Drug Counseling Certificate and Certification Programs

Drug counselors are certified professionals who assist others in overcoming addiction to drugs. Individuals who earn a Certificate of Completion in the field work for hospitals, rehabilitation centers, mental health facilities, nonprofit organizations and other related agencies.

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Certificate of Completion - Professional Certificate in Substance Abuse Counseling

Each state has a set of credit requirements for prospective substance abuse counselors interested in taking the initial certification exam, such as the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) or the Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor (LDAC) tests. Credit hours can be completed separately or as part of an associate's, bachelor's, master's or doctoral program, depending on the state.

Education Prerequisites

In most states, students must complete at least two semesters of coursework before taking the exam. Some states expect students to obtain a master's degree in counseling with an emphasis in addiction or substance abuse.

Program Coursework

Students in a substance abuse certification program develop strategic planning and empathic listening skills. Courses in interpersonal relations are incorporated into the curriculum, as well as classes covering:

  • Psychopharmacology of addiction disorders
  • History and legal developments in drug abuse
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Relapse prevention
  • Case management
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Treatment models

Salary and Career Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was $38,520 as of May 2012. Substance abuse counselors may work full-time, part-time, evenings, weekends and days.

Continuing Education Information

The initial license, such as the CDAC or LDAC, will expire without additional coursework and professional practice. It may be beneficial to obtain a master's degree and additional counseling licensing. Licensed social workers, marriage and family therapists or clinical psychologists with the additional CADC or LDAC license have an increased potential for higher pay and advanced licensing.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics