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Substance Abuse Social Worker

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What is a Substance Abuse Social Worker?

Substance Abuse Social Worker Definition Assess and treat individuals with mental, emotional, or substance abuse problems, including abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and/or other drugs. Activities may include individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, case management, client advocacy, prevention, and education.

Daily Life Of a Substance Abuse Social Worker

  • Plan or conduct programs to prevent substance abuse, combat social problems, or improve health or counseling services in community.
  • Educate clients or community members about mental or physical illness, abuse, medication, or available community resources.
  • Counsel or aid family members to assist them in understanding, dealing with, or supporting the client or patient.
  • Develop or advise on social policy or assist in community development.
  • Collaborate with counselors, physicians, or nurses to plan or coordinate treatment, drawing on social work experience and patient needs.
  • Assist clients in adhering to treatment plans, such as setting up appointments, arranging for transportation to appointments, or providing support.

Substance Abuse Social Worker Skills

When polled, Substance Abuse Social Workers say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.

Types of Substance Abuse Social Worker

  • Clinician
  • Community Mental Health Social Worker
  • Psychotherapist
  • Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
  • Mental Health Practitioner

Are There Job Opportunities for Substance Abuse Social Workers?

There were about 123,900 jobs for Substance Abuse Social Worker in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 19.4% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 24,000 new jobs for Substance Abuse Social Worker by 2026. There will be an estimated 15,900 positions for Substance Abuse Social Worker per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Substance Abuse Social Workers in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Substance Abuse Social Worker are Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Maine, Rhode Island, or Illinois. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Average Substance Abuse Social Workers Salary

Substance Abuse Social Workers make between $28,310 and $78,910 a year.

Salary Ranges for Substance Abuse Social Workers

Substance Abuse Social Workers who work in New Jersey, District of Columbia, or Connecticut, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Substance Abuse Social Workers in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $36,700
Alaska $46,420
Arizona $39,390
Arkansas $40,560
California $61,640
Colorado $46,980
Connecticut $63,290
Delaware $50,700
District of Columbia $69,690
Florida $44,100
Georgia $39,600
Hawaii $67,930
Idaho $47,720
Illinois $46,540
Indiana $43,040
Iowa $47,580
Kansas $40,900
Kentucky $35,600
Louisiana $40,960
Maine $56,000
Maryland $53,780
Massachusetts $43,270
Michigan $50,060
Minnesota $55,460
Mississippi $41,470
Missouri $38,880
Montana $37,950
Nebraska $41,320
Nevada $60,540
New Hampshire $57,110
New Jersey $79,130
New Mexico $45,260
New York $62,130
North Carolina $50,270
North Dakota $53,760
Ohio $44,840
Oklahoma $37,380
Oregon $49,380
Pennsylvania $38,440
Rhode Island $52,730
South Carolina $35,330
South Dakota $40,330
Tennessee $38,180
Texas $40,470
Utah $45,830
Vermont $42,620
Virginia $51,660
Washington $53,780
West Virginia $33,880
Wisconsin $46,730
Wyoming $49,660

Tools & Technologies Used by Substance Abuse Social Workers

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Substance Abuse Social Workers:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Web browser software
  • Email software
  • Word processing software
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Database software
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Scheduling software
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer
  • Medical procedure coding software
  • Medical condition coding software
  • Corel WordPerfect
  • Adobe Systems Adobe PageMaker
  • Patient electronic medical record EMR software

How do I Become a Substance Abuse Social Worker?

Individuals working as a Substance Abuse Social Worker have obtained the following education levels:

Substance Abuse Social Worker Degree Level

What work experience do I need to become a Substance Abuse Social Worker?

Substance Abuse Social Worker Work Experience

Where Substance Abuse Social Workers Are Employed

Substance Abuse Social Worker Sectors

The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

Substance Abuse Social Worker Industries

Other Jobs You May be Interested In

Those thinking about becoming a Substance Abuse Social Worker might also be interested in the following careers:


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More about our data sources and methodologies.

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