Substance Abuse Counselor Certifications Process and Licensing Boards

Finally, state licensure shows that a counselor has satisfied certain requirements and is thus able to practice within the scope of that license. While experience is always a huge benefit when seeking employment, a license is iron-clad proof of skills and knowledge. There are a range of counseling careers that differ in terms of the level of support and expertise provided, and the qualifications and licensure required for the position.

Why substance use can worsen mental health - Sanford Health News

Why substance use can worsen mental health.

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Can you be a substance abuse counselor without a degree?

  • The median certified substance abuse counselor salary is around $47,660 as of 2020, according to the BLS.
  • Find information about salary ranges and earning potential for substance abuse counselors.
  • The experiential portion of one's application can span from 350 hours to five years of supervised training.
  • For instance, a person under the influence of alcohol or drugs will often exhibit behavioral changes.
  • The requirements to become a substance abuse counselor can differ depending on the state and employer.

Our curriculum, along with your practical experiences will help to prepare you for this exam. As part of your educational requirements, 255 hours of practical experience (practicum) is required. These hours are essentially an internship where you experience the typical day-to-day tasks that a substance abuse counselor handles. A bachelor’s degree can do more than just reduce the number of hours you have to work to attain full credentialing. Whereas IC&RC certifications typically grant equivalency credit for degrees, the NAADAC certification recognizes the degree directly.

how to get started working in substance abuse counseling

What does it take to become a certified addiction counselor?

  • This growth reflects an increased need for addiction services and the expanding recognition of addiction counseling's role in public health and recovery​.
  • Job requirements for substance abuse counselors vary by state and specialty.
  • While requirements vary by state, Hazelden Betty Ford's certified addiction counselor training programs are some of the most widely respected in the country.
  • As part of your educational requirements, 255 hours of practical experience (practicum) is required.
  • All of these are acceptable and expected parts of being a substance abuse counselor.
  • Furthermore, a master’s degree can enable one to expand beyond addiction counseling into new clinical areas or even a higher administrative position.

The addiction recovery field also heavily relies on addiction counselors tasked with the direct treatment of individuals through counseling sessions, therapy, and continuous support. These professionals are often required to have higher educational qualifications and are key to devising treatment plans attuned to the individual needs of their clients​. Several states have started recognizing the need for master's-degree-level addiction counseling licensure and certification. But there are other reasons a graduate program is your best option if you're looking for a long-term career in the substance use disorder (SUD) counseling field.

What Makes a Good Addiction Counselor?

  • Examples include the National Counselor Examination (NCE) and the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE).
  • Counselors generally assess clients and work with them and their families to address their addiction and make the necessary changes.
  • If an applicant has any infractions on their background check, they should be prepared to address those issues and document that the matters are now closed to the satisfaction of the court.
  • Many substance abuse counselors also choose to work toward additional certifications and/or higher education.

Addictions counselors who wish to specialize in adolescent care should consider this national certification. Applicants need at least a bachelor’s degree in substance use disorders/addiction or some related field such as social work, mental health counseling, or psychology. Transcripts should also reflect 270 contact hours of academic training in substance use disorders/addiction, including 70 hours of training pertinent to adolescent treatment. The experience requirement for substance abuse counseling this specialty is quite strenuous, and applicants need a minimum of 10,000 hours or 5 years of supervised counseling; 2.5 years or 5,000 total hours of that experience must be with adolescent clients. To seal the certification process, applicants need to pass the NCAC examination. Note that all of the education requirements require official documentation, including official academic transcripts, and signed documents attesting to the requisite number of supervised hours.

  • The use of a paradoxical intention may not be applicable to all clients, especially those who have severe cognitive impairments or active psychotic disorders.
  • Addiction counseling is a professional field that promotes lifelong education and personal growth—not only for patients but also for practitioners.
  • A drug and alcohol abuse counselor is a person with experience in providing treatment to clients who want to learn how to reduce or remove their unhealthy dependence on destructive substances and behaviors.
  • It makes it pretty clear that a person has taken the time to establish competency in addiction counseling.

National Certifications for Substance Abuse Counselors

Professionals in the addiction studies field must acquire specific certifications and licenses to practice, which vary by state and the type of services they intend to offer. Frequently, state licensing agencies offer this credential as a second-tier licensure for substance abuse counselors. Though different states have their own schemas for how they rank licenses, the LASAC can be the next step after one has worked for a while as a licensed substance abuse counselor technician. To become a LASAC, applicants are usually required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited academic institution.

Work Experience Hours

Even in major cities, medication units can be a valuable resource and can help to increase access to treatment. In the United States, the use medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) in opioid treatment programs (OTPs) is governed by the Certification of Opioid Treatment Programs, 42 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 8. In addition, opioid use disorder (OUD) patients receiving these medications also receive counseling and other behavioral therapies to provide a whole-person approach. The regulation created a system to certify and accredit OTPs, allowing them to administer and dispense FDA-approved medications. In addition to passing a test, there is often a period of supervised practice. It's common for state boards to require that one's supervisor be licensed and have ample experience in the field.

2022 US Bureau of Labor Statistics salary figures and job growth projections for substance abuse counselors is based on national data, not school-specific information. In 2022, the median annual salary for substance abuse counselors was $49,710. Counselors who hold graduate degrees often report higher salaries, with the top 10% of professionals in the field earning more than $77,980. These counselors work with a team of healthcare professionals to deliver comprehensive care. They can operate in various settings, including private offices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and community health clinics.

how to get started working in substance abuse counseling

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