What is a Substance Abuse Counselor?
Substance Abuse Counselor Job Description Counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, drug, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. May counsel individuals, families, or groups or engage in prevention programs.
Substance Abuse Counselor Responsibilities
- Train or supervise student interns or new staff members.
- Counsel family members to assist them in understanding, dealing with, and supporting clients or patients.
- Provide clients or family members with information about addiction issues and about available services or programs, making appropriate referrals when necessary.
- Develop client treatment plans based on research, clinical experience, and client histories.
- Develop, implement, or evaluate public education, prevention, or health promotion programs, working in collaboration with organizations, institutions, or communities.
- Act as liaisons between clients and medical staff.
Substance Abuse Counselor Skills
When polled, Substance Abuse Counselors 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.
Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.
Types of Substance Abuse Counselor
- Correctional Substance Abuse Counselor
- Behavior Therapist
- Addiction Counselor
- Substance Abuse Counselor (SA Counselor)
- Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADAC)
Job Demand for Substance Abuse Counselors
In 2016, there was an estimated number of 102,400 jobs in the United States for Substance Abuse Counselor. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 23.2% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 23,800 new jobs for Substance Abuse Counselor by 2026. The BLS estimates 14,100 yearly job openings in this field.
The states with the most job growth for Substance Abuse Counselor are Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. Watch out if you plan on working in Rhode Island, Maine, or Idaho. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.
Tools & Technologies Used by Substance Abuse Counselors
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Substance Abuse Counselors:
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Office
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Microsoft Outlook
- Web browser software
- Email software
- Word processing software
- Spreadsheet software
- Database software
- Scheduling software
- Statistical software
- Presentation software
- IBM Lotus Notes
- Case management software
- Athena Software Penelope Case Management
- Addison Health Systems WritePad EMR Systems
- Practice Technology Prevail
How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor
What education is needed to be a Substance Abuse Counselor?
What work experience do I need to become a Substance Abuse Counselor?
Those thinking about becoming a Substance Abuse Counselor might also be interested in the following careers:
- Low Vision Therapists, Orientation and Mobility Specialists, and Vision Rehabilitation Therapists
- Advanced Practice Psychiatric Nurses
Career changers with experience as a Substance Abuse Counselor sometimes find work in one of the following fields:
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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