Substance abuse counselors are trained specialists who offer high-quality, personalized counseling services to patients who are or were addicted to drugs. These counselors can bring a massive contribution to the lives of these people, and the job is very satisfactory overall. These professionals usually help drug addicts overcome crisis and they also assist them with all the long-term management issues that may arise from the drug addiction. However, the duties and responsibilities of the substance abuse counselors usually extend outside the counseling room, as they often help addicts find a job, medical help, support from people who have gone through the same experiences and even a job.
The median yearly salary of a substance abuse counselor in the United States of America is of around $38,000, although some of them were able to make as much as $60,000 a year or even more, depending on the work environment and their geographical location.
Pay Scale In Different Parts Of The United States of America
Behavioral disorder and substance abuse counselors are paid differently across the United States of America, and the highest paying state for these professionals is said to be Hawaii, as this is where they make around $56,000 a year. On the second place there is the state of New Jersey where these counselors make around $55,000 a year, followed by the state of Utah with just over $46,000 a year, Wisconsin with over $45,000 a year and the state of Minnesota with around $43,000.
Substance Abuse Counselor Job Description
Nowadays, substance abuse counselors work in a variety of different settings where they provide patients with top-notch counseling services. These professionals can be found in prisons and juvenile detention centers, as well as in state owned hospitals and residential treatment facilities. It often happens that the substance abuse counselors serve as the emotional pillars for those who suffered from a severe drug abuse in the past, and who are likely to pass through an intense emotional crisis. This is why it is extremely important for the substance abuse counselor to show empathy and genuine care. Besides this, the rate for recividism is very high amongst alcohol and drug addicts.
How To Become A Substance Abuse Counselors?
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- Bachelor of Science in Psychology
- Master of Science in Psychology with an Emphasis in General Psychology
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- M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Emphasis in Trauma
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The formal, academic education plays a pivotal role in the process of becoming a substance abuse counselor these days, although the precise job requirements may vary greatly depending on the employer. Most of these professionals start their career by enrolling in a special counseling program that only requires a high school diploma or an equivalent. That being said, a Bachelor’s Degree or a Master’s Degree in a related field are absolutely essential, in spite of the fact that most substance abuse counselors these days get most of their training on the job, under the close supervision of a more experienced and licensed counselor.
Working as a substance abuse counselor takes a lot more than just education and determination, given the fact that this is a highly demanding position that requires them to have outstanding speaking and listening skills. It is very important for these professionals to be able to connect with their patients, and to stay calm even under the most stressful situations. The substance abuse counselors who choose to work in state owned hospitals and various residential facilities also have great opportunities for advancement, as they can advance to a higher supervisory position although this requires higher education coupled with specialized training.
If you plan to work as a substance abuse counselor in the United States of America, it is important to know that a license or a certification in the field can certainly help you secure your position. In addition to the higher education (you must have at least a Master’s Degree in the field), every substance abuse counselor must also have around three thousand hours of clinical experience, under the care and supervision of a more experienced and licensed counselor. The final barrier between you and your certification is the state exam administered by the NBCC, or the National Board for Certified Counselors.
Substance Abuse Counselor Salary In Canada, Australia And The United Kingdom
The median hourly pay for a substance abuse counselor in Canada is of Ca$20,00/hour, while in the United Kingdom these professionals should expect to make up to 23,000 pounds a year. In Australia, however, these professionals make between Au$45,000 and Au$55,000 a year.
Verdict On Substance Abuse Counselor Salary
To conclude, substance abuse counselors can get a very motivating salary and the opportunities for advancement are very encouraging as well.