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A Job as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor?

Question by Jenn: A job as a drug and alcohol counselor?
Do I have to get some type of degree to become and drug and alcohol counselor or get certified to be one?

Best answer:

Answer by engakwasdky
Yes and Yes.

As far as degrees go, you will have to get at least a bachelor’s degree in social work or other mental health field (psychology, sociology, etc.). Now, some facilities will hire you with just a bachelor’s degree and give you the title of a “counselor”, but MOST facilities require you to have a master’s degree in mental health counseling, counseling psychology, or social work. And as a word of advice, most places require you to have a master’s degree in social work (MSW) for insurance billing purposes.

Certification depends on where you live, but I believe each state has it’s own board of addictions certification. You may be able to search for the requirements on Google (or I may be able to help if I knew what state you reside in). In many cases, you will be able to obtain employment and work as a counselor while waiting for certification. Some certs will require you to be employed as a counselor for a set number of years so they know you have experience and actually know what you are doing. In other words, certification is not necessarily something you need to do before you start job searching. However, not to confuse you, but if you do get your MSW most counseling agencies require that you have your license to practice as a social worker. This is something that all social workers have the option of doing regardless of the field of social work they are entering (i.e., hospital social work, gerontology, etc.).

Let me know if you have any more questions! The field of drug/alcohol dependency is rapidly growing, so counselors are in high demand!

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