Recovering from an addiction is never easy, which is why there are addictions counselors to help patients overcome their habits in the healthiest of ways. As an addictions counselor, your duties will revolve around helping people overcome their dependence on drugs, alcohol, and other addictive substances.

These duties include assessing clients' backgrounds, reviewing charts, recommending proper treatment options, and providing counseling. You are also responsible for keeping track of each client's progress by keeping a detailed log of the results of their counseling sessions, treatments, and other steps involved in the recovery process. Moreover, you may also point clients to benefits and other services available to them, such as government aid and community programs.

When hiring for this position, most employers look for candidates with a bachelor's or master's degree in mental health counseling, psychology, social work, and other related fields. You must also have prior experience working with addicted individuals as well as proper certification as required in your state.

When you become an addictions counselor, you can expect an average salary of $46,000 per year. In terms of opportunities, you can find jobs in rehabilitation centers, healthcare facilities, community services, and other places that offer treatment to addicts.

What Does an Addictions Counselor Do

There are certain skills that many addictions counselors have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, compassion and interpersonal skills.

Learn more about what an Addictions Counselor does

How To Become an Addictions Counselor

If you're interested in becoming an addictions counselor, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 53.3% of addictions counselors have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 27.2% of addictions counselors have master's degrees. Even though most addictions counselors have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become an Addictions Counselor

Addictions Counselor Career Paths

Average Salary for an Addictions Counselor

Addictions Counselors in America make an average salary of $47,226 per year or $23 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $68,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $32,000 per year.
Average Addictions Counselor Salary
$47,226 Yearly
$22.70 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Addictions Counselor

The role of an addictions counselor includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general addictions counselor responsibilities:

  • Perform drug screens when necessary. Complete the required documentation, which includes, but not limited to individual treatment plans
  • Demonstrate ability to effectively engage clients with substance abuse
  • Demonstrates a commitment to service, organization values

There are several types of addictions counselor, including:



While there are several different types of counselors, in general they spend their time helping people overcome and understand specific problems. Although, not every counselor is going to have a couch, as depicted by TV, most do work in private office settings.

The scope of the types of counselors seems to be never-ending. From school counselors to family and marriage counselors, and even mental health counselors, people who go into this field have a range of what area they want to focus on.

  • Average Salary: $36,225
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Residential Counselor


Residential counselors work in social care facilities such as homeless shelters, rehabilitation centers, retirement homes, and the like. Their main responsibility is to maintain the structure of the environment or program and oversee the residents' daily activities.

Residential counselors are typically expected to have a degree in psychology, social work, or a related field. They keep an eye on the mental and emotional state of the people under their care and make sure everyone lives by the rules of the facility. They give a hand with transportation and come up with fun and engaging activities for the residents to do while spending quality time together.

As a residential counselor, your responsibilities do not revolve around generating profit, and this is reflected in the median annual salary of the position, which is $29,592. This is a bit less than half of what the average yearly living expenses amount to across the U.S. Caring for each other apparently is not the most lucrative business. It is, however, very rewarding on a personal level.

  • Average Salary: $34,117
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree



Clinicians are doctors that deal directly with patients as opposed to one that conducts laboratory work or theoretical studies. Examples of clinicians include physicians, clinical pharmacists, nurse practitioners, and speech-language pathologists. They can conduct physical examinations, order lab tests, prescribe medications, and develop treatment plans for patients.

Being a clinician offers vast opportunities in caring for different patient demographics. They can spend their time providing psychotherapy treatment for mental health individuals, working with military personnel to cope with their post-traumatic syndrome, or even be administering an addictions program.

A clinician will generally take, on average, 5-8 years to specialize. For example, Sigmund Freud spent around 10 years in medical education before receiving his/her professorship in neuropathology. For those who have a passion for helping people, being a clinician can be an extremely rewarding career and this role earns an average of $22 to $46 per hour, depending on their specialization.

  • Average Salary: $60,150
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Addictions Counselor Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active addictions counselor jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where addictions counselors earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Addictions Counselor Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
3New York1,638$48,809
9New Jersey967$49,078
18North Carolina604$43,543
23South Carolina418$37,784
31New Mexico227$45,122
40New Hampshire151$52,827
43Rhode Island116$50,631
46West Virginia88$47,410
47North Dakota84$43,858
48South Dakota68$41,212

Addictions Counselor Education

Addictions Counselor Majors

Addictions Counselor Degrees


53.3 %


27.2 %


14.6 %

Top Colleges for Addictions Counselors

1. Hunter College of the City University of New York

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




2. California State University - Long Beach

Long Beach, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




3. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




4. California State University - Dominguez Hills

Carson, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




5. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Chapel Hill, NC • Private

In-State Tuition




6. California State University - Fullerton

Fullerton, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




7. University of Washington

Seattle, WA • Private

In-State Tuition




8. Boston University

Boston, MA • Private

In-State Tuition




9. New York University

New York, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




10. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For an Addictions Counselor

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 18.2% of addictions counselors listed patients on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and compassion are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Addictions Counselor Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Addictions Counselor templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Addictions Counselor resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Addictions Counselor diversity

Addictions Counselor Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among addictions counselors, 64.6% of them are women, while 35.4% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among addictions counselors is White, which makes up 63.2% of all addictions counselors.

  • The most common foreign language among addictions counselors is Spanish at 69.5%.

Online Courses For Addictions Counselor That You May Like

Advertising Disclosure  

1. Addiction Treatment: Clinical Skills for Healthcare Providers


This course is designed with a singular goal: to improve the care you provide to your patients with substance use disorders. By delving into a model case performed by actors, seven Yale instructors from various fields provide techniques to screen your patients for substance use disorder risk, diagnose patients to gauge the severity of their use, directly manage treatment plans, refer out to treatment services, and navigate the various conditions that may limit your patient’s access to treatment...

2. The Addicted Brain


This is a course about addiction to drugs and other behaviors. It will describe what happens in the brain and how this information helps us deal with and overcome addiction. It will also discuss other topics, such as government policy and our vulnerability to take drugs...

3. Addiction & Mental Health (Dual Diagnosis) Integrative 12hrs


Substance Abuse & Mental Health Interventions: Drug & Alcohol Addiction & Mental Health - Integrative Holistic Approach...

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Best States For an Addictions Counselor

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an addictions counselor. The best states for people in this position are Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Alaska, and Minnesota. Addictions counselors make the most in Pennsylvania with an average salary of $53,672. Whereas in New Hampshire and Alaska, they would average $52,827 and $52,720, respectively. While addictions counselors would only make an average of $51,484 in Minnesota, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Pennsylvania

Total Addictions Counselor Jobs: 1,465
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Minnesota

Total Addictions Counselor Jobs: 733
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Rhode Island

Total Addictions Counselor Jobs: 116
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Addictions Counselors

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Top Addictions Counselor Employers

Most Common Employers For Addictions Counselor

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation$53,277$25.6125
2Second Genesis Foundation$52,213$25.1014
4New York State Restaurant Association$51,036$24.5418
5Pyramid Healthcare$48,514$23.3213
6Horizon Health$48,093$23.1220
8Addictions Recovery Center$39,132$18.8128
9Gateway Foundation$38,617$18.5723
10Cayuga Addiction Recovery Services$36,770$17.6813

Addictions Counselor Videos