Drug Counselors help people who suffer from drug addiction or other behavioral problems. They plan and develop a strategy to recover from addiction through appropriate counseling. In serious cases, they may refer a patient to a psychiatrist or other medical professionals. Their responsibilities include analyzing clients’ mental and physical health, developing required skills and behaviors to resolve drug addiction, encouraging for a healthy lifestyle, educating pregnant women and her family members about the effects of drug addiction on the fetus, conducting personal or group counseling sessions to avoid drugs etc.
Drug Counselors may work at government or private hospitals, clinics, mental health centers, rehabilitation centers, correction facilities, educational institutes, prison, NGOs etc. Some of these professionals work in private practice along with other professionals. They usually work full time. Sometimes, they may require traveling one place to other.
To become Drug Counselor, educational requirements vary from a high school diploma to a master’s degree according to the type of setting and job responsibilities. For instance, the counselors, who work in private practices, need to complete a master’s degree along with several thousand hours of clinical experience and a licensure.
The common syllabus includes theories and principles of substance abuse, counseling, mental health, human psychology, client management and treatment etc.
Licensure and Certification
Since the practice of a Drug Counselor requires to be licensed in many states, the aspiring candidates need to earn an exam-based License after completing required academic courses. These professionals can obtain certification from National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC).
Apart from a good deal of understanding about drug regulations of the states, Drug Counselors posses wide range of skills such as ability to deal with aggressive and/or intoxicated clients, strong crisis management skills, motivating capacities, patience to listen the clients, pleasant communications and interpersonal skills, compassionate to clients, computer skills etc.
Job Outlook and Salary
The job outlook for a Drug Counselor remains excellent across the USA. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the growth rate for job opportunities in this profession may rise 31% during 2012-2022. The average annual salary of Drug Counselor was $38,520 in May 2012.