Addiction Counselor Certification
Education for Addiction Counselors is crucial to being able to help your patients to the best of your ability. There are many complicated reasons why a person might abuse alcohol or drugs, and some of these reasons may be extremely powerful. No matter why people experiment with drugs or alcohol, there is a chance that they will become dependent upon them. Addiction counselors are mental health professionals tasked with helping those who suffer from addiction to alcohol or drugs. Many therapists have been through the throes of addiction themselves, and feel inspired to help others going through the same experience. Working as an addiction counselor can prove very rewarding.
Substance abuse, or addiction, counseling is a type of counseling that can be used to help people overcome and conquer dependencies on substances such as alcohol and drugs.
Many people feel that they are being held hostage by their addictions. They turn to Addiction Counselors to help them loosen the reins over their lives and free themselves from the negative effects of chronic addiction.
In our courts, people are being sentenced to treatment in lieu of, or in addition to, jail time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites court-ordered treatment as one of the main reasons that the demand for substance abuse and addiction counselors has steadily increased. It is also becoming more common for people to proactively seek treatment to help them overcome the nefarious effects of addiction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 27% growth of the profession of addiction counseling between the years 2010 and 2020.
In addition, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was $39,980 in May 2015. Typically, the bottom 10 percent earning less than $25,980, and the top 10 percent earning more than $63,030.
Those who are interested in working as an addiction counselor are becoming aware that there are several options for entering the field. The positions range from those that require less than an Associate’s degree to ones that require a Master’s degree. A Master’s degree will provide another viable option that proves appealing to many: the option of private practice. In private practice, you are able to work with many clients who have chosen to be there.
Addiction Counselor Educational Requirements
Researching your own state’s legal requirements is always a great first step. Some states have an addiction treatment board that is separate from counseling. Candidates may be licensed at several levels. Master’s level counselors are usually licensed by the board of professional counseling. The details will vary from state to state.
Find educational programs that are in line with your interests. If you don’t have a degree yet, consider attaining a degree in addiction studies.
If you do have a degree, consider improving your candidacy for a Master’s level program in addictions counseling. You can accomplish this by gaining experience in the field. Find agencies and groups in your community that need some help!
You also will benefit by discovering what level of licensing/ certification various programs will equip you for at the best levels. Another viable option is to enroll in a general professional counseling
program that provides you the chance to specialize in addictions counseling. Ask pointed questions from admissions departments to ensure that you are properly following your passion for the right career path.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 27% growth in job opportunities for addiction counselors from 2010 through 2020.
When seeking full licensure, you should prepare to work under supervision for a period of at least two years after you attain your degree.
Addiction Counselor Credentials
Many states require that all of their professional counselors in various disciplines take the National Counselor Examination, administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors.
Another exam that might be required is the Examination for Master Addiction Counselor, also offered by the NBCC. You will need to have certification as a professional counselor through the NBCC. Additionally, you will need to demonstrate that you have had at least twelve graduate semester hours in addictions (500 CEs hours can be substituted). In order to take the exam, you will also need to have the experience of having worked under supervision at least 20 hours a week for a total of three years, two of them at the post-Master’s level.
Passing the exam will provide you the prestigious title of Master Addiction Counselor (MAC). If you have this credential, you can seek Substance Abuse Professional status with the federal government, effectively opening up even more opportunities to advance your career. The MAC is a voluntary national certification intended for professionals working within substance use disorder/addiction-related disciplines wishing to demonstrate their skills gained through supervised work experience and specific graduate course work.