Wednesday, June 12, 2024

What Is An Addiction Counselor

What Makes A Good Addiction Counselor

Addiction Counselors: Their Role In Recovery

An addiction counselor collaborates with their patients to evaluate their situation and establish goals to develop a customized treatment plan. Your counselor should be a good listener and possesses an overall demeanor of compassion. The initial counseling sessions are designed to lay the foundation for mutual trust, which is imperative for a successful outcome.

I contribute hard work, and my friends at AA for helping me stay sober. Im still in contact with my counselor at the Greenhouse, my rehab. I love talking to other recovering addicts.

– Janis J, recovering addict

Through a counselors empathy and patience, they create a safe environment for the user to openly communicate. This will help the counselor identify the underlying issues that may be driving the addictive behavior. This part of therapy is on of the keys, because without pinpointing the underlying issue, long-term recovery is less likely.

A good therapist will also be able to diagnose and treat any co-occurring mental health conditions. The most important quality in a good addiction counselor is a desire and commitment to help their patients move through the stages of change with the ultimate goal of achieving long-term sobriety.

What Are The Different Careers Options

It’s a great idea to narrow down the type of career you hope to pursue. Here’s a quick look at some of the professional pathways you might want to explore and the required degrees.

Careers that require a bachelor’s degree:

  • Substance abuse counselor

In January 2020, there were more than 14,000 specialized substance abuse treatment facilities in the United States providing counseling, behavioral therapy, medication, case management and other types of care.

Whats The Job Market Like For Substance Abuse Counselors

Now is a great time to earn your master’s and enter the field of addiction counseling. Jobs are expected to grow as more people seek help for addiction. This growth is in large part driven by a surging opioid crisisa national emergency that’s been building for more than 20 years according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Court-ordered therapy is also becoming more common, creating numerous counseling jobs in correctional facilities and halfway houses.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of substance abuse counselors is projected to grow 23 percent from 2020 to 2030.That’s more than four times faster than the national average. As a licensed counselor with a master’s degree, you can look forward to a strong job market and reliable employment.

Learn more about substance abuse counseling careers.

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Expected Daily Activities Of An Addiction Counselor

  • Gather and review a clients history and background.
  • Create addiction coping strategies.
  • Recognize and deal with a patients deeper root issues.
  • Consult with others involved in the patients treatment, including social workers, correctional facility employees and counselors, and family members to decide on the necessary course of treatment.

Addiction counselors understand that the reasons and causes of addiction are typically both physical as well as psychological. It is an addiction counselors responsibility to identify and cope with their patients addictions. Addiction counselors do not seek to belittle, put down, or otherwise make their patients feel small or ashamed. Once the root cause of a patients addiction is identified, a counselor will then use a patients strengths and weaknesses to educate, assist, and support the patient through the recovery process.

Addiction Counselor Education Path

What To Consider During Addiction Counseling In Vancouver ...

There are many education paths you can take on the way to a career as a substance abuse counselor. Consider your end goals when mapping out the education blueprint that suits your future needs.

Many levels of certification and licensure are available to those looking to begin a career in the addiction counseling field. However, those with an eye on professional licensure will typically need to obtain certification from a national board of counselors.

Degree Options

For those who arent overly concerned with advancing far in the field of addiction counseling, an associates degree will often be enough to get an entry level position. This may take shape as an administrative job in a treatment center, a counselor in a rehab center, or a similar position in the industry. A bachelors degree will open the door far wider, allowing its holder access to jobs such as case manager, group counselor, and more.

For those who wish to practice on their own or in a clinical setting, earning a masters degree will be the first major milestone on the career path. This will lead to increased career opportunities and will set prospective substance abuse counselors off on the right foot. A masters degree may also be needed as a prerequisite to licensure, depending on your states requirements.

Degree program pages:

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Academics: The First Step

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.

Career And Salary Outlook

Because the current high demand shows no sign of slowing down, the career & salary outlook for addiction counselors is among the best in the country. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average rate of employment growth hovers around 11 percent. For substance abuse counselors, that number jumps as high as 22 percent. There are many reasons for this growth. As the criminal justice system becomes more open to the idea of treatment as a part of rehabilitation, more counselors will need to be employed by the penal system. In addition, mental health care has become more prevalently available in recent years for those with insurance. As of May 2017, the median annual wage for addiction counselors was $43,300. The lowest 10 percent of earners brought in just over $27,000 on average, while the highest earners made more than $70,000 per year. Check out the different types of counseling careers that are available to licensed professionals.

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What Does A Substance Abuse Counselor Do

John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health .

What Is The Importance Of Training And Regulation

Addiction Counselor: Everything You Need To Know

Statutory regulation in the counselling profession is not yet in place, because it is currently unregulated, it is possible for people to set themselves up as counsellors without any formal qualification or accreditation.

The Addiction Counsellors of Ireland supports strict regulation, and is part of the Psychological Therapies Forum, the umbrella body representing various organisations in the counselling field, currently lobbying the government, to have the profession established on a statutory basis.

Meanwhile, because the protection of the client is of the utmost importance, it is prudent that those seeking the services of a qualified counsellor should use a professional association, such as the Addiction Counsellors of Ireland, to help them identify a counsellor whom they can be sure has reached acceptable level of academic and experiential training and is accredited by the association contacted.

On This Page

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Certified Addiction Counselor Salary

Certified addiction counselors earn a wide range of salaries that are based on regional standards, education level, and licensure considerations. However, according to, the average salary for professionals meeting this description is $38,416. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reflects a slightly higher median salary for 2018, $44,630. The BLS also indicates that the field is poised to grow much faster than average in the years between 2016 and 2026: 23%. The rapid expansion of pharmaceutical drug addiction might be fueling this dramatic uptick in demand.

National Clinical Supervision Endorsement

Counseling professionals who wish to codify their supervisory experience and abilities should seek out NCSE credentials. To apply, applicants need to show a minimum formal education at the bachelors level. Official transcripts should reflect a regionally accredited institution of higher learning, and all applicants should be licensed counselors in good standing. Accepted academic work includes degrees in social work, mental health counseling, and psychology. The credential education requirements also include 10,000 total hours, or five years of full-time experience working as a substance use disorder/addiction counselor. That time must include two years or 4,000 hours working in direct clinical supervision. Of those hours, 200 must be under the supervision of a licensed professional. A total of 30 contact hours of education and training in the substance use disorder/addiction field should include a total of 12 hours split evenly between training/education for ethics and HIV/other pathogens. Completed applications should be accompanied by a payment of $235, non-refundable, and should include passing scores on the NCC APs NCPRSS exam.

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Where Does An Addiction Counselor Work

Substance abuse counselors commonly work in human and social service facilities, detention centers, schools, substance abuse rehabilitation centers and hospitals. These professionals may also choose to open their own practices.

Addiction counselors can also work within prisons, probation agencies, detention facilities, health centers, detox centers, employee assistance programs, or halfway houses. Grand Canyon Universitys Master of Science in Addiction Counseling degree can prepare you for a career in professional addiction counseling. To learn more, please visit the College of Humanities and Social Sciences or click the Request More Information button on this page.

1Retrieved from Counseling Degree Guide, Arizona Counseling License Requirements in November 2021.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.


Types Of Therapy In Substance Abuse Counseling

Opioid Addiction Counseling Services

Substance abuse counselors have a wealth of therapeutic options at their disposal when it comes to helping people to achieve sobriety. Counselors, therapists and treatment professionals often combine a mixture of the following types of therapy to provide adequate and effective treatment to those suffering from drug or alcohol addiction:

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Education Requirements To Join The Workforce

To become a substance abuse counselor you will usually need at least a two year training program. However, increasingly a bachelors degree in Psychology, Sociology, Social Work or a related field is required to be considered for a position. In addition, it is always wise to study a foreign language as bilingual and multilingual candidates are highly sought after.

How Is Substance Abuse Counseling Different From Therapy

Substance abuse counseling tends to work a little differently than therapy does. It tends to be immediate and practical in its approach. Unlike therapy, which takes some time to explore what a particular client might want or need to do, substance abuse counseling usually hits the ground running and starts helping you solve practical problems right away.

Some ways substance abuse counseling may be different from therapy:

  • It may be more directive. The counselor may take a more active role and provide more active guidance.
  • It may be more standardized. Treatment planning is more likely to follow a standard format in the beginning.
  • It may be more focused. The counselor is more likely to try to keep you on topic and less likely to encourage you just to talk about whatever comes up.

Substance abuse counselors already know one of the things you want to change: your substance use. They also know the risks and complications that often come with substance use disorders. They know that without immediate action to curb your substance use, you could be in serious legal, financial, or medical trouble, especially if your substance use disorder has already progressed to a high level of severity.

On the other hand, therapy for mental health rarely starts with the same kind of laser focus. It takes a therapist a little more time to figure out which problems youre trying to solve and what approach will work best.

In general, mental health therapy:

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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.

The Role Of Addiction Counselors In Recovery

Ethics Addiction Counselor Exam Review

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Addiction is a deep-rooted disease. Drug and alcohol addicts suffer from more than just the effects of substance abuse. Their issues are psychological, usually resulting from a mental disorder or even from an event in their past.

This is why addicts need professional psychological help during the recovery process. Addiction counselors aid an addict in various areas of recovery, understanding their addiction and assuring them of their decision to recover.

Are you thinking of becoming an addiction counselor? Understand the role before taking courses. Read on to learn more.

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How Do I Become An Addictions Counselor

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Licenses Certifications And Registrations

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors in private practice must be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state, but all states require these counselors to have a masters degree and complete a specified number of hours of supervised clinical experience. In addition, counselors must pass an examination and complete continuing education every year. Contact information for your state’s regulating board is available through the National Board for Certified Counselors.

Licensure requirements for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors outside of private practice vary by state. For example, not all states require applicants to have a specific degree, but some require them to pass an exam. Contact information for individual states licensing boards is available through the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network.

All states require mental health counselors to be licensed. Licensure requires successfully completing a national examination and supervised clinical work under the supervision of a licensed counselor.

Some jobs require counselors to have certification in basic life support or cardiopulmonary resuscitation .

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Field Training And Work Experience

Although the majority of theoretical counseling techniques are learned within the classroom, it is essential that addictions counselors gain real-world training in the field to learn how to effectively deal with a crisis situation or interact with families. Along with completing practicum and internship experience in a bachelors or masters degree program, substance abuse counselors are often required to complete a minimum of 2,000 to 3,000 total hours of supervised clinical experience before practicing in the field. Usually, fieldwork is conducted in a wide range of substance abuse counseling settings, including outpatient mental health centers, residential substance abuse facilities, individual/family services, prisons, juvenile detention facilities, employee assistance programs, government agencies, and hospitals.

What Is Substance Abuse Counseling

Certified Substance Abuse Counselor Preparation Classes

As with any disease or condition, addiction affects various elements of the users thought processes and behaviors. Its these very thought processes and behaviors which may also be responsible for the onset of the drug or alcohol use. Substance abuse counseling is a method of community outreach in which those who are suffering from addiction speak with certified addiction professionals about their past and present substance use problems, about the problems that may have led up to substance use and about the underlying elements that are responsible for their current state.

Counseling helps people understand and overcome their addiction.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, substance abuse and behavioral disorders counselors advise people who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, or other behavioral problems. These counselors provide treatment and supportive care to those who suffer from addiction to help them stabilize and restore balance into their lives.

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National Certified Addiction Counselor Level Ii

This credential requires that candidates hold a minimum of a bachelors degree in substance use disorders/addiction or a related field such as social work, psychology, mental health counseling, etc. Candidates should have a state-issued license as a substance use disorders/addiction counselor or professional counselor and provide proof of at least five years of full-time supervised work in the field. NAADAC will also accept a total of 10,000 hours. On top of the degree requirement, the credential requires 450 contact hours of education in substance abuse disorders/addiction counseling. Applicants must also complete 6 hours of ethics training and then 6 hours of HIV/other pathogen training within the 6 years prior to application. Finally, applicants must provide passing scores on the NCC APs NCAC Level II exam, pay a non-refundable initial credentialing fee of $235, and then be prepared to pay $200 every two years after that for licensure renewal. Renewals must also include evidence of 40 CEU hours, a verifiable work history for the past two years, and a signed statement affirming adherence to the NAADAC/NCC AP Code of Ethics.

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