If you are looking for a career that allows you to impact the lives of others, you might consider becoming a substance abuse counselor. This career can give you the opportunity to help others transform their lives by supporting their efforts to break free from drug and alcohol addiction.
Substance abuse counselors help clients find ways to end addiction and rebuild their lives. They can also provide assistance with securing housing and jobs, finding support groups to help clients remain drug-free, and obtaining medical care and other health services.
Licensing and education requirements vary significantly by state. Typically, you will need to become certified as a substance abuse counselor in order to provide counseling services, particularly if you plan to open a private practice. State regulations typically require passing a licensing exam and at least 2,000 hours of supervised clinical experience. A bachelor’s or master’s degree can help you advance in the substance abuse counseling field, which can increase your salary.
If you have successfully overcome a substance addiction, you may find that you are a more attractive job candidate in the substance abuse counseling field. Counselors who have overcome substance addictions understand the struggles their clients face when working toward a drug-free life.
Stress management is an essential skill for substance abuse counselors. You may manage a heavy caseload and will frequently deal with emotional clients. In some cases, you may work with clients who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs during counseling sessions.
You may also need to maintain a flexible schedule in order to accommodate clients. You may work long hours, which may include weekends, evenings, and holidays.
Income and Job Outlook
Your income as a substance abuse counselor will depend on your level of education, work experience, and license or certification status. Income also depends on the type of facility in which you work. Counselors who are employed by hospitals typically enjoy higher salaries than those who work in residential treatment centers. Depending on these factors, you can expect to earn a full-time salary between $25,000 and $60,000.
In some cases, courts allow drug and alcohol offenders to opt for rehabilitation in lieu of time in prison. For this reason, the need for substance abuse counselors has increased significantly over the past decade. Available jobs in this field are expected to increase by 27 percent through the end of the decade; however, residential treatment facilities may contribute more significantly to job growth than hospitals and other facilities.
Hayley is an author and freelance blogger. Click here for more information if you or someone you know is battling drug or alcohol addiction.
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