How to Become a Drug Counselor

How to Become a Drug Counselor

Even though the overall job market isn’t quite the same as it once was, that certainly doesn’t mean that the drug addiction counseling field is suffering. In fact, quite the opposite is true.

The issue many people have when it comes to getting started in a career working with recovering drug addicts is knowing how to become a drug counselor. You’ll need to get all of the proper education and licensure in order to have a career in this field.

Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. We want to take some of the mystery out of becoming a drug counselor and show you how to get started. Let’s dive in!

Understand the Requirements and Qualifications

Becoming a drug counselor requires understanding the requirements and qualifications for the role. A drug counselor must have all the listed requirements. You must complete a program accredited below.

High School Diploma and Other Educational Requirements

With a high school diploma, you can become a drug counselor. It is important to decide which type of counseling you want to pursue. It can be inpatient, outpatient, residential, or specialized addiction.

Once you have determined your specialty, begin researching other educational requirements. Most drug counselors must complete a Master’s degree program. It must be in psychology, counseling, or a related field.

Those wanting to be one should build their professional experience. Build your knowledge of chemical addictions, substance abuse, and drug abuse. Consider internships, volunteer work, and research.

Complete a Program Accredited by the NAADAC

Completing a program accredited by the NAADAC is a must. It stands for the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselors.

Individuals must complete a program that meets their standards. These programs range from bachelor’s to master’s degrees.

It features rigorous coursework that focuses on understanding addiction. It also includes the effects of drugs on patients. Methods of counseling individuals struggling with substance abuse problems are also included.

You must take part in national and state certification exams. You must engage in continuing education opportunities. That will help to ensure that you stay up to date with the most recent advances in drug counseling.

CARF Program

CARF stands for Council on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. It is a private and non-profit organization.

They test and accredit organizations that provide rehabilitation services. The organizations help to improve the quality of life of individuals and families.

Drug counselors need to complete an accredited training program. It ranges from a certificate to a master’s program. You must also pass licensure requirements through the specific state or jurisdiction.

CARF establishes global standards in the rehabilitation services field. They ensure that services are meeting these high standards.

CACREP Program

This stands for Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. CACREP is the gold standard accreditation for drug counseling. They provide the best education, experience, and credentials in the field.

To become CACREP-certified, you must take courses on relevant topics. It can be addiction, mental health, theories of counseling, and more. Another rule is to complete an internship in a drug counseling setting.

Once you’ve completed coursework and internship, you must pass the CACREP certification exam. After passing the exam, you will receive your CACREP credentials. Then, you will become a certified drug counselor.

Employers advised this credential in the drug counseling field. It helps to ensure that a counselor is up-to-date on all regulations and best practices.

Post-Graduate Degree

Becoming a drug counselor requires postgraduate training and education. It is also possible to become a counselor with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. But, it still depends on the jurisdiction.

Experience in Social Services or Mental Health Counseling

You should have a least a bachelor’s degree in social work or a related field. Courses should include understanding the effects of environmental factors on drug abuse. You must also include psychological, educational, cultural, and economic factors.

You must have excellent skills in assessment, diagnosis, and treatment. You should be able to develop, check, and test treatment plans.

Develop Your Skills and Professionalism

Drug counselors must have certain skills. You must be professional to work in this career.

First, you must understand addiction from both a clinical and social perspective. People struggling with addiction may start on a different part of their journey. You must prepare yourself to address it.

Having a strong knowledge of psychology, human services, and holistic approaches is essential. Drug counselors should always come to work with a positive attitude. You should also have open-mindedness.

It’s important to be an active listener, offering support and non-judgmental feedback. Building trust through a solid connection with clients is necessary. It’s important to remain ethical in all practices and decisions.

You must be up-to-date on relevant laws and regulations. Strive to maintain honesty in all interactions. Always research for more info about alcohol and drug counseling, and make sure to adhere to state and network guidelines.

Connect With Other Drug Counselors and Professionals

Connect with the correct professionals that can provide guidance and knowledge. The next step is to join a drug counselor certification program.

It often carries out regular meetings with professionals. It provides guidance on the relevant qualifications necessary for the role. Networking with others also makes you part of a professional and experienced network.

You can do that once you completed the process of certification. It is also beneficial to look for, and join, any professional associations.

Become a Drug Counselor Today

Drug counseling requires dedication, understanding, and patience. The path to becoming a drug counselor is long and requires commitment. Individuals who are interested in becoming one should consider gaining specialized training and relevant experience.

If you dedicate yourself to helping those in need, becoming a drug counselor could be a rewarding career. Start by learning more about the profession to find out how you can become an addiction counselor!

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