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Is Drug and Alcohol Counseling a Good Career Choice?

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics, 11.7% of people over 12 use illegal drugs. Furthermore, reports show that 60.2% of Americans have substance use disorders.  Unfortunately, drug abuse is a serious problem in the United States.

If you are considering drug and alcohol counseling as a career to assist those suffering from excessive drug or alcohol use, there are many benefits. This career path can be very rewarding for those interested in these counseling jobs.

This is a big decision, and it can be challenging to determine if it fits you. That is why it is so important to research the pros and cons of this career path.  Most importantly, if you are interested in the career after reading this, you must review your state requirements on the certification or licensing requirements before enrolling in any program.

Keep reading to discover what many substance use counselors have identified as some of the greatest benefits of drug and alcohol counseling as a career.

Rewarding Work

One of the biggest benefits of alcohol and drug counseling is how rewarding it can be. Drug and Alcohol Counselors work hands-on with people in need and have the opportunity to witness breakthroughs and success.

You could be directly impacting people in alcohol and drug abuse counseling. They may lean heavily on their counselors to help them work through their addiction so they can have a better life.

A lot of people who choose this career path do it for personal reasons. They may have had a family member or a friend who struggled with substance abuse.

Most people go into this profession because they have a passion for it. It allows them to help people and see the progress that they can make.

It is the job that will always keep you on your toes. It requires passion and a real desire to help people resolve their issues.

If you seek a job that will give you meaning, alcohol and drug counseling can do just that. This job is full of meaning and empathy that one can pour their heart into.

Many people get tired of their jobs because they are just a way of making a paycheck, and the jobs don’t provide meaning and life purpose. Substance Use Disorder Counseling or Drug Abuse Counseling jobs are different and can provide a good option in selecting a career that benefits others.

Job Availability

Something that people don’t think about when it comes to drug and alcohol counseling is availability. According to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics, this field is in high demand.

No matter where you go, you will find people who struggle with substance abuse. Sadly, this is a common problem widespread throughout the US (

There are many job opportunities for trained and certified or licensed substance use disorder counselors because of the various job opportunity locations.  Those working in the field may not be confined to just one type of location since many places could need a drug counselor.

You may be able to find jobs in schools, hospitals, prisons, mental health facilities, and rehab centers, depending on the state in which you work. These are just a few places where you commonly find jobs in alcohol and drug counseling.

Opportunities for Growth

Not only are there are many job opportunities, but there is also room for growth. If you plan on working in this career for many years, you may have opportunities to expand your knowledge.

Many people study to become drug counselors for specific categories of people. You may specialize in helping those with mental health issues or working specifically with younger adults.

Many counselors help specific age groups or target certain areas of substance abuse. There is alcohol abuse counseling specifically, or you may cover different substances.

You could consider expanding your knowledge if you are burned out in one area. This may allow you to keep moving and stay interested in the work that you are doing. It can help you to stay passionate and empathetic in your work, even if you have been doing it for years.


Unlike a traditional job that most people have, substance use disorder counseling may not be as rigid. You may have more flexibility in your schedule and how you work.

Many counseling jobs will not be 9 to 5 like other careers. You may have the chance to work different hours and even weekend schedules.

This will also depend on the facility you are working in. Some counselors work part-time or full-time or create their own schedules.

These options give you flexibility so you could arrange your life the way you like. It gives you more freedom and possibilities to create a more desirable and flexible work schedule.

How Can You Become a Drug and Alcohol Counselor?

If you want to choose this career path, there are certain things you will need to do. Every state will have different requirements, but there are essential steps to follow.

Drug and alcohol counseling may require you to get a college degree. Some states require you to complete a certificate program in order to enter the field, while other states may require a master’s degree in the clinical psychology discipline.

Depending on the area that you are interested in, you can also get other degrees. A minimum of 255 hours of an internship (such as in California)  is also often required, with some states requiring more.

Supervision requirements also mean you could need 2,000 to 4,000 supervised clinical hours. Each state is different, but some hours are required to enter the field.

You may also need to pass an exam to work in the field. Once you have completed all the steps required in your state, you can start looking for work.

Benefits of Drug and Alcohol Counseling as a Career.

There are all kinds of benefits to drug and alcohol counseling as a career. If you are on the fence about this decision, several positives could help you make the correct decision.

Are you interested in getting an education to become a drug and alcohol counselor? Contact us at InterCoast to review program offerings.

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wayman barrow
wayman barrow
1 year ago

very informative. Makes since. i’ve seen individuals with mental issues using drugs. my best friend is on meth and fentanyl. he’s constantly talking to himself. he makes nosense at all. but because i love him, i talk to him. I want hiw to know that i’m still here for him. I’ve tried to assist him in getting back on his feet but he does’nt want the help. I’m understanding now that this is a bigger than i imagined. When you see the people you love going through life lost you have to take a step back and ask yourself……”what am… Read more »

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