What Does a Certified Addictions Counselor Do? - Video

Certified Addictions Counselors help individuals and families deal with issues of addition. Certification levels may include becoming a master addiction counselor or a tobacco addiction specialist. A bachelor's degree is required for certification, though many states also require a master's degree and additional training.

Job Description and Daily Duties

Certified Addictions Counselors assist individuals who have addictions or addictive tendencies toward things such as alcohol, drugs, gambling and food. They work with patients and families to offer advice and tools in dealing with addiction. Duties may include conducting one-on-one counseling sessions, interventions, or group counseling sessions. A counselor's primary goal is to help patients identify triggers and behaviors that may be related to their addictive habits. CACs may also conduct addiction seminars or programs for families to help them deal with a loved one's addiction problem.

Work Setting

Some Certified Addictions Counselors may work in a private practice seeing patients in an office setting throughout the day. Other CACs work for community health organizations or in hospitals and clinics. No matter the location, these counselors need privacy when counseling patients and as such will typically have a private office. They keep notes and files of their patients and work closely with other health care practitioners or officials as needed. CACs who are employed by rehabilitation facilities may work with a variety of patients who can get angry and sometimes violent. In these settings, the right safety precautions need to be taken. Collaboration with other rehab staff and officials is also essential.

How to Get Certified

Certified Addictions Counselors need at least a bachelor's degree in psychology or a related subject. Some states also require these individuals to have a master's degree in counseling, psychology or another related field. The Association for Addiction Professionals offers a national certification program. This association offers three levels of certifications for addictions counselors. In addition, there is an option to gain a tobacco addiction specialist credential.

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