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Mental Health

Substance Abuse Counselor

Career data updated last on 10/18/2009
Substance Abuse Counselor Substance abuse counselors work with individuals who are having problems with alcohol and other drugs. They provide counseling for individuals, families, and groups and work to help substance abusers to focus on life problems and behaviors that relate to their addictions. Substance abuse counselors also work with mental health and health professionals, the police and courts, as well as schools to prevent substance abuse problems.
Salary $27,330-$34,040-$42,650
Significant Points Employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is expected to grow 34 percent, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. It is increasingly common for people to seek treatment as society increases knowledge about addiction. Furthermore, drug offenders are increasingly being sent to treatment programs rather than jail.
Specializations
Work Environment Substance abuse counselors work with physicians, nurses and other counselors. They work for mental health agencies, hospitals, substance abuse treatment programs and correctional facilities.
High School Prep General college preparation is recommended: three courses in math including algebra I, algebra II and geometry, or a higher level math course for which algebra II is a prerequisite; three science courses including one biological science, one physical science and one lab course; four English units and two social studies units, including one in U.S. History; and two years of a second language.
Academic Requirements To be a certified substance abuse counselor in Colorado, you must apply to and pass exams as set forth by the Colorado Addictions Counselor Program Board. There are four levels of counseling:
  • Certified Addictions Counselor - Level I
  • Certified Addictions Counselor - Level II
  • Certified Addictions Counselor - Level III
  • Licensed Addiction Counselor
  • Level III certificants may also eligible for the Licensed Addiction Counselor (license) if they meet additional requirements.

    A substance abuse counselor can also become nationally certified by NAADAC (National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse) in the following areas: National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level I (NCAC I) National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level II (NCAC II) and Master Addiction Counselor (MAC)

    Schools/Organizations

    Grand Canyon University
    Masters Degree Master's    On-line program available On-line program available
    Metropolitan State College
    Bachelor Degree Bachelor's
    Certificate Degree Certificate
    Odyssey Training Center-Colorado Springs Campus
    Certificate Degree Certificate    On-line program available On-line program available
    Odyssey Training Center-Denver Campus
    Certificate Degree Certificate    On-line program available On-line program available
    Odyssey Training Center-Pueblo Campus
    Certificate Degree Certificate    On-line program available On-line program available
    University of Colorado-Boulder
    Bachelor Degree Bachelor's
    Masters Degree Master's

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