Posted in Career Insights

how do i become a substance abuse counselorSubstance abuse counselors help people in a drug or alcohol treatment program overcome their addiction.

These patients may be at all stages of recovery and in treatment voluntarily or involuntarily through a court order. Substance abuse counselors are also called drug and alcohol counselors, therapists, or mental health professionals.

A substance abuse counselor’s duties can include:

  • Evaluating clients
  • Meeting with clients regularly
  • Maintaining client records
  • Teaching clients to cope with their addiction
  • Promote overall mental health

Substance abuse counselors may work in places such as a substance abuse clinic, hospital, halfway-house, or private practice. Your job may require you to work flexible hours such as weekends and nights when serving your clients.

In general, some of the things needed to become a substance abuse counselor are getting an education, obtaining a state license or certification, and passing a background check.

If you are wondering “how do I become a substance abuse counselor?” then you can work toward getting a career started by taking our introductory Drug And Alcohol Treatment Specialist course.


While it may be possible to get a job as a substance abuse counselor with a high school diploma, many jobs require that you have an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree.

This can also depend on the state, so check your state’s education requirements carefully. Regardless of your state, having a higher degree can open up more job opportunities.

For certain jobs, on the job training may be sufficient education and can replace the need for a degree. This experience can teach you how to handle different types of people and their needs.

State License or Certification

No matter what degree you have, most states require that mental health professionals have some form of license or certification. The requirements for getting a license or certification vary from each state and can also change for different jobs.

Getting a license or certification often requires you to have a specific number of supervised hours, pass state and/or oral exams. You may have to renew your license or certification after a set number of years.

Additionally, some jobs or employers may require you to be certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The NBCC has several certifications so you should research which one is the best fit for you and your career goals.

Background Check

As a part of the certification process, many states and jobs require that you pass a background check. This background check may look into a number of different things such as a history of felonies and child abuse charges.

This may seem like a lot to take in, but as with any career field, understanding what you are getting is important, especially before you go to spend thousands of dollars on obtaining a specialized degree.

Take an Introductory Course

Stratford Career Institute offers a Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist course designed to help you gain a comprehensive look at what a career in this field entails, as well as provides in-depth information regarding the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful.

Whether you want a career in this field or simply want more information to help others in your personal life, the Stratford Career Institute’s course is a great place to start.

Enroll online today!


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