Substance abuse counsellors work with patients and help them through alcohol, drug and other substance abuse recovery. Their work typically involves partnering with patients’ families or friends to navigate through the rehabilitation process with various treatment strategies.
Nights, weekends, holidays occasionally
A substance abuse counsellor’s working hours will typically depend on their place of employment, though working the occasional evening, weekend or holiday is to be expected.
The work requires frequent travel to visit the patients’ homes, workplaces or other venues where individuals might feel more comfortable. You will also fulfill your day-to-day tasks in a clinic, such as a substance abuse centre or outpatient mental health institution, where you have access to records, resources and experts who can provide an informed opinion.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
DVM / VMD degree
You’ll typically need a bachelor’s degree in psychology, mental health counselling or clinical social work to become a substance abuse counsellor. That said, some employers might accept a high school diploma, while others might request a master’s degree.
Substance abuse counselors are mandated to hold certification in most jurisdictions, whether you are employed in private practice or at a government-run facility. In order to become certified, you will need to complete as many as 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, in addition to a state-issued exam. You will also need to complete continuing education courses every year.
Substance abuse counsellors can typically advance to supervisory, management or training positions following several years of experience, hours of one-on-one care and many successful cases.