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

  • Addiction Counselor
  • Addiction Specialist
  • Addiction Therapist
  • Addictions Counselor
  • Adolescent Substance Abuse Program Coordinator
  • Alcohol and Drug Counselor
  • Alcoholic Counselor
  • Assessment Specialist
  • Behavior Therapist
  • Behavioral Analyst

What They Do

  • Complete and maintain accurate records or reports regarding the patients' histories and progress, services provided, or other required information.
  • Counsel clients or patients, individually or in group sessions, to assist in overcoming dependencies, adjusting to life, or making changes.
  • Develop client treatment plans based on research, clinical experience, and client histories.
  • Conduct chemical dependency program orientation sessions.
  • Participate in case conferences or staff meetings.
  • Coordinate counseling efforts with mental health professionals or other health professionals, such as doctors, nurses, or social workers.
  • Review and evaluate clients' progress in relation to measurable goals described in treatment and care plans.
  • Interview clients, review records, and confer with other professionals to evaluate individuals' mental and physical condition and to determine their suitability for participation in a specific program.
  • Plan or implement follow-up or aftercare programs for clients to be discharged from treatment programs.
  • Assess individuals' degree of drug dependency by collecting and analyzing urine samples.

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

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • 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.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • 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.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Service Orientation - Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

LMI Region

Wages

In 2013, the average annual wage in United States was $41,090 with most people making between $25,200 and $60,160

Outlook

2.35%
avg. annual growth

During 2010, this occupation employed approximately 85,000 people in United States. It is projected that there will be 108,000 employed in 2020.

This occupation will have about 2,000 openings due to growth and about 39,000 replacement openings for approximately 41,000 total annual openings.