How Can I Become a DUI Counselor?

Explore the career requirements for DUI counselors. Get the facts about job duties, education requirements, employment outlook and average wages to decide if this is the career for you. Schools offering Addiction Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does a DUI Counselor Do?

When a person receives a DUI (driving under the influence) they may see a counselor as part of their rehabilitation. DUI counselors work with individuals with substance abuse problems to help them recognize their issues. They focus on helping these people understand how the substance abuse is negatively impacting their life. They work with them to help them understand how to avoid addictive behaviors and refrain from further substance abuse. They may work with people individually or with groups of people. Client confidentiality is very important in this field, and DUI counselors also need to update patient files regarding their assessment of the patient's progress.

Degree Required Varies by state from high school diploma to master's degree
Training Required On-the-job training and/or clinical work
Licensure Licensure or certification required in many states
Key Skills Determining plan of action for clients, connecting with community resources; patience and compassion are essential
Job Growth (2014-2024) 22% (for all substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors)*
Average Annual Wage (2015) $42,920 (for all substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a DUI Counselor?

A DUI counselor is most often referred to as a substance abuse counselor. In this field, you can assist individuals who have either had an incident while abusing alcohol or using drugs or who have a history of substance abuse. Often, you may determine that the person has many other issues that contribute to the substance abuse, including, but not limited to the fact that the substance abuse is still occurring.

Being patient, keenly observant, compassionate and persistent are good abilities to have in this field. The ability to assess challenges, determine a plan of action and help your client apply that plan are also important skills to possess. In addition, connections with community resources may be helpful as you assess your clients' needs, because challenges can vary greatly.

Where Can I Work?

A wide variety of options are available in this field. You can work in community-based service agencies, government agencies, churches and other religious institutions and nonprofit agencies. Although more advanced degrees may be required, you may even be able to pursue a private practice.

What Type of Education Do I Need?

The requirements for a DUI or substance abuse counselor vary drastically from state to state and also job to job. You may need as little as an associate's degree and certification in substance abuse counseling so that you can work with a team of other healthcare professionals to a master's degree, certification, clinical work and licensure to work more independently. You should identify what is necessary in the job that you choose to pursue and also the state in which you choose to practice.

What Is the Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was expected to grow much faster than the average of all other occupations, at 22% from 2014-2024. Insurance companies are now covering more addiction and mental health counseling services, which is a factor in the career growth. The average salary as of May 2015 for a substance abuse counselor was $42,920.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists and social workers all perform duties that are similar to the duties of a DUI counselor. They all see patients, either individually or in groups. Each focuses on helping their patients identify issues that may be affecting their life. They also work with them to help them avoid making poor choices and to help them deal with the negative issues that are affecting their lives. Like DUI counselors they also need to maintain client confidentiality. The education requirements vary from a bachelor's or master's degree to be a social worker, to a master's degree to work as a mental health counselor or marriage and family therapist. All social workers and therapists need to comply with state licensing requirements as well.

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