What Training Do You Need to Be a Drug & Alcohol Counselor?

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

Nearly 20 million Americans suffer from drug and alcohol addiction annually, according to All Psychology Schools. Drug and alcohol counselors play a vital role in helping addicts obtain a successful recovery, as they serve as a support system and work to create an individualized plan of recovery for each patient. Drug and alcohol counselors may work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, homeless shelters, youth centers, in-patient care centers and mental health facilities.

Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's degree in psychology is the minimum education you will need to work as a drug and alcohol counselor. However, it is important to note that most states require a higher degree before allowing you to work in this capacity.

Master's Degree

A master's degree in psychology is usually required for licensing for drug and alcohol counselors. Research and familiarize yourself with the exact educational requirements in your state to find out if a bachelor’s or master’s degree is required for licensure.

Specialized Training

While your major degree for substance abuse counseling is in psychology, you will need specialized training that relates directly to working with drug and alcohol addiction. Some schools allow you to choose a specialization in your degree program which will provide you with the essential training. If your school does not allow you to specialize in substance abuse, you will need to take certification classes upon graduating before you can receive your license.

Supervised Clinical Rotations

Before you can obtain your license to work as a drug and alcohol counselor, you will need to complete the minimum hours of supervised clinical rotations as your state mandates. Supervised clinical rotations will give you first-hand experience working in the field of substance abuse alongside a licensed counselor. The average number of hours of supervised clinical rotations is 3,000, according to Degree Finder.