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Did you know that people qualified to become addiction recovery counselors may also be qualified to work at outpatient substance abuse centers, private practices, mental health centers, and local and state hospitals?
If you want to make a positive difference in the world, it is a great idea to become an alcohol and drug counselor. But knowing how to pursue this goal and what available job opportunities can be challenging.
To make things easier for you, we have written a guide that breaks down the career options for alcohol addiction counselors. Keep reading if you are interested in finding out more.
1. Do Plenty of Research.
To become an addiction counselor, you first must start researching what training programs exist.
Before figuring out the requirements for becoming a counselor, take time to find out what the job involves. It is also a good idea to find out what types of addiction counselor positions are available in your area.
There are various types of alcohol counselors. They might work for the same organizations, but they could take on different roles. Some counselors might work in drug rehabilitation centers. Others might work with at-risk youth.
By digging deep into your research, you should be able to figure out whether or not it might be right for you to become an addiction counselor.
If this is the right career, look for programs that offer BAS degrees in addiction studies.
2. Speak with Professionals
Once you have taken the time to reach out to people who already work in the field of addiction treatment, you should begin to understand what it is like to work as an addiction counselor.
These professionals will not be able to speak about their specific client relationships. But they may be able to help you understand what it is like to work as a counselor.
Most people you reach out to may also be willing to speak about the pros and cons of working as a drug and alcohol counselor. They should be able to tell you important things you cannot learn by reading a book.
3. Understand the Education Requirements
In most circumstances, you may want a bachelor’s degree in a related field. Some people choose to major in addiction studies. Others may prefer to focus on psychology or social work.
Some alcohol counselor jobs could require that you have a master’s degree. Also, most states require alcohol counselors to be licensed or certified.
This usually involves completing a certain amount of education and training. You might also need to pass an exam.
In most circumstances, the educational requirements for becoming an alcohol counselor will vary, depending on what “level” of a career you strive to reach.
If you want to increase the likelihood of getting a good job, it is crucial to get good grades. It will also be helpful to develop strong relationships with your professors.
4. Complete Your Clinical Hours
It will be necessary for you to spend many hours doing supervised drug and alcohol counseling work. Some people consider this to be a form of “shadowing.”
But you may also need to work with clients on your own. A drug and alcohol counselor or a clinical supervisor should be required to supervise your work. They should also offer feedback and advice to help you become a better counselor.
Many people don’t get the chance to figure out if becoming an addiction counselor is right for them until they start working directly with clients. There is a big difference between learning in class and working directly with clients.
5. Pass Your Evaluations and Background Checks
Anyone working with at-risk individuals (especially those with youth) will need to complete background checks. You will need to get your fingerprints taken and complete a background check.
As long as you don’t have a history of felonies or child abuse, you should be able to pass this check.
You will then need to complete your necessary examination if your state requires this. You will still need to put a lot of effort into preparing for it. Various universities offer preparation courses or workshops. Those who fail the exam are often permitted to retake it.
6. Find a Job
Before you start applying for jobs, it is a good idea to figure out your options and preferences. Are you more interested in working with teenagers, children, or adults?
Would you prefer to work at a treatment center or feel more comfortable at a group home?
Once you figure out where you want to work and what job you want, you will need to start applying for jobs. You could network with your professors to find out about available positions.
7. Remember that Counseling Is Stressful and Rewarding
It can be stressful to work as an addiction counselor, as you will be helping people to navigate through difficult moments in their lives. You also might need to work long hours.
But most people who work as addiction counselors also feel good about themselves. They understand that they are positively impacting their clients’ lives.
Become an Alcohol Counselor Today
There are many great reasons for being an alcohol counselor, but becoming one will take a lot of dedication and work.
Are you ready to become an alcohol and drug counselor? If so, keep in mind that InterCoast Colleges is here to help you. Don’t hesitate to find out more about our alcohol and drug counseling studies programs today!