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Substance Abuse Counselor

Substance Abuse Counselors

A substance abuse counselor works with individuals who are struggling with addiction problems, usually involving drugs and/or alcohol. Gambling is also an increasing addiction problem in this country that involves the same sort of counseling, although it is a behavioral problem that does not involve substance intake.

Substance abuse counselors also work actively with the families of an addict, provided that family members are willing to participate. An important part of conquering substance abuse for an individual is helping those who have been harmed by his or her behavior.

Required Education

Most counseling fields require a masters degree combined with many hours of on the job training in order to qualify for a license to practice. Some people gain entry into the field as a certified substance abuse assistant. Many people complete their educational requirements while working in an entry level role with addicts and alcoholics.

Employment

There were 635,000 counselors working in the U.S. in 2007, but less than fifteen percent of them were specialists in drug and alcohol treatment. Many of them worked in existing substance abuse rehabilitation clinics, although an increasing number have opened private practices.

Job Outlook

The number of substance abuse counselors is expected to grow 34% over the next several years. That is far above the rate of growth for counseling jobs and the overall growth in employment. Substance abuse has become a pervasive force in our society and the growth of treatment programs reflects that fact.

Salary Range

Lowest 10%  $11.43  $23,780
Median Salary  $17.10  $35,580
Highest 10%  $26.75  $55,650

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

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