Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors

Alcohol and drug abuse counselors (sometimes called substance abuse counselors) work with people who abuse or are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Through individual and group counseling sessions, they help their clients understand and change their destructive substance abuse behaviors. Approximately 83,120 substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors are employed in the United States.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Substance Abuse Counselors
Duties Use individual and group counseling sessions to help people who abuse or are addicted to drugs or alcohol understand and change their destructive substance abuse behaviors
Salary Range Below $25,000 to $75,000
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities are available throughout the country, but are best in large, metropolitan areas
Minimum Education Level
  • Associate's Degree
  • Bachelor's Degree
School Subjects
  • Health
  • Psychology
  • Sociology
Experience Internships and volunteering will provide useful experience
Personality Traits
  • Helpful
  • Outgoing
  • Problem-Solving
  • Interpersonal
  • Leadership
  • Teaching
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements Master’s degree and two to three years of postacademic supervised counseling experience required; must pass written test
Employment Prospects Excellent
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook Much Faster than the Average
Career Ladder
  • Director of Substance Abuse Program
  • Alcohol/Drug Abuse Counselor
  • Alcohol/Drug Abuse Counseling Intern

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