Substance Abuse and Behavior Disorder Counselor: Education and Career Information
There are a number of substance abuse counseling initiatives in place, but what types of careers are available for this industry? A substance abuse and behavior disorder counselor is one of the first positions that directly deals with clients who are seeking assistance for rehabilitation or other behavior problems. This client may have been referred as part of a diversion program, or one that is there as a result of a family member. This position is also called an addiction counselor and can be a very rewarding career for someone who enjoys doing research and dealing with individuals that may need assistance in dealing with daily life after an addiction or some other social problem.
What does a substance abuse and behavior disorder counselor do?
A substance abuse and behavior disorder counselor has a number of duties. They work with clients on an individual basis and also in group settings. From the onset, they work to assess and evaluate each client based on certain criteria such as their addiction, behavioral problems, mental or physical health and whether or not they are ready to commit to treatment. These positions also assist in developing treatment goals and plans in conjunction with the client.
These substance abuse and behavior disorder counselors help clients develop skills and learn why they are displaying certain behaviors, working to alleviate and/or rectify these behaviors once realized. They refer clients to other outlets and resources to get the information and assistance they need, whether it is housing, social services or employment. They also conduct outreach programs that will identify addiction and other behaviors that are causing a detriment to the client.
How much does a substance abuse and behavior disorder counselor earn?
The salary for a behavior disorder counselor, or substance abuse counselor varies depending on the amount of experience they have, the location where their position is located, and educational level. On average, these counselors make about $18.57 per hours, or $38,620 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low scale, substance abuse counseling pays about $25,200. Employment in this area is expected to grow by 31 percent through 2022, which is faster than the average for other industries.
What types of skills are required to be a substance abuse and behavior disorder counselor?
There are a number of skills needed to be a substance abuse and behavior disorder counselor:
Psychology: There must be a strong background in psychology to understand the individuals in which this position must work. Being able to pinpoint when the clients are not being truthful, taking the time to really assess their mental state, and anticipating their next actions all require a strong psychology presence.
Customer Service: Dealing with others means you have to have strong customer service skills. It is important to be able to convey information effectively, and handle people on an everyday basis, regardless of things they have done.
Therapy and counseling: A substance abuse and behavior disorder counselor must have a thorough knowledge of therapy and counseling in order to do an effective job. It is important to have all the training and necessary certifications to be a counselor that can get results.
Active Listening: Being able to listen to clients, their families and other individuals is key in being successful in this role. It is an important element in therapy and counseling, and also works in conjunction with the other components of skills that are needed to do a good job.
Reading comprehension: A substance abuse and behavior disorder counselor must be able to read documents, research and other items that may or may not be distributed to individuals or groups. There may be times when clients have to write certain information. As their counselor, lacking effective reading comprehension skills will only hinder both the client and the counselor from making progress.
Critical Thinking: A counselor of this nature must be able to think critically to understand the mindset of the clients. Many times clients are still in denial and will say anything to get out of treatment. It is important to be able to recognize certain scenarios and when clients are not doing the work to get better in their treatment plans.
Coordination: Coordinating schedules and a number of other variables is important in being able to successfully deliver services in a thorough and professional manner. Clients should be able to view the counselor and how they act and interact in coordinating meetings, events, individual meetings and group counseling settings. Being able to coordinate and maintain client files under extreme confidentiality is also a major factor.
Time Management: One of the most important components that must be in place for clients to emulate is the effectiveness of time management. As a counselor, making sure you are always on time, things are prepared in a timely manner, and clients can see things getting done is invaluable in making sure the job is being done correctly.
Persuasion: A substance abuse and behavior disorder counselor must be able to use persuasion in certain instances when clients are unsure about where they stand or whether or not they can complete the treatment program. Being able to convince them of their progress and how effective a program can be is important in getting results.
2,000 to 4,000 hours of supervised, clinical experience is required prior to getting licensed by the state.
Depending on the type of work and the setting where the individual will work plays a huge role in the educational background they must attain. The educational requirements vary based on what is required from the place of employment. If in private practice, the substance abuse and behavior disorder counselor must be licensed. Let’s take a look at the process:
The first step should be enrolling in a bachelor’s degree program to obtain this degree. Once this have been completed, the individual should further their education and obtain a master’s degree to attain licensure. The National Board for Certified Counselors will have the standards for the national exam and any other information needed.
A career in behavior disorder counseling can be challenging, but is also rewarding for individuals who want to make a difference in the lives of others. By understanding how much of an impact can be made, you can be part of life-changing components in someone’s life.
Does the Human Mind Fascinate You? Study Psychology at Grand Canyon University - Bachelor's and Master's Degrees Available!
- M.S. in Christian Counseling
- M.S. in Professional Counseling with an Emphasis in Childhood and Adolescence Disorders
- M.S. in Professional Counseling with an Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy
- And more...
Earn a respected bachelor's degree, master's degree, or Ph.D. online at Walden University.
- M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling - Career Counseling
- M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling - Trauma and Crisis Counseling
- M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling - Military Families & Culture
- And more...
Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose.
- Certificate in Trauma
- Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- Certificate in Clinical Mental Health Counseling
- And more...
Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges.
- Psychology (BA) (Online)
There is a Simple Path to Your Future. Take that First Step with FindTopColleges!
WELCOME TO KAPLAN UNIVERSITY
Online Education That Fits Your Life
For 80 years, we’ve been preparing students for career success. We’ve led the wayso that our students can too.
- MS in Psychology - Addictions
- MS in Psychology - Applied Behavior Analysis Specialization
- And more...
Recognized by the U.S. News and World Report for: Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s 2017, Best Online Programs, Grad Education 2017 and Best Online Programs, Bachelor’s for Veterans 2017
- Sports Counseling (Certificate) - Online
- Spiritual, Ethical, and Religious Counseling (Certificate) - Online
As a student at South University, you will have the opportunity to learn from accomplished faculty members who have real-world experience in the subjects that they teach. Our small class sizes allow you to receive personalized attention from instructors, and the encouragement to recognize your goals for the future and the means to achieve them.
- Clinical Mental Health Counseling (MA)
- Psychology (BA)
Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.
- DMFT - Mental Health Administration
- MAMFT - LGBTQ Couple and Family Therapy
- DMFT - Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship
- And more...
A degree from CTU can connect you to what matters most: powerful professional network, faculty who are real-world professionals and innovative technology. So once you earn your degree you hit the ground sprinting. Are you in?
- Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Consumer Behavior
- Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Organizational Behavior
- Bachelor of Science in Psychology
Welcome to Argosy University
Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges: College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education, College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.
- Psychology (BA) (Online)