Do you want to dedicate your career to helping others?
Few careers are more impactful and care-centered than addiction counseling. A skilled addiction counselor combines the training of a practitioner with life-changing empathy and guidance. They help their clients identify the causes of their addictive behaviors.
Together, they help the client formulate a plan to stay sober.
But addiction counseling also comes with some benefits that other careers don’t have. Below, we’ll get into the top 5 benefits of becoming an addiction counselor. Keep reading to learn more about why pursuing a counselor for addiction career could be right for you!
1. An Addiction Counselor Transforms Lives
Addiction counseling is one of the most transformative types of therapeutic work.
At least 85% of people who complete a drug rehab program remain sober for 9 months or longer. 80% of those who seek treatment report improvements to their personal lives. This can include becoming more healthy and being able to hold down a job.
Others experience an improvement in their academic grades. Parents may have the ability to regain custody of their children or repair relationships with their families.
So, an addiction counselor does more than just treat an addiction. They also help the client pinpoint the life they want to live. Then, they help them live it.
2. They Make a Positive Contribution to the Community
Research has discovered a correlation between substance abuse and criminal activity. Substance abuse can contribute to anger issues and lapses in judgment.
For instance, some people who drive under the influence don’t know that they’re too drunk to operate a vehicle. It also impairs their ability to make sound decisions while driving.
Drug abuse contributes to an increased likelihood of violent crime. Domestic abuse cases are often fueled by drugs and alcohol. Many people who are behind bars today have some sort of addiction.
Worse, not everyone gets the treatment they need. Without the proper treatment, these people struggle to repair their lives and may continue to commit dangerous acts. So, addiction counselors are a necessary part of every community. They help people stay out of prison and improve conditions for people around them.
3. You’ll Have Job Security
One of the key benefits of being an addiction counselor is that the job is in high demand. There are only about 67,848 addiction counselors in the United States. That means for every 4,500 people addicted to a substance, there’s only 1 counselor.
So, if you enter the addiction counseling field, you’ll have an easier time getting work. You’re also less likely to lose your job since your employer may have a difficult time replacing you.
In addition, you’ll get to work in a wide variety of places. Addiction counselors work in schools, hospitals, or mental health centers. They can also get government jobs.
4. You’ll Expand Your Education
To become an addiction counselor, you’ll need to undergo the same training as other counselors.
Addiction counselors are certified at the state level. This means that the requirements for becoming an addiction counselor will vary based on where you live. If you receive your certification and move out of the state, you may need to complete additional requirements.
Still, many addiction counselors start out on a regular mental health counseling track. They take classes related to psychology and the treatment of substance abuse disorders. Then, they sit for their state’s addiction counseling exam.
The level of education required to become an addiction counselor varies by state. For instance, in some areas, people can work in addiction counseling with a high school degree and additional training. Others must acquire at least a bachelor’s degree.
Most people in the counseling profession obtain a master’s degree. As such, this is the surest way to stand out to employers. Some schools offer specific tracks for addiction counseling. Others will let you graduate from a more general mental health counseling program.
5. You’ll Learn About Your Own Mental Health
When you study substance abuse disorders, you’ll learn more about maintaining your own mental health.
Addiction counseling programs often include classes related to psychology. You’ll learn about different mental health disorders, including how they contribute to addiction. You’ll also learn the differences between healthy and unhealthy behaviors.
The programs will teach the different theories and techniques behind counseling. You’ll learn how to combine these theories in ways that make sense for your clients.
Most addiction counseling students also learn how to apply the theories and techniques to their own lives. Most counseling theories stem from philosophies about life.
For instance, cognitive-behavioral therapy was founded on the premise that people have faulty thoughts that impact their lives. Once you know how to fix faulty thoughts, you’ll experience improved mental health.
Improving Your Mental Health as a Counselor
Many experts believe that good therapists also seek out therapy for themselves. Otherwise, you run the risk of forgetting what it feels like to be a patient. This can reduce your empathy for your clients, which impacts the results of therapy.
Keeping yourself healthy enables you to help your clients for longer, too. Counselors who see other therapists reduce their chances of burnout and maintain better boundaries between work and life.
Want to Learn More?
Now that you know more about becoming an addiction counselor, you’re ready to start looking for programs.
The best addiction counseling programs will have CACREP accreditation. CACREP is the most well-known accreditation system in the United States. It makes certain that schools provide an adequate level of education for counselors.
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