Addictions counselors provide necessary help to the millions of individuals dealing with substance abuse issues. As a student who wants to become an addictions counselor, you need to take a specific career path to achieve your goal. After all, substance abuse counselors’ clients expect quality services. They enter counseling offices with the intention of changing their lives for the better. To excel in helping such clients, read on and learn how to become an addictions counselor in 5 steps.
Earn A Bachelor’s Degree
To begin your addictions counselor career journey, you need to earn a bachelor’s degree. After you graduate high school, you need to enroll in a program at an accredited college or university. Many students assume that they have to major in a field related to substance abuse counseling. While it is a good idea to do so, it is not a requirement. You can choose any field to study when earning your bachelor’s degree. Keep in mind that those who choose related fields prepare themselves better for the next step. Take your major and school into careful consideration to become an addictions counselor.
Complete A Graduate Program
After you earn a bachelor’s degree, complete a graduate program to continue working to become an addictions counselor. Employers in multiple industries favor candidates who had first-rate continuing education, making this a beneficial step. Unlike your bachelor’s degree, your master’s degree needs to be in substance abuse counseling. Your courses will teach you about various subjects. These subjects include group counseling techniques, modern substance abuse topics, diagnoses, and treatment methods. After you complete all of the courses required by your college or university, you will have all of the skills and knowledge you need to become an addictions counselor.
The next step to take to become an addictions counselor is to obtain experience in the field. Many successful addictions counselors got experience during college. There, they acquire specific and general talents like resume writing. You can do the same by finding an internship near your college or university. Your school may have faculty members who assist students in finding good internships that offer insight into your field. If your school has such a program, visit the necessary faculty members to get into the best internship program. Then, you will gain experience that will improve your future strategies as an addictions counselor.
Choose A Specialty
Addictions counselors typically choose specialties, which is another major counseling business career step. After all, the field has numerous approaches due to the wide variety of substance abuse clients. To choose the right specialty for you, decide what type of organization you want to work in. Popular options include government office, private practice and healthcare institution. Each option demands different requirements. Keep in mind that certain states also require different credentials for particular specialties. Choose a specialty and preferred place of work early on in your career path to ensure that you become the type of addictions counselor you want.
Finally, get your addictions counselor license. The majority of states in America demand that substance abuse counselors obtain licenses. To earn your license, you need to complete the above steps. Additionally, graduate students need to take and pass their state’s exam. Some states allow prospective counselors to take the National Counselor Examination (NCE) in place of earning a license. The National Board of Certified Counselors administers this exam and allows individuals to take it post-graduation. Research your state’s requirements in order to become a certified addictions counselor.
If you want to improve the lives of individuals dealing with substance abuse issues, you need to become an addictions counselor. To do so, first earn a bachelor’s degree in a major of your choice. Then, complete a graduate program in substance abuse counseling. Either during or after school, gain experience at an established addictions counseling institution. Choose a specialty to focus your expertise. Lastly, become certified in your state either by taking the NCE or by obtaining a license. Follow these steps to become an addictions counselor and better people’s lives.