What Is the Employment Outlook for Addiction Counseling Careers?

If you're interested in helping others overcome addictions, then a career in addiction counseling might be for you. You'll find that the employment outlook is going to be favorable for careers in this industry. Read on to learn about the job growth and average salary for various careers in addiction counseling. Schools offering Addiction Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Description

Addiction counseling involves helping individuals addicted to drugs, alcohol, food, gambling or other types of addictions. You'll first work to identify what behaviors led to the addiction. Then, you'll do your part in the counseling process, which can be done on an individual basis, in a group setting or with the family members affected by the addiction. Related positions can include addiction counseling psychologists, addictions nurses and addictions counseling human and social services assistants.

Important Facts About Addiction Counseling Careers

On-the-Job Training Short-term training provided (for all human and social services assistants); Internship/residency (for all psychologists)
Key Skills Empathy, close listening, attention to detail, problem solving, critical thinking, patience, clear spoken communication
Work Environment Hospitals; outpatient care centers; government agencies; individual and family services; residential intellectual and developmental disability, mental health, and substance abuse facilities
Similar Occupations Physicians assistants; personal care aides; rehabilitation counselors; school and career counselors; social workers; mental health counselors; marriage and family therapists

Job Outlook for Substance Abuse Counselors

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the overall employment growth for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is expected to be 22% from 2014-2024. This rate is much faster than average and is expected to result in an increase of 21,200 jobs in the field over that decade. As a result of all this growth, the job outlook is expected to be favorable, due to the high turnover in the field.

The BLS notes that changes in health insurance policies will drive growth since counseling services will be covered. There will be a need for more counselors at mental health centers to meet demand for services. In addition, drug offenders are more often getting counseling, and workers will be needed to help with treatment programs. As of May 2014, the average wage for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was $41,870, according to the BLS

Job Outlook for Addictions Counseling Psychologists

The overall growth for psychologists is expected to be 19% from 2014-2024, according to the BLS. Some factors of growth include an increased demand for these professionals at mental health centers, as well as an increase of people seeking treatment for their problems. Despite this growth, you can expect competition for this position. As a result, you'll want to obtain a doctorate degree to have the best employment opportunities. The BLS reported that clinical, counseling and school psychologists averaged $74,030 in May 2014.

Job Outlook for Addictions Nurses

Addictions nurses are registered nurses who work specifically with those recovering from addictions. Specific employment information wasn't available for this profession from the BLS as of May 2014. However, the job outlook for registered nurses in general is projected to be excellent, with 16% growth expected from 2014-2024. Specific industries had different levels of growth. You'll find employment to be favorable especially with the growth of the population combined with a growing elderly community. Registered nurses in general averaged $69,790 in May 2014, according to the BLS.

Job Outlook for Addictions Counseling Human and Social Services Assistants

From 2012-2022, an 11% growth in employment is expected for social and human service assistants. This is faster than the average when compared to other vocations. This growth is driven by the increasing aging population and a demand for addictions treatment, especially for offenders. As a result of this growth and the high turnover in the field, job opportunities should be ample, reports the BLS. This is especially true if you have postsecondary education relevant to addiction counseling. You'll find more openings in urban areas - typically where these workers are needed the most. As of May 2014, the BLS reported these professionals averaged $31,860 annually.

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