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Substance Abuse Counselors: Where Do They Work & What Do They Do?

by Tim Brunicardi on February 8, 2019

Do you know someone who was addicted to alcohol or drugs and sought treatment? If so, then they may have seen a substance abuse counselor.

A substance abuse counselor is a trained professional who helps people overcome addictions to intoxicants like alcohol and drugs. They also assist their clients in developing coping mechanisms to help them both rebuild their lives and avoid people, places, and situations that could endanger their recovery.

In some situations, they may also find it necessary to work with their clients’ family members, social workers, and mental health professionals to help develop and coordinate the most effective treatment options to meet their specific needs.

What Types of Facilities Hire Substance Abuse Counselors?

Qualified substance abuse counselors can find employment in one of the following job settings:

  • Mental health center
  • Prisons
  • Probation or parole agency
  • Juvenile detention facility
  • Halfway house
  • Detox center
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Residential treatment center
  • Outpatient treatment center
  • Private practice

What Do Substance Abuse Counselors Do?

Substance abuse professionals perform the following duties:

  • Evaluate each client’s mental and physical health
  • Encourage clients’ to get involved in a 12-step recovery program
  • Document and provide updates on every client’s progress
  • Identify each client’s potential problematic behavior
  • Assess each client’s preparedness and motivation for seeking treatment
  • Review and monitor each client’s treatment goals
  • Educate the clients’ family members about addiction and recovery
  • Refer clients to job placement services and support groups
  • Conduct outreach programsSmiling patient standing and telling her problems during therapy group session

What Does the Job Market Look Like For Addiction Counselors?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that between 2016-2026, the substance abuse field has a projected 23% growth rate. In addition, there’ll be roughly more than 60,000 new positions created in this field during the same time period.

Where Can I Get the Training I Need to Get Into This Field?

Hocking College in Nelsonville, OH offers an Associate of Technical Study in Addiction Counseling. This program provides students with both classroom training hours and supervised clinical internship hours, which are required when graduates apply for their licensure exam offered by the Ohio Chemical Dependency Board as Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselors.

Following the successful completion of their licensure exam and designated work hours required by the licensing board, graduates can then begin seeking employment in their chosen field.

These programs also meet the licensure recommendations of the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium. This organization sets the international standards that determine if a chemical dependency counselor is competent and capable of fulfilling their job duties.

Where Can I Get More Information About This Program?

For more information about the Addiction Counseling program, contact the Program Manager, Lori Baker, by email at bakerl13412@hocking.edu or by phone at (304) 753-6473.

become an addiction counselor in ohio