A substance abuse counselor is one who is patient, compassionate, and has the yearning to help those who are experiencing challenges, some quite severe, in their lives. People who are struggling with addiction on many levels need a professional support system, and substance abuse counselors are those professionals who have a passion for helping others. If you are eager to provide support to those in need, a career in substance abuse counseling may be for you.
Why Become A Substance Abuse Counselor
There are a variety reasons why someone would want to become a counselor in the area of substance abuse. Many individuals have overcome their own addictions and would like to help others do the same. They feel the need to share their experiences with those who are suffering as they did, and teach proven methods, strategies, and techniques on how to successfully overcome their addictions. People who suffer from addictions connect with those who are empathetic and who have the commonality of experiences with drugs and alcohol.
Another reason for choosing this career is because you may know you have the abilities to be an excellent listener and communicator with a large spectrum of individuals who are anguished or who are in recovery. You may want to share your kindheartedness with those who need it most, and actually serve a purpose in life. Many people choose this career because they want to be a positive influence on others.
Substance Abuse Counselor Work Environment
When patients who are experiencing an addiction and are possibly in crisis mode, they need immediate attention. However, they also need a calming, peaceful, and nurturing atmosphere. The work environment of a substance abuse counselor can be in settings such as drug treatment facilities, rehabilitation centers, outpatient clinics, and correctional centers. These counselors may also find employment in facilities that provide drug prevention classes, public or private health care, detoxification courses, and programs for those that are on probation.
There are a variety of work environments that these counselors may spend their days or nights. The workplace must be an atmosphere that centers on solace and guidance for the patients, as the patients may be in the middle of a severe addiction, withdrawal of a certain substance or substances, or in recovery and rehabilitation. A place of positivity is vital in all stages of patient care.
Substance Abuse Counselor Salary
The salary of a substance abuse counselor can vary from organization to organization. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly salary for this occupation is $38,520. Of course, this is an average salary, as some counselors have additional titles and degrees, such as the administrator of a treatment facility or those that possess higher degrees and qualifications.
Substance Abuse Counselor Career Outlook
The outlook for this career is positive in terms of employment opportunities. Growth is expected to rise over 30 percent in the next few decades, as unfortunately many people turn to substances for a variety of reasons. Also, more and more counseling and therapeutic treatments are being recognized and covered by insurance companies, which allows more people to receive the treatment they need without complete out of pocket expenses.
Substance Abuse Counselor Degree
All individuals that are interested in becoming a substance abuse counselor must have a high school diploma. Other positions require certificates from certain educational programs that certify the individual to work with those in need. Many people that want to have a career in substance abuse counseling go to college or a university and earn their bachelor’s degree in this field, and even a master’s degree. With degrees in this area, there are many add-on endorsements that can be obtained, such as in the areas of psychology, behavioral counseling, or general therapists, which allows the graduate to not only work with substance abuse patients, but with those who need counseling for emotional and behavioral reasons as well.
If you enjoy assisting others in times of stress, and feel that you have a “calling” to go above and beyond for those who need it most, a career in substance abuse counseling may be for you!