Substance Abuse Counselor

Quick Facts: Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
2012 Median Pay $38,520 per year
$18.52 per hour
Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Moderate-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2012 89,600
Job Outlook, 2012-22 31% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 28,200

What Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors Do

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors advise people who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, or other behavioral problems. They provide treatment and support to help the client recover from addiction or modify problem behaviors.

Work Environment

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors work in a wide variety of settings, such as mental health centers, community health centers, prisons, and private practice. Most work full time.

How to Become a Substance Abuse or Behavioral Disorder Counselor

Educational requirements range from a high school diploma to a master’s degree, depending on the setting, type of work, state regulations, and level of responsibility. Workers with a high school diploma typically go through a period of on-the-job training.

Pay

The median annual wage for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was $38,520 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is projected to grow 31 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected as addiction and mental health counseling services are increasingly covered by insurance policies.