteering in the substance abuse counseling field.

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Doctorate In Substance Abuse Counseling

For those who are interested in careers in academia or research, earning a PhD in substance abuse may be the right path. A PhD provides you with a solid understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods as well as a strong background in counseling theory. While you can qualify for a counseling license with a masters degree, if you have already earned a masters in a subject other than counseling, a counseling-related PhD may help you qualify for your license while furthering your career.

As an advanced degree, the coursework for a PhD in substance abuse counseling is academically rigorous. In addition to challenging coursework, you should also expect to write and defend a thesis a process that typically takes at least a year, and often up to three. Doctoral programs that emphasize practice in addiction counseling will also likely include a fieldwork component. Academic courses that are typical for a doctoral-level drug and alcohol counselor degree plan include:

  • Advanced Assessment Techniques
  • Theories and Methods of Counselor Education

Masters In Substance Abuse Counseling

To be considered for admission to a masters in addiction counseling program, you will need to have a bachelors degree. A bachelors in psychology, counseling, or a related field is sometimes preferred, though many programs will consider candidates with degrees in other fields. If your undergraduate program was not in a counseling-related field, you may be required to complete certain prerequisites or have other formal addiction counselor training before being admitted into a masters program. A minimum GPA showing academic strength, typically 3.0 or above, is another common admissions requirement, as are minimum test scores on the GRE or equivalent. Once admitted, a masters in addiction counseling typically takes two to three years to complete.

At the masters level, degree programs in addiction counseling typically focus on direct clinical skills and evidence-based practice following up-to-date scientific models of human psychology and behavior. This holds true for both on-campus and online addiction counseling degree programs. Typical courses in such a program include:

  • Advanced Co-Occurring Disorders & Addictions Counseling
  • Advanced Developmental Psychology
  • Research and Theories in Addiction Counseling
  • Techniques of Counseling & Psychotherapy

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What Is Substance Abuse Counseling

Imagine yourself sitting on a busy park bench. Now, imagine yourself watching all of the people walking by. Chances are many of those people are dealing with a substance abuse problem, whether they know it or not. Research has shown that millions of people suffer from substance abuse each year. In fact, it is one of the most common problems in America.

Substance abuse refers to the habitual use of a mind altering substance, whether its alcohol or drugs. Although most substance abusers may find that they are seemingly blessed with a number of positive side effects of these substances, the reality is that these substances are ultimately very harmful. For instance, these substances not only harm a persons body, but they can also fracture their soul.

Abusing substances such as alcohol or drugs will often inflict a persons mind as well. A person suffering from substance abuse will usually not act like himself. For instance, a person that is normally mild tempered could possibly become violent under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Substance abuse counseling, however, is a type of counseling that can be used to help people overcome and conquer dependencies on substances, such as alcohol and drugs.

Do I Need To Go To Graduate School For Substance Abuse Counseling

Counseling: Becoming a Professional Counselor

Unlike many other specialties, substance abuse counselors can typically become licensed with an associates or bachelors degree. However, there can be more job opportunities for graduate-level counselors specializing in substance abuse. In addition to checking licensure requirements for your state, its a good idea to research current job listings to find out typical requirements in your area. If youre already working, there are a variety of online addiction counseling degree programs that can be a good fit for a busy schedule.

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Professional Associations For Addiction Counselors

Its important for substance abuse counselors to stay up on the latest research and developments in the field.

Through membership in professional organizations, you may have opportunities to network with others, read informative articles, enroll in training sessions, and participate in industry conferences.

Organizations for addiction counselors include:

What Is An Addictions Counsellor

Addictions are financial, emotional, or physical problems that a person finds to be concerned with. They often require both personal and professional help personal problems can be resolved through communication with/by others. Many addictions create feelings of worthlessness and superego.

The counsellor is an individual who helps individuals with addictions, typically a drug or alcohol addiction. They will work with the person to understand what is happening in their lives and how to get out of this situation. This might include discussing facts with the person, helping them to develop treatment plans, and keeping them safe from further harm.

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S To Become An Addiction Counselor:

  • Earn your high school diploma or GED.
  • Study a related field for your bachelors degree.
  • Put your time in working.
  • Take the exams.
  • Bonus: Further your education with a graduate degree.
  • If you earn your undergraduate degree in a field related to addiction studies, such as mental health counseling, psychology, or human services, you may soon be eligible to pursue industry certifications.

    Most substance abuse counselor certification programs require you to earn college credit hours and accumulate professional work experience before you sit for their exams. Once you pass certain tests, some states will approve you to become an official practitioner.

    To become a licensed professional counselor who can practice independently, a masters degree is required.

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    Youll also have to accumulate professional experience and pass an examination. Someday, you may even want to earn a PhD in Counseling.

    What Is An Addiction Therapy Degree

    A Career in Counselling Psychology

    Getting an addiction therapy degree starts with obtaining at least a bachelors degree in a field related to therapy or counseling. Usually, this takes the form of a degree in psychology or social work.

    In some states, a bachelors degree is the only education required to be an addiction therapist, though there are usually additional requirements for licensure and/or certification. In other states, students must continue their education with a masters degree, which, depending on the program, might take one to three years to complete. Again, licensure and certification requirements would necessitate further training, and usually takes the form of a period of supervised work under the watchful eye of a veteran addiction therapist.

    Where bachelors degree programs are typically broader and include studies on varying topics within and outside the realm of counseling and psychology, a masters program in addiction therapy is much more focused. Not only do students spend more time studying addiction and ways to treat it, but they also spend time in practical situations, applying their skills to real-world situations.

    Coursework at the masters degree level includes advanced studies in psychology, addiction, and treatment, as well as statistics, research design, and therapeutic methods. Additionally, students in masters degree programs in this field study ethics and learn how to offer therapeutic services to clients in a way that is professional, ethical, and effective.

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