How To Become A Substance Abuse Counselor National University

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UCO’s Substance Abuse Counselor Degree Online is a cutting-edge, research-oriented program that offers proven practical course content and is designed to help you learn how to become a qualified clinician. The degree is designed to help full-time students as well as career professionals gain the knowledge, competencies, and skills needed to begin a career working with addicted persons or to advance their professional credentials. UC Online’s Bachelor’s degree in Substance Abuse Counseling prepares graduates for rewarding careers helping those who are struggling with drug and alcohol addictions.

What You Need to Know About Substance Abuse Counseling

These professionals spend one-on-one time counseling patients about addiction and mapping treatment plans that will aid patients in moving towards recovery. A substance abuse counselor may work generally or specialize in a specific group of patients, like youths. The undergraduate certificate at National University combines training in psychology, physiology, law and ethics, case management, and counseling. Students learn to correctly diagnose dependence issues and develop unique treatment plans based on individual client needs.

What are 2 skills required for a substance abuse counselor?

  • Good listener.
  • Strong desire to help others.
  • Confidence.
  • Motivation.
  • Inspiration.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Respect privacy.

Such substance abuse counseling vary from one state to the next, but most require between 2,000 and 4,000 hours of supervised clinical experience, the passage of a state licensing exam, and the completion of continuing education credits every year. If you’re eager to get into the field, you don’t have to wait until you complete your substance abuse counselor degree. Many substance abuse clinics have positions that offer students the chance to gain practical experience while working toward a degree and/or license. Not all states license substance abuse counselors for independent practice.

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Substance abuse counselors typically work in substance abuse treatment facilities, such as outpatient clinics and residential treatment centers. They may also work in hospitals, mental health clinics, or private practice. 4,000 hours of appropriate work experience and the 85 clock hours in Section 1 of the education and training related to knowledge of substance use disorders and 15 hours of addiction specific ethics for counselors. Individual substance abuse counseling is not always a high enough level of care in early stages of recovery from a substance use disorder, but it can be in some cases.


These hotlines are free to use and are set up specifically to help you find the right of care. To find out whether individual substance abuse counseling might be the right level of care for you, and to learn how it fits into the substance abuse treatment continuum, you can read our other articles in this series. In other words, if you need to brush up on or develop relapse prevention skills, or you need some guidance on how to build a life that supports recovery, substance abuse counseling is probably the best fit for your needs. In many states, if you want to get individual sessions to address a substance use disorder, you have the option to see a licensed substance abuse counselor instead of a therapist.

What are the different types of counseling?

You’ll develop the research and communication skills needed to identify and assess community resources for your clients, conduct assessments and interview and assist clients who need services. New Bedford as the #1 metropolitan area in the United States with the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients in substance abuse counseling. This certificate will promote opportunities for a meaningful career for the student and contribute to the area’s economic growth. Substance abuse counselors are trained to treat substance use disorders by default. Some therapists indicate in their profile or bio whether they are, but if you’re not sure, ask. In states that license substance abuse counselors, a substance abuse counselor is a good choice if you’re primarily wanting to address a substance use disorder.

Which type of counseling focuses on clients with addiction problems?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT is one of the most popular therapies in addiction medicine, and counselors use it to treat a variety of addictions. Research has proved CBT can effectively treat addiction to: Alcohol. Marijuana.

Many are well-meaning and assume their knowledge and skills are transferable to any behavioral health condition or issue. Therapists are licensed to treat mental health conditions and licensed substance abuse counselors are licensed to treat substance use disorders. Research during the last 30 years has led to advances in evidence-based behavioral therapy for alcohol and drug addiction. The therapies have proved effective in treating substance use disorders in addition to co-occurring mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Earning your bachelor’s in addiction counseling degree is the first step toward pursuing a meaningful career in substance abuse counseling. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance abuse is on an alarming upward trend in the United States, especially among younger children.

University Accreditation

Effective substance abuse treatment requires patients to address all underlying causes of addiction. Counseling and therapy are essential tools in the recovery process and have been proved to help individuals in recovery. Are you prepared to show warmth and empathy to a client struggling with drug or alcohol abuse? Are you able to commit to your client’s health while maintaining your own well being? If so, then a career as a certified substance abuse counselor may be right for you.

  • They meet regularly with patients to help them recover, and they may work intensely with people in crisis.
  • Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research.
  • Speak with your university counselor to learn more about your opportunities for scholarships off tuition through GCU’s educational alliances or to find out about options for continuing education for teachers.
  • A therapist with substance use disorder treatment experience can be a good choice when you’re wanting to address both mental health and substance use disorders.
  • The therapies augment other forms of therapy to increase abstinence during counseling.

That can open you up to immediate opportunities in residential addiction treatment facilities, outpatient addiction programs and more. If you want to screen, assess, diagnose and treat people living with substance use disorder, you’ll need to seek licensure. Licensing processes vary by state, but most include educational requirements and supervised clinical experience. Additionally, you’ll likely need to pass a state-issued exam and pursue continuing education each year.

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