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Become A Substance Abuse Technician

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Working As A Substance Abuse Technician

  • 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

  • $42,170

    Average Salary

What Does A Substance Abuse Technician 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 A Substance Abuse Technician

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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Substance Abuse Technician jobs

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Substance Abuse Technician Career Paths

Substance Abuse Technician
Addictions Counselor Clinical Supervisor Clinical Director
Administrative Director, Behavioral Health Services
11 Yearsyrs
Clinician Program Director Career Coordinator
Career Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Therapist Clinical Supervisor Nursing Director
Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Clinical Director Adjunct Instructor Clinical Social Worker
Clinical Care Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Clinical Director Nurse Practitioner Registered Nurse Supervisor
Clinical Case Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Therapist Program Director
Clinical Director
9 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Counselor Social Worker Clinical Supervisor
Clinical Program Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Therapist Clinician
Clinical Supervisor
8 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Medical Social Worker
Director Of Social Services
6 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Therapist Mental Health Counselor Social Worker
Director Of Social Work
7 Yearsyrs
Addictions Counselor Social Worker Career Manager
Geriatric Care Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Clinical Supervisor Physical Therapist Case Manager
Housing Case Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Family Therapist Career Coordinator Residence Director
Housing Director
6 Yearsyrs
Social Worker Therapist
Lead Therapist
5 Yearsyrs
Mental Health Counselor Therapist Clinical Director
Outpatient Services Director
9 Yearsyrs
Clinical Supervisor Nursing Director Case Manager
Senior Case Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Clinician Medical Social Worker
Social Work Case Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Adjunct Professor Clinical Social Worker
Social Work Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Service Director Therapist
Therapist And Program Manager
5 Yearsyrs
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Substance Abuse Technician Demographics

Gender

Female

68.2%

Male

30.1%

Unknown

1.7%
Ethnicity

White

82.2%

Hispanic or Latino

9.4%

Asian

6.2%

Unknown

1.6%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

71.7%

Cherokee

3.8%

French

3.8%

Swedish

1.9%

Portuguese

1.9%

Greek

1.9%

Armenian

1.9%

Tagalog

1.9%

Russian

1.9%

Polish

1.9%

Korean

1.9%

Italian

1.9%

Ojibwe

1.9%

Hindi

1.9%
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Substance Abuse Technician Education

Schools

Capella University

10.0%

Liberty University

9.4%

University of Phoenix

9.1%

Grand Canyon University

8.2%

Walden University

6.6%

Wayne State University

6.0%

Michigan State University

4.7%

West Virginia University

4.4%

Nova Southeastern University

4.1%

Troy University

3.8%

University of South Florida

3.8%

Springfield College

3.8%

Marshall University

3.4%

Barry University

3.4%

Webster University

3.4%

Fordham University

3.4%

Western Michigan University

3.4%

Florida Atlantic University

3.1%

University of Wyoming

3.1%

University of Kentucky

2.8%
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Majors

Social Work

19.7%

Psychology

14.3%

Mental Health Counseling

11.0%

School Counseling

9.9%

Counseling Psychology

7.5%

Criminal Justice

6.8%

Human Services

5.9%

Nursing

3.9%

Clinical Psychology

3.2%

Business

3.0%

Sociology

2.1%

Rehabilitation Science

2.0%

Education

1.7%

Family Therapy

1.7%

Pharmacy

1.6%

Nursing Assistants

1.3%

Medical Assisting Services

1.2%

Human Resources Management

1.2%

Health Care Administration

1.0%

Theology

1.0%
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Degrees

Masters

46.9%

Bachelors

23.7%

Other

14.7%

Associate

5.7%

Doctorate

3.9%

Certificate

3.7%

Diploma

0.8%

License

0.5%
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Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Substance Abuse Technician Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Conse Cope Inc. Oklahoma City, OK Sep 26, 2012 $49,941
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Seeds of Hope Waterloo, IA Apr 22, 2008 $30,600
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Cetpa, Inc. Atlanta, GA Feb 07, 2012 $27,000
Substance Abuse and Behavioral Cetpa, Inc. Atlanta, GA Jul 24, 2012 $27,000

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Top Skills for A Substance Abuse Technician

SubstanceAbuseTreatmentIndividualTreatmentPlansAbuseTherapistMentalHealthIssuesCrisisInterventionAlcoholAbuseIntakeAssessmentsGroupTherapySessionsRelapsePreventionIndividualTherapySessionsSubstanceUSEDisordersSubstanceAbuseIssuesDischargePlanningAngerManagementFamilyTherapyAbuseProgramVitalSignsCommunityResourcesCognitiveBehavioralTherapyClinicalSupervision

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Top Substance Abuse Technician Skills

  1. Substance Abuse Treatment
  2. Individual Treatment Plans
  3. Abuse Therapist
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Assessed and referred residents to the appropriate mental health/substance abuse treatment programs and services that would address their illnesses.
  • Provide individual psychotherapy to clients to set goals for and review progress of individual treatment plans.
  • Worked as a Substance Abuse Therapist at the Shands-Vista Florida Recovery Center (Partial Hospitalization Program).
  • Provided Individual and group therapy to adult substance abusers with mental health issues in a residential setting.
  • Conducted intakes, diagnostic assessments and crisis intervention.

Top Substance Abuse Technician Employers

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