What Does A Substance Abuse Counselor Do?

On average, Substance Abuse Counselors earn 37,615 per year, which translates to $18.08 an hour. Generally speaking, Substance Abuse Counselors earn anywhere from $14,000 to $99,000 a year, which means that the top-earning Substance Abuse Counselors make a whopping $85,000 more than the ones at the lower end of the spectrum.

Maybe you're a current Substance Abuse Counselor looking for a new opportunity, or maybe you're entertaining the notion of becoming a Substance Abuse Counselor and want to see how it compares to similar jobs. We've compiled extensive information on becoming a Mental Health Therapist, Primary Therapist, Family Therapist, and Mental Health Clinician just so you can compare. But more on how these roles compare to a Substance Abuse Counselor later.

Substance Abuse Counselor Job Description

Here are the duties and responsibilities that a Substance Abuse Counselor is likely to perform in their role.

  • Lead all staff training on HIPPA and mandate reporting laws.
  • Maintain and manage caseload, complete timely documentation.
  • Complete assessments, treatment plans, individual sessions, and facilitate various AoD and domestic violence groups.
  • Provide individual counseling to university students struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, substance abuse disorders, and eating disorders.
  • Develop and increase knowledge of federal, state and agency regulations regarding confidentiality methadone treatment and substance abuse counseling certification.
  • Provide clinical services, patient care, education and opiate addiction counseling services to patients receiving methadone maintenance and detoxification treatment.
  • Utilize evidence based practices such as CBT, DBT, and motivational interviewing to engage clients and promote change.
  • Have assisted in establishing this program as one of the premier public programs for SAIOP in NW GA area.
  • Monitor patients in adolescent detox.
  • Maintain all confidential personnel files, licensing and CPR compliance records.

Substance Abuse Counselor Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 24% of Substance Abuse Counselors are proficient in Treatment Plans, Substance Abuse, and Intake Assessments.

We break down the percentage of Substance Abuse Counselors that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Treatment Plans, 24%

    Developed individual treatment plans that emphasized addiction education, issues of early sobriety, and development of vocational and educational goals.

  • Substance Abuse, 19%

    Participate in promotional ceremonies for beneficiaries as well as professional development through workshops and seminars in mental health and substance abuse.

  • Intake Assessments, 9%

    Conduct intake assessments for individuals with substance use disorders and co-occurring disorders, including diagnoses and assigning proper individualized treatment program.

  • Group Therapy Sessions, 8%

    Provided crisis intervention, individual and/or group therapy sessions to adult and adolescent population participating in the outpatient substance abuse program.

  • Crisis Intervention, 5%

    Facilitate crisis intervention-chemical dependency groups.

  • Appropriate Referrals, 5%

    Identified addictive behaviors of clients to helped each individual overcome their addiction by educating, providing resources and appropriate referrals.

Additionally, Substance Abuse Counselors have more skills than just Treatment Plans, Substance Abuse, and Intake Assessments. Read about their personality traits here:

Over half of Substance Abuse Counselors have graduated with a bachelor's degree. In fact, it seems 27.1% of people who became a Substance Abuse Counselor earned a bachelor's degree. When it comes down to graduating with a master's degree roughly 47.6% in this career have them. If you're wanting to pursue this career, it seems it may be possible to be successful with a high school degree. In fact, most Substance Abuse Counselors have a college degree. But about one out of every eight Substance Abuse Counselors didn't attend college at all.

Those Substance Abuse Counselors who do attend college, typically earn either Social Work degrees or Psychology degrees. Less commonly earned degrees for Substance Abuse Counselors include Mental Health Counseling degrees or School Counseling degrees.

Once you've graduated with your degree, you're ready to tackle the world as a Substance Abuse Counselor. But where to start? Generally, Substance Abuse Counselors are hired the most by Acadia Healthcare, Management and Training, and Gateway Foundation. Currently, Acadia Healthcare has 53 Substance Abuse Counselor job openings, while there are 33 at Management and Training and 29 at Gateway Foundation.

But if you want to earn the most bang for your buck, Substance Abuse Counselors tend to earn the biggest salaries at Acacia Communications, PEOPLE, and Bright Health. Take Acacia Communications for example. The median Substance Abuse Counselor salary is $56,791. At PEOPLE, Substance Abuse Counselors earn an average of $51,965, while the average at Bright Health is $50,574. Now before you get too googly-eyed over those digits, take into consideration how difficult it might be to secure a job with one of these companies. While Acacia Communications has 2 job listings for Substance Abuse Counselors, PEOPLE and Bright Health only have 0 and 1 job listings respectively.

Salaries aside, the most respected Substance Abuse Counselors are working at Door's, Catholic Charities, and WINDSOR LAURELWOOD CENT FOR BEHAVIORAL HEALTH. By assessing which schools Substance Abuse Counselors mainly earn their degrees, and comparing that with the companies that have hired a significant number of Substance Abuse Counselors from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, we're able to determine the most prestigious companies.

The three companies that hire the most prestigious graphic designers are:

    How a Substance Abuse Counselor Compares to a Mental Health Therapist

    A Mental Health Therapist is responsible for treating disorders of the mind. They interact with clients, provide therapy, and suggest specific services.

    Up to bat, or first to compare, is Mental Health Therapist. Looking at the salary aspect, Mental Health Therapists earn a $5,388 higher salary than Substance Abuse Counselors annually.

    The two careers find some common ground in the skills department though. Both Substance Abuse Counselors and Mental Health Therapists alike are skilled in Treatment Plans, Substance Abuse, and Intake Assessments.

    The overlapping skill sets may be the only thing these two roles have in common, as there are some key differences. For example, a Substance Abuse Counselor is more likely to have skills in Relapse Prevention, Methadone, Chemical Dependency, and Asam. Meanwhile a typical Mental Health Therapist has skills in areas such as Anxiety Disorders, Trauma, Clinical Supervision, and Safety Plans. This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

    Mental Health Therapists really shine in the Hospitality industry with an average salary of $45,142. Whereas Substance Abuse Counselors tend to make the most money in the Hospitality industry with an average salary of $39,039. That's quite a big difference in pay.

    The education of Mental Health Therapists is a bit different than the education of Substance Abuse Counselors in that they tend to reach higher levels of education. A 29.8% of Mental Health Therapists are more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree. Additionally, they're 3.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Substance Abuse Counselor Compares to a Primary Therapist

    On deck, we have Primary Therapists. This career brings along a higher average salary of $8,308, which is higher than the salary of Substance Abuse Counselors per year.

    While the salary may be different for these job positions, there is one similarity and that's the skills they need. Both Substance Abuse Counselors and Primary Therapists are known to have skills such as Treatment Plans, Substance Abuse, and Intake Assessments.

    In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, a Substance Abuse Counselor is more likely to have skills in Methadone, Drug Screens, Support Groups, and Accurate Records, while a typical Primary Therapist is skilled in areas such as Trauma, Residential Treatment Facility, Clinical Supervision, and PHP. These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

    When it comes to education, Primary Therapists tend to reach higher levels of education than Substance Abuse Counselors. In fact, they're 27.6% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 3.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Substance Abuse Counselor Compares to a Family Therapist

    A Family Therapist works with couples and families to help ameliorate marital and family issues. They can work in hospitals, treatment programs, government agencies, health organizations, and private practices.

    Let's now take a look at how Family Therapists compare. On an average scale, these workers bring in higher dough than Substance Abuse Counselors with a higher pay of $6,108 per year.

    Substance Abuse Counselors and Family Therapists both have similar skills such as Treatment Plans, Substance Abuse, and Intake Assessments, but they differ in skills past that.

    Some important key differences between the two careers are the other skills necessary to get the job done. For example, a Substance Abuse Counselor is likely to be skilled in Relapse Prevention, Methadone, Chemical Dependency, and Asam, whereas a Family Therapist is skilled in Child Abuse, Intensive In-Home, Court Hearings, and Trauma.

    Interestingly, Family Therapists earn the most pay in the Health Care industry, where they command an average salary of $44,038. As mentioned previously, Substance Abuse Counselors rake in the most money in the Hospitality industry with an average salary of $$39,039.

    When it comes down to education, Family Therapists tend to reach higher levels than Substance Abuse Counselors. Especially since they're 25.8% more likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 4.0% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Substance Abuse Counselor Compares to a Mental Health Clinician

    A Mental Health Clinician provides psychotherapeutic and rehabilitation services for patients with mental health problems. They manage the treatment of clients and help them to obtain stable physical health.

    Now, we'll compare Mental Health Clinicians who are known for averaging a higher pay when compared to Substance Abuse Counselors. In fact, the difference is about $7,203 per year.

    While their salaries differ, Substance Abuse Counselors and Mental Health Clinicians both use similar skills to perform their jobs like Treatment Plans, Substance Abuse, and Intake Assessments.

    This is where the similarities find their end though. Each job requires different skills like Relapse Prevention, Methadone, Chemical Dependency, and Asam, which can be used by a Substance Abuse Counselor. Then on the other side of things, Mental Health Clinician uses skills like Trauma, Clinical Supervision, Health Clinician, and Medication Management. Based on these skills, you can truly appreciate the difference between the two careers.

    In general, Mental Health Clinicians make a higher salary in the Utilities industry with an average of $45,648.

    When it comes to education, these two careers couldn't be more different. For example, Mental Health Clinicians reach higher levels of education when compared to Substance Abuse Counselors. The difference is that they're 25.7% more likely to earn a Master's Degree more, and 3.5% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.