How To Become an Addiction Counselor

Jobs for addiction counselors are expected to grow much faster than the average through 2016, predict the government economists! In fact, becoming an addiction counselor is a good choice because it is considered among the twenty fastest-growing careers. There are jobs being created by new laws for counselors who help people with drug addiction. Some states provide the addicted victims with proper treatment to a healthier lifestyle and not sentence them to jail! And thanks to new attitudes about dealing with this problem, more and more people who are addicted are reaching out for help! There are a lot of job openings, as most people who are in this field tend to quit because of long hours, low pay and high stress levels!


The average salary package of behavioral disorder and substance abuse counselors in 2008 was $39,670, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.


Choosing electives in college such as psychology, therapy and counseling, anthropology and sociology, law and government, administration and management, English language, personal and customer service will help you in gaining better knowledge and experience in order to become an addiction counselor. It is advisable to check with your college guidance counselor on what classes to choose initially as most states have their own requirements for addiction counselor jobs.

Brush up on other skills: The most important skill is the key to communicate well with your cases. Communicating well involves listening and expressing yourself clearly, understanding and asking the right questions. It is essential to work with people as a couple or group; it is good to change your approach based on the way the person reacts to you. An addiction counselor's main skill is to persuade or convince people to try different ideas and problem solving techniques.

Identifying, reasoning and problem solving skills are equally important while you think of creative ways and offer solutions to drug addicts.


NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals offers 3 levels of certification, if you are looking to get certified for advanced career! The NAADAC Certification Commission was established in 1990 to help provide credentialing for drug abuse and alcoholism counselors specifically.

Below are the various levels of certification:

  • National Certified Addiction Counselor, Levels I & II
  • Master Addiction Counselor (MAC)
  • Tobacco Addiction Specialist (TAS)

It is always good to update and enhance your existing skills for better growth prospects. NAADAC also offers other upgrade courses.


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