What Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors Do
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors advise people who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, or other behavioral problems. They provide treatment and support to help the client recover from addiction or modify problem behaviors.
Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors work in a wide variety of settings, such as mental health centers, community health centers, prisons, and private practice. Most work full time.
How to Become a Substance Abuse or Behavioral Disorder Counselor
Most positions require a bachelor’s degree. However, depending on the employer, educational requirements can vary from a high school diploma and certification to a master’s degree.
Employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is projected to grow 22 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected as addiction and mental health counseling services are increasingly covered by insurance policies.
This occupation supported 89,600 jobs in 2012 and 94,900 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 5.9%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 31.4% in 2022 to 117,700 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 95,200, compared with an observed value of 94,900, 0.3% lower than expected. This indicates current employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 23.8% in 2024 to 116,200 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 123,300 jobs for 2024, 6.1% higher than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much worse than the 2012 trend within this occupation.