How Can I Become a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor?
Licensed chemical dependency counselors help individuals who have addiction problems. Find out the education and license required along with the daily tasks for these professionals. Schools offering Addiction Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
Responsibilities for Chemical Dependency Counselors
These professionals counsel individuals who have substance abuse problems in private and group settings. They also work closely with other social workers and healthcare practitioners to create client treatment plans. As a chemical dependency counselor, you'll participate in conflict resolution sessions with clients and their families. You may also interpret the results of breathalyzer and urine tests to determine a client's level of dependency. Overall, you should be a detailed problem solver with excellent listening skills. In addition, most counselors have a strong understanding of interpersonal relationships.
What Kind of Education Do I Need?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, states vary widely in terms of educational requirements for chemical dependency counseling licensure. In some states, you can qualify for licensure with a high school diploma and professional certification (www.bls.gov). However, many states only accept applicants who have completed some postsecondary training.
To meet this requirement, you could pursue an associate's degree in chemical dependency counseling. If you already hold an associate's or bachelor's degree, certificate programs in this field are also available. A few schools offer substance abuse counseling bachelor's program, but they're rare.
In many programs, your core courses will include group counseling techniques, alcoholism, signs of addiction, professional ethics and case management. Most programs require completion of an internship at a counseling facility. While the hands-on training you'll gain through a postsecondary program could fulfill most of your state's licensure requirements, additional professional experience is often required.
Upon completion of your degree program and required field hours, you can sit for your state's licensure exam. Many states offer different types of licensure depending on education and experience. For example, in Ohio, you can pursue the Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor II (LCDC) credential if you hold an associate's degree in a behavioral science and have completed 5,000 hours of professional substance abuse counseling. If you hold a bachelor's degree in a behavioral science and have completed 4,000 hours of professional experience, you could earn the LCDC III designation. In other states, like Washington, only one level of certification is available.
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