Chemical dependency counselors help people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs such as heroin, cocaine or methamphetamines overcome their addictions, according to DegreeDirectory.org. Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, which include chemical dependency counselors, filled 86,100 positions in 2008, reports the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Chemical dependency counselors are responsible for assisting drug addicts in mastering their harmful addictions. They do this by helping addicts understand the problems caused by their chemical dependency, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. These professionals typically work with addicts in a group therapy session, which allows people to share their experiences and support one another. In addition, chemical dependency counselors perform alcohol and drug tests on clients.
Helping to create individualized rehabilitation programs for clients is another important part of a chemical dependency counselor’s job. These counselors additionally collaborate with family members who must deal with an addict’s struggles, and they maintain complete clinical records of their clients, according to the Downtown Emergency Service Center in Washington. Chemical dependency counselors also help to develop and implement community programs that teach the dangers of drug addictions to the public.
Solid public speaking and interpersonal communication skills are important for chemical dependency counselors. These individuals must be passionate about helping people who are in need and must be intuitive and organized. They must be able to work well both independently and in a team environment as well. In addition, chemical dependency counselors must handle stressful situations and resistance from challenging addicts effectively.
Most states require chemical dependency counselors to be licensed, according to CollegeCrunch.org. This usually involves having a master’s degree in counseling or psychiatry and completing 3,000 hours of supervised practical experience in addition to passing a state-recognized exam, according to DiplomaGuide.com. Licensed chemical dependency counselors then must meet continuing education requirements to maintain their license.
In addition, chemical dependency counselors can seek voluntary certification in this field, which makes them more attractive to employers. Certification comes from the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification and requires individuals to have completed an approved training program as well as an internship and examination.
Employment of substance abuse counselors is projected to climb by 21 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The outlook for chemical dependency counselors remains positive because more courts are requiring drug offenders to participate in rehabilitation programs with chemical dependency counselors, reports DegreeDirectory.org. Chemical dependency counselors in 2010 earned between $29,385 and $40,259, according to Payscale.com.