Addiction Counselor Certification and Education
Education for Addiction Counselors is crucial to being able to help your patients to the best of your ability. There are many complicated reasons why a person might abuse alcohol or drugs, and some of these reasons may be extremely powerful. No matter why people experiment with drugs or alcohol, there is a chance that they will become dependent upon them. Addiction counselors are mental health professionals tasked with helping those who suffer from addiction to alcohol or drugs. Many therapists have been through the throes of addiction themselves, and feel inspired to help others going through the same experience. Working as an addiction counselor can prove very rewarding.
Many people feel that they are being held hostage by their addictions. They turn to Addiction Counselors to help them loosen the reins over their lives and free themselves from the negative effects of chronic addiction.
In our courts, victims of substance abuse are being sent to rehab instead of or in addition to prison. It is believed by the Bureau of Labor statistics that there is a direct correlation between these new sentences and the increased demand for addiction counselors. It is also becoming more common for people to proactively seek treatment to help them overcome the nefarious effects of addiction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates a 27% growth of the profession of addiction counseling between 2009 and 2019.
In addition, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was $39,980 in May 2015. Typically, the bottom 10 percent earning less than $25,980, and the top 10 percent earning more than $63,030.
How to Become an Addiction Counselor
When it comes to education a great place to start is with your state’s counselor requirements. Depending on the state, addiction counselors can be separate from the standard counseling board. Counselors can also be credentials at various levels. Counselors who have completed their master’s degree will be licensed by their state board, where requirements will vary for state to state.
Find educational programs that are in line with your interests. If you don’t have a degree yet, consider attaining a degree in addiction studies.
If you do have a degree, consider improving your candidacy for a Master’s level program in addictions counseling. You can accomplish this by gaining experience in the field. Find agencies and groups in your community that need some help!
You also will benefit by discovering what level of licensing/ certification various programs will equip you for at the best levels. Another viable option is to enroll in a general professional counseling program that provides you the chance to specialize in addictions counseling. Ask pointed questions from admissions departments to ensure that you are properly following your passion for the right career path.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 27% growth in job opportunities for addiction counselors from 2010 through 2020.
When seeking full licensure, you should prepare to work under supervision for a period of at least two years after you attain your degree.
Addiction Counselor Credentials
Many states require that all of their professional counselors in various disciplines take the National Counselor Examination, administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors.
An additional exam that students may have to complete is the exam for Master of Addiction Counseling, this exam is offered by the NBCC, as well. In order to practice you will need to be certified by the NBCC. Furthermore, you are going to be required to prove that you have complete 12 hours of coursework focusing on addiction. In addition, you must demonstrate that you have been completing 20 hours of overseen practice a week for a three year period prior to taking the examination.
Passing the exam will provide you the prestigious title of Master Addiction Counselor (MAC). If you have this credential, you can seek Substance Abuse Professional status with the federal government, effectively opening up even more opportunities to advance your career. The MAC is a voluntary national certification intended for professionals working within substance use disorder/addiction-related disciplines wishing to demonstrate their skills gained through supervised work experience and specific graduate course work.