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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

  • $75,343

    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 Demographics

Gender

Female

67.0%

Male

31.4%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

63.1%

Black or African American

12.8%

Hispanic or Latino

12.7%

Asian

7.2%

Unknown

4.2%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

61.5%

Cherokee

15.4%

Portuguese

7.7%

Polish

7.7%

Ojibwe

7.7%
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Substance Abuse Technician Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

12.8%

Liberty University

8.1%

Missouri State University

8.1%

Grand Canyon University

8.1%

University of Central Missouri

7.0%

Central Piedmont Community College

4.7%

University of Louisiana at Lafayette

4.7%

Capella University

4.7%

Marshall University

3.5%

Central New Mexico Community College

3.5%

University of South Florida

3.5%

University of Kentucky

3.5%

Everest University - North Orlando

3.5%

University of West Florida

3.5%

University of Illinois at Chicago

3.5%

City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College

3.5%

City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College

3.5%

Wake Technical Community College

3.5%

West Virginia University

3.5%

Drury University

3.5%
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Majors

Psychology

20.2%

Social Work

12.8%

Criminal Justice

11.5%

Human Services

7.8%

Mental Health Counseling

5.9%

Business

5.3%

School Counseling

4.0%

Medical Assisting Services

4.0%

Sociology

4.0%

Counseling Psychology

3.7%

Nursing

3.4%

Health Care Administration

2.5%

Nursing Assistants

2.5%

Pharmacy

2.2%

Education

1.9%

Human Resources Management

1.9%

Accounting

1.9%

General Studies

1.6%

English

1.6%

Rehabilitation Science

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

35.5%

Other

25.1%

Masters

18.8%

Associate

12.1%

Certificate

4.9%

Diploma

1.9%

Doctorate

1.6%

License

0.2%
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Top Skills for A Substance Abuse Technician

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  1. Substance Abuse
  2. Treatment Plans
  3. Intake Assessments
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Supported juveniles during recovery of substance abuse issues and attended recovery meetings with them.
  • Support treatment plans by reporting client observations and contributing to decisions concerning therapy, discipline and privileges.
  • Advised clients regarding drug and alcohol awareness and psychotherapy.
  • Monitored clients vital signs, provided information and transportation for resources to help clients.
  • Provide crisis intervention and referral information.

How Would You Rate Working As a Substance Abuse Technician?

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Top Substance Abuse Technician Employers

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Jobs From Top Substance Abuse Technician Employers

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