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Substance Abuse Counselor

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors help people who have problems with alcohol, drugs, gambling, and eating disorders. They counsel individuals who are addicted to drugs, helping them to identify behaviors and problems related to their addiction. Counseling can be done on an individual basis, but is frequently done in a group setting. These counselors will often also work with family members who are affected by the addictions of their loved ones. Counselors also conduct programs aimed at preventing addictions.

Hours: Rehabilitation counselors usually work a standard 40-hour week.

Opportunities: Some substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors work in therapeutic communities where people with addictions live while undergoing treatment. Counselors also work in organizations engaged in community improvement and social change, drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, and State and local government agencies.

Pay: Median annual earnings of wage and salary substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors in May 2006 were $34,040. The middle 50 percent earned between $27,330 and $42,650. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,600, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $52,340.

Training: Education and training requirements for counselors are often very detailed and vary by State and specialty. Prospective counselors should check with State and local governments, employers, and national voluntary certification organizations to determine which requirements apply.

Citation: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition , Counselors, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos067.htm (visited July 22, 2009 ).

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