Chemical dependency counselors work directly with people who have addictions to drugs and alcohol. These professionals are also known as behavioral disorder counselors, drug counselors, and substance abuse counselors.
He or she assists people with dependencies to find out the reason for the addiction, counsels the patient on ways to change their behavior, and sets up treatment options. Chemical dependency counselors assess patient needs, design treatment programs, conduct therapy sessions both individually and in a group setting, and set up support systems. He or she may also work with a patient’s family members to provide support for what they have gone through, as well as to provide education on what type of support and care they should giving to the patient.
Chemical dependency counselors sometimes work in the community to set up preventative education programs for youth. Counselors may work in a clinical setting, or through in-home treatment programs at residential facilities where addicts live while undergoing treatment.
Chemical dependency counselors are required to hold a Master’s degree in counseling or psychiatry, and must be licensed. At least two years, or a total of 3,000 hours of clinical experience under a licensed counselor or psychiatrist is also required. Counselors must be fully educated in and comply with all ethical codes. This field is expanding and has a project growth rate of about 34%.
The typical average salary of a chemical dependency counselor is about $47,500 per year. Individuals just entering the field earn an average salary of about $36,100, while experienced counselors earn between $61,000 and $75,900 per year.