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Become An Alcohol And Drug Counselor

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Working As An Alcohol And Drug Counselor

  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Getting Information
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
  • Deal with People

  • Unpleasant/Angry People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $42,000

    Average Salary

What Does An Alcohol And Drug Counselor Do

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors advise people who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, or other behavioral problems. They provide treatment and support to help the client recover from addiction or modify problem behaviors.

Duties

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors typically do the following:

  • Evaluate clients’ mental and physical health, addiction, or problem behavior and assess their readiness for treatment
  • Help clients develop treatment goals and plans
  • Review and recommend treatment options with clients and their families
  • Help clients develop skills and behaviors necessary to recover from their addiction or modify their behavior
  • Work with clients to identify behaviors or situations that interfere with their recovery
  • Teach families about addiction or behavior disorders and help them develop strategies to cope with those problems
  • Refer clients to other resources and services, such as job placement services and support groups
  • Conduct outreach programs to help people identify the signs of addiction and other destructive behavior, as well as steps to take to avoid such behavior

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, also called addiction counselors, work with clients individually and in group sessions. Many incorporate the principles of 12-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to guide their practice. They teach clients how to cope with stress and life’s problems in ways that help them recover. Furthermore, they help clients rebuild professional relationships and, if necessary, reestablish their career. They also help clients improve their personal relationships and find ways to discuss their addiction or other problems with family and friends.

Some addiction counselors work in facilities that employ many types of healthcare and mental health professionals. Addiction counselors may work with psychiatrists, social workers, physicians, and registered nurses to develop treatment plans and coordinate care for patients.

Some counselors work with clients who have been ordered by a judge to receive treatment for addiction. Others work with specific populations, such as teenagers, veterans, or people with disabilities. Some specialize in crisis intervention; these counselors step in when someone is endangering his or her own life or the lives of others. Other counselors specialize in noncrisis interventions, which encourage a person with addictions or other issues to get help. Noncrisis interventions often are performed at the request of friends and family.

Some substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors work in private practice, where they work alone or with a group of counselors or other professionals. These counselors manage their practice as a business. This includes working with clients and insurance companies to receive payment for their services. In addition, they market their practice to bring in new clients.

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How To Become An Alcohol And Drug Counselor

Most positions require a bachelor’s degree. However, depending on the employer, educational requirements can vary from a high school diploma and certification to a master’s degree.

Education

Most positions require a bachelor’s degree. However, depending on the employer, educational requirements can vary from a high school diploma and certification to a master’s degree. Workers with more education are able to provide more services to their clients, such as private one-on-one counseling sessions, and they require less supervision than those with less education. Those interested should research their state’s educational requirements.

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 a master’s degree and 2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. In addition, counselors must pass a state-issued exam and complete continuing education every year. Contact information for your state's regulating board can be found through the National Board for Certified Counselors.

The licensure or certification criteria for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors outside of private practice vary from state to state. For example, not all states require a specific degree, but many require applicants to pass an exam. Contact information for your state’s licensing board can be found through the Addiction Technology Transfer Center Network.

Important Qualities

Compassion. Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors often work with people who are dealing with stressful and difficult situations, so they must be compassionate and empathize with their clients.

Interpersonal skills. Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors must be able to work with different types of people. They spend most of their time working directly with clients or other professionals and must be able to develop and nurture good relationships.

Listening skills. Good listening skills are essential for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors. They need to give their full attention to a client to be able to understand that client’s problems and values.

Patience. Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors must be able to remain calm when working with all types of clients, including those who may be distressed or angry.

Speaking skills. Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors need to be able to effectively communicate with clients. They must express ideas and information in a way that their clients easily understand.

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Alcohol And Drug Counselor Career Paths

Alcohol And Drug Counselor
Substance Abuse Counselor Therapist Case Manager
Medical Case Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Substance Abuse Counselor Therapist Program Manager
Service Program Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Therapist Case Manager Nursing Director
Clinical Services Director
11 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Team Leader Program Director
Director Of Program Services
8 Yearsyrs
Substance Abuse Counselor Clinician Case Manager
Utilities Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Senior Technician Specialist Nursing Director
Director Of Health Services
10 Yearsyrs
Addictions Counselor Clinical Supervisor Program Director
Director Of Residential Services
7 Yearsyrs
Addictions Counselor Clinical Supervisor Nursing Director
Health Director
9 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Administrator Registered Nurse Case Manager
Clinical Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Clinician Clinical Social Worker Social Work Supervisor
Director Of Social Work
6 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Clinician
Clinical Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Addictions Counselor Clinical Supervisor Clinical Director
Outpatient Services Director
9 Yearsyrs
Therapeutic Support Staff Office Manager House Manager
Housing Director
6 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Registered Nurse Occupational Health Nurse
Health Services Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Program Coordinator Clinical Social Worker Program Supervisor
Residential Program Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Specialist Administrator Nurse Manager
Administrative Director, Behavioral Health Services
11 Yearsyrs
Specialist Administrator Registered Nurse Case Manager
Health Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Social Services Specialist Service Provider Integrator
Health Unit Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Therapeutic Support Staff Lead Teacher Center Director
Community Service Director
5 Yearsyrs
Behavioral Specialist Mental Health Counselor Mental Health Clinician
Mental Health Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Alcohol And Drug Counselor?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Clinical Counselor 2.5 years
Primary Counselor 2.5 years
Family Counselor 2.4 years
Primary Therapist 2.3 years
Counselor 2.0 years
Top Careers Before Alcohol And Drug Counselor
Counselor 13.4%
Internship 12.7%
Case Manager 10.5%
Volunteer 5.1%
Therapist 4.5%
Supervisor 2.8%
Cashier 2.5%
Top Careers After Alcohol And Drug Counselor
Counselor 13.3%
Case Manager 10.8%
Therapist 8.3%
Internship 4.1%
Clinician 3.8%
Supervisor 3.1%
Specialist 2.6%

Do you work as an Alcohol And Drug Counselor?

Average Yearly Salary
$42,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$25,000
Min 10%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$42,000
Median 50%
$71,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Kootenai Health
Highest Paying City
Santa Rosa, CA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
3.2 years
How much does an Alcohol And Drug Counselor make at top companies?
The national average salary for an Alcohol And Drug Counselor in the United States is $42,322 per year or $20 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $25,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $71,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of an Alcohol And Drug Counselor?

Have you worked as an Alcohol And Drug Counselor? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as an Alcohol And Drug Counselor.

Top Skills for An Alcohol And Drug Counselor

  1. Treatment Plans
  2. Substance Abuse
  3. Intake Assessments
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Completed initial drug and alcohol assessments, developed individual treatment plans and documented all compliance and progress.
  • Provided substance abuse treatment specialized in the Native American community as evidenced within cultural guidelines.
  • Conducted intake assessments, evaluations, individual and group counseling to individuals with substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.
  • Conduct weekly individual, family and group therapy sessions for individuals referred from probation, parole, and residential correctional facilities.
  • Conducted chemical dependency assessments, assigning DSM-IV TR diagnosis, created comprehensive treatment plan with individualized goals and objectives.

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Top 10 Best States for Alcohol And Drug Counselors

  1. Maine
  2. New Jersey
  3. Wyoming
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. Nevada
  6. Oregon
  7. Alaska
  8. North Dakota
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Colorado
  • (22 jobs)
  • (121 jobs)
  • (14 jobs)
  • (170 jobs)
  • (60 jobs)
  • (54 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (207 jobs)
  • (55 jobs)

Alcohol And Drug Counselor Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 6,903 Alcohol And Drug Counselor resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Alcohol And Drug Counselor Resume

View Resume Examples

Alcohol And Drug Counselor Demographics

Gender

Female

55.7%

Male

32.7%

Unknown

11.7%
Ethnicity

White

66.5%

Hispanic or Latino

14.2%

Black or African American

9.7%

Asian

6.0%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

68.6%

French

7.1%

Italian

2.6%

Dakota

2.6%

Portuguese

2.6%

Polish

2.6%

Arabic

2.6%

Russian

1.9%

German

1.9%

Greek

1.3%

Vietnamese

0.6%

Romanian

0.6%

Hindi

0.6%

Mandarin

0.6%

Indonesian

0.6%

Bosnian

0.6%

Turkish

0.6%

Armenian

0.6%

Thai

0.6%

Serbian

0.6%
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Alcohol And Drug Counselor Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

13.0%

Capella University

11.0%

Walden University

8.7%

Grand Canyon University

8.7%

Metropolitan State University

5.8%

Liberty University

5.4%

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

4.1%

University of Pittsburgh -

4.1%

Pennsylvania State University

4.0%

Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies

3.7%

University of Cincinnati

3.5%

Intercoast Colleges

3.3%

Springfield College

3.3%

Saint Cloud State University

3.3%

Minnesota State University - Mankato

3.1%

Portland State University

3.1%

ICDC College

3.0%

Temple University

3.0%

Eastern Washington University

2.9%

National University

2.9%
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Majors

Social Work

15.7%

Psychology

14.9%

Mental Health Counseling

10.3%

School Counseling

8.9%

Human Services

7.1%

Criminal Justice

6.7%

Counseling Psychology

6.6%

Chemical Engineering

4.9%

Pharmacy

4.0%

Business

3.4%

Clinical Psychology

2.6%

Education

2.4%

Sociology

2.3%

Family Therapy

2.1%

Rehabilitation Science

1.9%

Nursing

1.5%

Human Development

1.2%

Behavioral Sciences

1.2%

Liberal Arts

1.1%

Public Health

1.1%
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Degrees

Masters

41.0%

Bachelors

26.7%

Other

14.3%

Associate

8.9%

Certificate

4.9%

Doctorate

3.2%

Diploma

0.7%

License

0.4%
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