What is substance abuse counseling? We use alcohol, drugs and other substances for a variety of legitimate or social reasons. But when that use becomes an over-use or addictive disorder, then it is classified as “substance abuse”. Substance abuse counselors (also called behavioral disorder counselors) help people who have problems with alcohol, drugs, substance abuse and eating disorders.
With the national and international rate of substance abuse continuously rising. The need for people who understand the special needs of individuals who are caught in an abusive cycle is constantly growing. While the number of counselors in this specialized field continues to grow, the specific needs of people who are drug, alcohol or other substance dependent has created a requirement for more alcohol and substance abuse counselors who have studied the problem at an advanced level and gained a substance abuse masters.
This page has information on what it mean to be a substance abuse counselor, where to find suitable programs, and more …
Educational requirements for alcohol and substance abuse counselor careers
The masters degree provides counselors with advanced intervention skills for their clients, the patients families and other stakeholders like rehabilitation abuse facilities. It is usually the minimum requirement to be a licensed substance abuse counselor and practice in most States of the USA. The modules studied by counselors provide instruction in subjects such as pharmacology, group and individual counseling, prevention and treatment resources, as well as applicable laws and regulations.
Professional and ethical courses are required in student studies, which educates interested candidates as they pursue an education in the medical field. These courses of study will educate students and prepare them for the professional field of counseling, and the ethical standards required in this demanding medical practice.
Courses provided at this level, offer students case studies with evidence based scenarios to assist them to present the latest research and proven successful skills to students. This approach enables students to return to their practices prepared to meet the changing needs of their clients in modern society. The courses are designed to produce counselors who can provide leadership and creativity where they are employed, whether in private practice or in institutions, schools or medical facilities.
College courses in drug and alcohol abuse counseling are available in all States of the USA, and in many countries around the world. Courses can be studied online or in conventional training environment in a University or College. They usually require a commitment of two years, depending on whether the courses are studied part time or full time. Students study modules and engage in field practice as part of the requirements. In the USA, the courses are designed under the guidelines of the National Board for Certified Counselors and provide the National Certified Counselor Credential (NCCC).
Prerequisites for the masters include a bachelors degree and a minimum GRE (Graduate Record Examination). Some programs also require undergraduate or post graduate course work in a related field. In the USA, completion of a masters in substance abuse is a prerequisite for licensing in many of the individual States. Once a student successfully completes the academic requirements they can apply for licensing to become a drug and alcohol abuse counselor in a state of the students choosing.
What are the prospects for graduates?
The current pay scale for Counselors ranges from $24,500 to $60,000 a year depending on experience and qualifications. Faster than average increase in new counselors required continues to create great demand for licensed counselors. Recent research suggests that 5,000 new counselors are required every year to meet the growing demand for counseling services across all sectors providing client services.
There are options for continuing substance abuse education after the completion of academic college courses, with many counselors electing to pursue a PhD in Rehabilitation Counseling and Administration. Students may choose to focus their career advancement in private or public practice.
List of substance abuse masters schools and programs
At Kaplan University, we offer over 180 degree and certificate programs. With three different ways to learn, you can choose the format that works best for you:
- Study wherever you have an Internet connection, because almost all of our courses are 100% online, or
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- Master of Science in Psychology : Addictions
- Master of Science in Psychology : Applied Behavior Analysis
- Master of Science: Psychology
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An accredited online university, Capella University offers bachelor’s, master’s/MBA, doctoral, and certificate programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession. Our competency-based curriculum delivers foundational knowledge and real-world skills, so what you’re learning is immediately applicable to your career. We serve more than 36,000 students from the U.S. and around the world and offer more than 140 graduate and undergraduate specializations and 20 certificate programs.
- MS - Addiction Studies
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Pioneering distance education since 1985, Liberty University is now the nation’s seventh largest university. With more than 300 online and residential areas of study, Liberty offers programs from the certificate to doctoral level.
- MA in Professional Counseling - 60 Hour
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