Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

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About the Job

Counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, drug, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. May counsel individuals, families, or groups or engage in prevention programs.

It is also Called

  • Treatment Coordinator
  • Substance Abuse Technician
  • Substance Abuse Counselor (SA Counselor)
  • Student Assistance Counselor (SAC)
  • Residential Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Quitline Counselor
  • Psychotherapist
  • Primary Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Prevention Specialist
  • Licensed Social Worker

What They Do

  • Develop, implement, or evaluate public education, prevention, or health promotion programs, working in collaboration with organizations, institutions, or communities.
  • Follow progress of discharged patients to determine effectiveness of treatments.
  • Supervise or direct other workers providing services to clients or patients.
  • Confer with family members or others close to clients to keep them informed of treatment planning and progress.
  • Counsel family members to assist them in understanding, dealing with, and supporting clients or patients.
  • Instruct others in program methods, procedures, or functions.
  • Assess individuals' degree of drug dependency by collecting and analyzing urine samples.
  • Plan or implement follow-up or aftercare programs for clients to be discharged from treatment programs.
  • Act as liaisons between clients and medical staff.
  • Train or supervise student interns or new staff members.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: SAI.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Social interests, but also prefer Artistic and Investigative environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Achievement and Recognition in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).

LMI Region

Wages

In 2013, the average annual wage in New Jersey was $49,460 with most people making between $32,010 and $73,040

Outlook

1.33%
avg. annual growth

During 2008, this occupation employed approximately 5,250 people in New Jersey. It is projected that there will be 5,950 employed in 2018.

This occupation will have about 70 openings due to growth and about 110 replacement openings for approximately 180 total annual openings.