For those interested in pursuing a career as a substance abuse counselor, classes in psychology, deviant behavior, pharmacology, intervention strategies, assessment, and group counseling are just a few that may be required. Programs may be offered in this field of study at the certificate, associate, bachelor’s, and graduate level.
Jobs may be available with hospitals, mental health or substance abuse facilities, community centers, or halfway houses. Educational requirements will vary based on the specific employer and position, but can range from a high school diploma to a master’s degree. Though it is important to note, those with less formal education will need more extensive on-the-job training before they are allowed to work with patients on their own.
Substance abuse counselors are in charge of working with patients, either one on one or in a group setting. They will help assess their mental, physical, and behavioral issues and their openness to treatment. They will then work to devise a treatment plan and administer counseling sessions. They may also lead group sessions and classes.
Counselors in this field will also collaborate closely with psychiatrists, social workers, doctors, and nurses to ensure patients are receiving well-rounded care. Though it is less common in this specialization, some substance abuse counselors may also work in private practice, either individually or with a group of other professionals.