The field of counseling has become as customized as the issues faced by the patients who come to them. While it’s common for counselors to specialize in issues they may have dealt with personally, it’s not a requirement. To become an excellent substance abuse counselor, you need a desire to help change someone’s life, you need empathy, and you need education.
As a substance abuse counselor, you function as a health professional in the human services field. You work primarily with people who suffer from various forms of addiction. Your patients are at a point of realization that something needs to change in their lives, and as their counselor, you’re in a prime place to effect that change. Substance abuse counselors are positioned to make a positive impact by offering support and providing treatment to help patients recover.
According to U.S. News & World Report, the field of substance abuse counseling is ranked #18 in Best Health Care jobs and in the top 50 best jobs overall. Why? The job is in high demand. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimated a 31% rise in employment, which translates into 28,200 new jobs that will have to be created in order to fulfill the need for these specialized counselors. In addition, this is one of the newer branches of the counseling world, and job security and room for growth are two major benefits to choosing this specialized field.
The strong relationship between substance abuse and mental health issues or disorders informs Ashworth College’s online program. In addition to classes like Addiction, Alcoholism, Strategies for Prevention, and Ethical Issues, Ashworth College’s Substance Abuse Counselor Program requires a 300-hour practicum in a supervised clinical setting, which gives you the hands-on experience you need, and moves you closer to earning your state's counseling credential. Since most states mandate certification, check with your locality regarding the requirements for your particular state. By the end of the program, you’ll know how to adhere to professional and ethical standards of behavior, work with clients and health care professionals, use counseling techniques that are appropriate for each client, and create professional written records for each client.
You could be the one to equip someone else with the tools they need to start walking down a brighter, cleaner path. You could be the person to help change the direction of someone else’s life for the better. You already have the desire and the empathy, now you just need the education.