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Substance Abuse Counseling

American Politician Patrick J. Kennedy once said “no one isimmune from addiction; it afflicts people of all ages, races, classes andprofessions.”

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 23.9million Americans aged 12 and older – representing 9.2 percent of the currentpopulation – are addicted to illicit substances or have abused prescriptionmedication.

Substance abuse counselors diagnose and treat clients whoare suffering from serious addictions to drugs and alcohol. They craft atreatment and support plan for clients based on their individual needs.Substance abuse counselors can work in clinics, government programs, public andprivate hospitals, prisons, outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation treatmentcenters or in private practice.

A variety of degrees are available in substance abusecounseling, in both traditional college settings and through online educationprograms. A minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in a psychology orcounseling-related profession will be required to work as a substance abusecounselor. Coursework will include the topics of psychology, individual andgroup/family counseling techniques, addiction studies, psychopharmacology andcounseling methods and procedures.

Some states have specific requirements that must be met inorder to work in the field. In all states, substance abuse counselor candidatesalso must have a clean legal record in order to work in the field. Some statesrequire certification and licensure, as well as continuing education tomaintain licensure once it is originally earned. Candidates should check therequirements for their intended state of practice to ensure all have been met.

Demand for substance abuse counselors is expected toincrease by 27 percent between now and 2020, according to data provided by theU.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average annual salary for substance abusecounselors is $38,120. 

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