What Is the Role of an Addiction Counselor?

Posted July 20, 2020 by in Career
therapist session

Wouldn’t it be fantastic if you knew without a doubt what you wanted as your dream job—right about the time you were ready to enroll in your first semester of college?

Not all people know what they want to be when they grow up until they’re well into adulthood. If that’s you, it’s never too late to figure out a career path.

Have you considered addiction counseling? The National Center for Health Workforce Analysis projects at least a 24% increase in job growth for the field through 2025. 

What is the role of an addiction counselor? What are the educational requirements to become an addiction counselor?

Read today’s post for a brief substance abuse counselor job description. We’ll also discuss the traits of a good counselor and what type of credentials you’ll need.

What Is the Role of an Addiction Counselor?

Addiction counselors go by a variety of titles. You’ve likely seen job postings for substance abuse counselor, alcohol and drug counselor, chemical dependency counselor, and, of course, addiction counselor.

While each title may differ slightly, in most cases, each one encompasses a similar, often identical role. Precisely what you will do when working as an addiction counselor depends on your education and the place you work.

Whatever title your potential employer uses, addiction counselors are considered mental health counselors. They specialize in working with patients who struggle with chemical dependency to help overcome their addictions.

Since substance abuse usually impacts the family of the addict, substance abuse counselors may also work with the entire family.

Substance Abuse Counselor Education

Working in the addiction counseling field goes beyond looking at the substance abuse counselor job description, and deciding if it’s an excellent fit for you.

All addiction counselors must complete a formal training program before they can practice. You’ll want to check the requirements of the state where you plan to work to ensure you enroll in the appropriate educational program.

To work in entry-level positions, most people start by earning a certificate. It’s a good way to work toward your credentials in a short amount of time. Many schools offer online certification, which allows students some flexibility in coursework.

Once they complete a certificate program, many addiction counselors continue taking coursework that leads to a degree.

What Makes a Great Addiction Counselor?

Now you know a bit more about the role and can better answer the question—what does a substance abuse counselor do? At this point, you’re curious whether you have what it takes to work in a substance abuse job.

Here are a few of the critical character traits of an addiction counselor:

  • Compassion
  • Empathy
  • Ability to listen
  • Good stress management skills
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to maintain boundaries

You’ll never know if this career path fits you perfectly unless you take the next steps. Why not explore the program offered at a school online, or near where you live?

Ready to Make a Career Decision?

Did we answer the question— what is the role of an addiction counselor? We hope we’ve done that and inspired you to consider choosing substance abuse counseling as your next career!

If you’ve enjoyed reading today’s post, check out our archives. We’ve put together a collection of articles on a range of topics, including career and health.