Certified Substance Abuse Counselors: Job Outlook and Career Information for Becoming a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor
Qualifications to be a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor vary considerably: a few states will license high school graduates upon completion of a 12-month program, but job opportunities are restricted. Most states require a master's degree in counseling with clinical experience. Some employers offer on-the-job training, or assist interested candidates in obtaining a master's degree.
Career Definition: Certified Substance Abuse Counselor
Counselors help clients understand the nature of substance abuse and modify their addictive behaviors to break the cycles of dependence. Professionals in Substance Abuse Counseling and Therapy also work with friends and family of addicted individuals. Certified Substance Abuse Counselors are in much demand in nursing, health care, psychology, social work, criminal justice, college counseling and youth services.
Training to Become a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor
Education Information for Careers in Substance Abuse Counseling and Therapy
Most states require Certified Substance Abuse Counselors to have a master's degree in counseling, undergo two years of supervised clinical experience and pass either a National Certified Counselor exam or a state-administered exam. Certified Substance Abuse Counselors are often licensed by a different agency than other counselors. Candidates should check with state and local governments and national certification organizations to determine which requirements might meet their career goals.
Skills Needed in the Field of Substance Counseling and Therapy
Certified Substance Abuse Counselors should have a strong desire to help people and be able to inspire the respect and confidence of others. Counseling is stressful for the counselor as well as the client, so considerable physical and emotional resilience is needed. Counselors are expected to adhere to a formal code of ethics and pursue a program of continuing education.
Economic Outlook for a Career in Substance Abuse Counseling and Therapy
The median salary for Substance Abuse Counselors was $34,000 in 2006 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), www.bls.gov. There were 83,000 jobs in 2006, and job opportunities are predicted to grow much faster than other occupations. Many Certified Substance Abuse Counselors work for the government, health care agencies, or therapeutic communities caring for people undergoing treatment for addictions; however, with recent changes in insurance coverage, an increasing number are self-employed or in private practice.
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