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How To Become A Substance Abuse Counselor

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors help people who have problems with alcohol, drugs, gambling, and eating disorders. Employment of counselors, particularly rehabilitation and substance abuse and counselors, is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014.

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Argosy University's criminal justice bachelor degree program can prepare you for a career as a substance abuse counselor. The pace is up to you - Attend class anytime, anywhere, 24/7. No campus attendance is required.

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Professionals in this field counsel individuals who are addicted to drugs, helping them to identify behaviors and problems related to their addiction. They also conduct programs aimed at preventing addictions from occurring in the first place. These counselors hold sessions designed for individuals, families, or groups.

Rehabilitation counselors usually work a standard 40-hour week. Self-employed counselors and those working in mental health and community agencies, such as substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, frequently work evenings in order to counsel clients who work during the day. Counselors must possess high physical and emotional energy to handle the array of problems that they address. Dealing daily with these problems can cause stress. Although the risk of litigation is relatively low, it is still prudent for counselors in all fields to hold some form of personal liability insurance. Because privacy is essential for confidential and frank discussions with clients, counselors usually have private offices.

Counselors must be aware of educational and training requirements that are often very detailed and that vary by area and by counseling specialty. Prospective counselors should check with State and local governments, employers, and national voluntary certification organizations in order to determine which requirements apply. A master's degree is typically required to become a licensed counselor. A bachelor's degree often qualifies a person to work as a counseling aide, rehabilitation aide, or social service worker. Some States require counselors in public employment to have a master's degree; others accept a bachelor's degree with appropriate counseling courses. Counselor education programs in colleges and universities usually are found in departments of education or psychology.

Graduate programs in career, community, gerontological, mental health, school, student affairs, and marriage and family counseling are by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). While completion of a CACREP- program is not necessary to become a counselor, it makes it easier to fulfill the requirements for State licensing.

The following schools offer criminal justice degrees which can help you gain the skills to become an Substance Abuse Counselor:

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Earnings

Median annual earnings of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors in May 2004 were $32,130. The middle 50 percent earned between $25,840 and $40,130. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,060, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $49,600.

For substance abuse, mental health, and rehabilitation counselors, government employers generally pay the highest wages, followed by hospitals and social service agencies. Residential care facilities often pay the lowest wages.

Job Outlook
Overall employment of counselors is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations through 2014. In addition, numerous job openings will occur as many counselors retire or leave the profession. While job prospects will vary with location and specialization, opportunities generally should be very good because the number of job openings that arise should exceed the number of graduates of counseling programs. Rehabilitation counselors and substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, in particular, should experience excellent prospects.

Substance Abuse and behavioral Disorder Counselor Job Board
Point and click your way to an exciting, rewarding career as a substance abuse or behavioral disorder counselor - new listings posted daily. Browse the job board by location, then search and apply online.

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