Certified Addictions Counselor Certificate and Career

A certified addiction counselor provides individual or group counseling services in a facility like a hospital, clinic or private practice. Find out the education and certification requirements for this career. Schools offering Addiction Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

A counseling degree program will help you gain the skills necessary to assess patients, provide education and support, understand the psychology of addiction, form treatment programs and advise patients on available services. Most counseling degree programs include an internship component, allowing you to gain experience while accumulating many of the hours required by certification and state licensing programs.

Program Options Certificate and Associate's degree in Addictive Disorders Counseling, Graduate Certificate in Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Human Services, Master degrees in Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Community Counseling
Career Outlook Much faster than average job growth of 31% from 2012-2022 projected for this career field
Licensing/Certification All states require licensure for private practice counselors; certification requirements for non-private practice counselors vary by state, but many states typically require passage of a state competency exam

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Might I Need to Become a Certified Addictions Counselor?

The education requirements for certification as an addictions counselor depend on the state you practice in. Some states allow counselors to work with patients and obtain certification after earning a certificate or associate's degree in alcohol and drug counseling, substance abuse counseling, or addiction counseling. However, many of the certificate and associate's degree programs are offered with the expectation that you will pursue a higher degree upon graduation. Most states will require you to hold a bachelor's degree or a master's degree in counseling or psychology, accumulate a certain number of hours of counseling and pass an exam before obtaining a license to practice or before pursuing certification.

How Do I Become Licensed or Certified?

You will need to learn the specific education, certification and licensure requirements of the state wherein you intend to practice. Your state may not require you to be licensed; however, all states do require addiction counselors in private practice to become licensed. You will need to check your state's licensing criteria in order to determine how to obtain your license.

Certification as an addiction counselor is mostly voluntary. The benefits of becoming certified may include a higher salary and more employment opportunities. Different certification programs have specific requirements regarding your degree and the number of hours of experience you must have. You will need to pass a certification exam once you meet your state's requirements. State regulatory boards or professional organizations, such as the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) or the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) offer certification programs and administer exams.

What Will My Career Be Like?

Once you have earned your degree, obtained a license to practice counseling in your state, and determined whether you need to seek certification, you can begin to look for employment or open your own counseling practice. Employers that hire addiction counselors include hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, mental health centers or private counseling practices. You may counsel individuals or groups of patients and might also be responsible for maintaining records, designing treatment plans, working with patients' families or dealing with crises.

As an addictions counselor, you need to have a calm demeanor, be able to follow a code of ethics, keep information confidential and be able to effectively deal with peoples' emotions. You can expect to make a mean annual wage of $41,870 as an addictions counselor, according to the May 2014 salary report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov).

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools

  • George Mason University

    George Mason University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at George Mason University:

    • Master
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  • The George Washington University

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    Popular programs at The George Washington University:

    • Master
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  • Strayer University

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    Popular programs at Strayer University:

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  • Kaplan University

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  • American University

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  • Utica College

    Utica College responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Utica College:

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  • Grand Canyon University

    Grand Canyon University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

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  • Capella University

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  • University of the Rockies

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    Popular programs at University of the Rockies:

    • Master

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  • Northcentral University

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