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The First Step To Becoming a Substance Abuse Counselor

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The First Step To Becoming a Substance Abuse Counselor

the first stepIf you’re the type of person who is intrigued by helping the drug community, a drug abuse counselor might be a good fit for you. This article will tell you the first step in getting the job as a substance abuse counselor. 

The First Step:
Get Educated

In order to become a counselor, you’ll need to have experience in the field. Most facilities will look at your educational experience and background, while others will be fine with an associate’s degree. Most of the time, managers will determine if you’re a fit by looking at your resume and experience with drug addiction and mental health.

It is encouraged to get a Bachelors or Masters degree in the related field. Different states also have different certification requirements. If you’re unsure what the requirements are, you can search online. Almost always, you will need a college degree and certifications with drug abuse and mental health.

If you are a recovering addict, you might not need to get a Bachelors or Masters degree.

Facilities might require you to be sober for X amount before you work for them, but they will gladly accept someone in recovery. You have first hand experience with addiction and rehab, which is a great attribute to have.  You may be required to work in an entry level position for a year or so before you become a counselor. That is to help you understand the field a little more, being on the opposite side of the spectrum. Since you are not experiencing the program as an addict, you get a change in perspective and a better understanding as a counselor. 

There are also some counselor characteristics that college doesn’t teach you. When you join the field in a rehab facility, you need to have a personality that fits. You need to have patience, understanding, empathy, compassion and respect for the job.  If you find those characteristics to be a struggle for you, it might not work out in the end. Substance abuse programs are a very emotional and serious career to work in. 

You need to be educated. And once you’re educated, you should see who’s hiring. Search online, call facilities, go to a job fair, and join job boards. There are several ways to search for jobs, and always follow up with the ones you apply to. If you have the experience and the ambition, there’s no doubt you can find a job you enjoy.


If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, please call us. We offer a safe and inviting detox and residential program and would love to show you around. Get help today. Call us at 855-737-7363 for a free and confidential assessment. 




Posted in Culture, For Loved Ones, Health and Wellness, Recovery