Substance Abuse & Behavioral Disorder Counselors

Counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, drug, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. May counsel individuals, families, or groups or engage in prevention programs.

Job Outlook through 2028

Employment Current: 23,700
Employment Projected: 27,890
Percentage Change: 17.7%

Education/Training

Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).

Sample Job Titles

Addictions Counselor, Case Manager, Chemical Dependency Counselor (CD Counselor), Chemical Dependency Professional, Clinical Counselor, Correctional Substance Abuse Counselor, Counselor, Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist (DATS), Prevention Specialist, Substance Abuse Counselor (SA Counselor)

Duties

  • Complete and maintain accurate records or reports regarding the patients' histories and progress, services provided, or other required information.
  • Counsel clients or patients, individually or in group sessions, to assist in overcoming dependencies, adjusting to life, or making changes.
  • Interview clients, review records, and confer with other professionals to evaluate individuals' mental and physical condition and to determine their suitability for participation in a specific program.
  • Develop client treatment plans based on research, clinical experience, and client histories.
  • Review and evaluate clients' progress in relation to measurable goals described in treatment and care plans.

Skills

  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Average Wages in PA

Entry Level: $31,040
Average: $46,400
Experienced: $70,420