What Does a Drug and Alcohol Counselor Do?

Drug and alcohol counselors work with people who are suffering from alcohol and substance abuse problems. Counselors help patients overcome addiction and adopt sober lifestyles, often in residential or outpatient rehabilitation programs. If you're interested in helping people overcome substance abuse, read on to discover what drug and alcohol counselors do. Schools offering Addiction Counseling degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Duties

As the job title suggests, drug and alcohol counselors offer treatment, support, and motivation to people who have problems with addiction to alcohol and other controlled substances. As a counselor, you'd assist patients in fighting such addictions and offer treatment methods to keep them sober. You'd utilize behavioral treatment approaches and search for underlying psychological and behavioral causes for their patients' addictions.

You may also develop personalized treatment plans for patients and follow up on their progress after they complete rehabilitation. Other job duties may include helping patients' family members cope with their loved ones' recovery process, as well as working in drug abuse prevention and education programs.

Important Facts About Drug and Alcohol Counselors

Required Education High school diploma or GED equivalent
Key Skills Interpersonal communication, compassion, conflict resolution
On-the-job Training Moderate-term length to complete training
Similar Occupations Mental health counselor, community service manager, social worker

Work Settings

When you're ready to seek employment, you could look to residential treatment centers or outpatient facilities, or you could work in private practice. You may provide one-on-one counseling to patients or work in group settings, where patients can share their addiction experiences and engage in supportive discussions with other addicts and with you, the counselor.

Education and Licensing

Education, licensing, and certification requirements for drug and alcohol counselors vary between states, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In many states, you can pursue levels of state certification or licensure, with educational requirements ranging from a high school diploma plus specialized training and experience to a master's degree. Earning a license requires a master's degree, notes the BLS.

Colleges and universities offer degree and certificate programs in drug and alcohol counseling, which study the psychological factors behind drug addictions, as well as the various forms of treatment used in counseling. Through such programs, you may study the different types of addictions, chemical dependency, and general psychology.

Job Outlook and Salary Statistics

According to the BLS, jobs for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors are expected to grow by 31% between 2012 and 2022, likely due to an increased public awareness of drug addictions. This projected rapid job growth is also attributed to governments sending drug users to treatment instead of jailing them. The BLS indicated that in May 2014, the median salary earned by such counselors was $39,270 per year. Those employed by junior colleges earned an average of $63,860 a year, the highest average salary calculated among drug and alcohol counselors.

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

  • Capella University

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    Popular programs at Capella University:

    • Doctoral
    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

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  • Purdue University Global

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  • Grand Canyon University

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    Popular programs at Grand Canyon University:

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    • Master
      • Master - in Christian Counseling
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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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  • Colorado Christian University

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    Popular programs at Colorado Christian University:

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  • Saint Leo University

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  • Keiser University

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  • New England College

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  • Penn Foster High School

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  • Independence University

    Independence University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Independence University:

    • Master

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