Drug Rehab Technician: Career Profile

Drug rehab technicians often work at rehabilitation centers, but they can also work at hospitals, correctional facilities and community outreach centers. They help patients stay on track with drug rehabilitation therapy, inform patients about treatment options and monitor their progress. Most drug rehab technicians possess an academic background related to counseling and social services.

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Drug Rehab Technician Job Duties

Under the larger career category of social and human services assistants, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that assistants and technicians in the rehabilitation industries often worked under the supervision of other medical professionals, such as doctors and psychiatrists (www.bls.gov). Drug rehab technicians, who are referred to as drug rehabilitation counselors in some states, help patients overcome drug addictions through both group and one-on-one therapy sessions.

Technicians often follow the therapeutic care instructions of physicians or social workers. Common duties include routinely checking in on patients and helping them learn the vocational skills needed to rebuild their lives. Drug rehab technicians keep careful notes concerning each patient's progress throughout the rehabilitation program.

Employment Outlook

The BLS predicted that open positions for workers in the social and human services assistants industry would increase by 28% from 2010-2020. Although the BLS showed that the majority of positions would open up for assistants in mental health fields, workers in the substance-abuse industry - such as drug rehab technicians - were also expected to see a fast rate of job growth.

Salary statistics from the BLS show that the median annual salary earned by social and human services assistants throughout the country was $28,850 as of May 2012. During that same year, workers at developmental disability centers, mental health facilities, and substance-abuse facilities earned an average annual salary of $25,950. States with the highest average annual salaries in 2012 included Alaska, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and New York.

Education Requirements

As of 2012, the BLS reports that social and human services employers often prefer to hire candidates who have some college training. However, because a few states consider drug rehab technicians to be the equivalent of drug rehabilitation counselors or social workers, standard education requirements vary significantly. In some states, drug rehab technicians only need a high school diploma; other states require technicians to hold undergraduate or graduate degrees. In addition, licensure as a substance abuse technician or counselor may be required, which usually entails completion of a postsecondary training program and clinical experience hours.

Undergraduate degree and certificate programs in substance abuse counseling can provide workers with a strong academic foundation for this career field. Common topics include addiction counseling, group counseling techniques, abnormal psychology and case management. Most degree programs require students to participate in field experiences or internships that involve direct interaction with patients at rehabilitation centers.

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