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Substance abuse counselors assist people who are struggling with addiction to alcohol, prescription pills, cocaine, heroin, or other illegal drugs in building a sober lifestyle. There are several skills needed to be a substance abuse counselor, from therapeutic practices and analyzing assessment tests to expressing empathy, being resilient, and having emotional intelligence. These and other skills give counselors the knowledge and know-how to treat all types of substance use disorders and teach patients healthy life skills.  

Behavioral Health Jobs supports job seekers who want to find a rewarding career in the healthcare industry. We post new jobs for substance abuse counselors, psychologists, therapists, and other care positions daily from right next door to nationwide. We can also help guide you toward landing a dream job with career tips and advice on a variety of related subjects, like resume tips, detailed job descriptions, and much more.   

To find a substance abuse counselor job near you, begin a new search today on the Behavioral Health Jobs website.  

Substance Abuse Counselor Job Requirements 

The substance abuse counselor job field is a faster-than-average growing area of behavioral health, with an expected job growth of 18% between now and 2032. That’s an average of 70,000 new jobs each year.  

If you are interested in becoming a substance abuse counselor, you will need to meet several substance abuse counselor job requirements. One of the first steps is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in the behavioral science field. The most common degree for this position include: 

  • Counseling 
  • Addiction counseling 
  • Behavioral science 
  • Social science 
  • Psychology 

Once you have completed a four-year degree, you can continue your education by earning a Master’s degree in social work, psychology, or addiction counseling. Some more senior positions may require a master’s degree or certification as a substance abuse counselor.  

The National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NCCAP) offers three different certification courses: 

  • National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level I (NCAC I) 
  • National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level II (NCAC II) 
  • Master Addiction Counselor (MAC) 

To qualify for certifications, you must complete a post-secondary degree plus up to 3 years or 6,000 hours of supervised addiction counseling experience. Each state has different requirements for substance abuse counselors, so be sure to read the job post carefully for all job requirements.  

The Behavioral Health Jobs website specializes in jobs in the behavioral health industry and has new jobs uploaded daily for those whose field of study is addiction recovery. You can search for a new job by distance from home as well as on-site, remote, or hybrid work environments.  

Skills Needed to Be a Substance Abuse Counselor 

Substance abuse counselors rely on a vast number of skills to do their job effectively. Here is a breakdown of the top substance abuse counselor skills that you need to excel as an addiction counselor: 

Hard Skills 

Hard skills are those essential skills that you learn in school, internships, and real-world job experience. Some of the top hard skills for this position include: 

  • Knowledge of substance use disorders 
  • Understanding various treatment methods and approaches 
  • Assessment and diagnosis skills 
  • Case management 
  • Crisis interveniton techniques 
  • Program development 
  • Knowledge of current legal and ethical regulations 
  • Experience with Microsoft Office or other business or word-processing software 

Soft Skills 

Being able to work with all types of people through difficult times can be stressful. This is why a substance abuse counselor needs a thick skin and other personal skills, like superb communication skills and adaptability to any situation. You pick up soft skills through daily interactions with friends, family, and peers.  

The top soft skills that a substance abuse counselor needs are: 

  • Empathy 
  • Communication 
  • Patience 
  • Resilience 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Active listening 
  • Cultural acceptance 
  • Out-of-the-box thinking 
  • Able to focus during crises 
  • Emotional intelligence 
  • A passion for helping others 
  • Interpersonal skills 

These are just some of the skills needed to become a substance abuse counselor. If you lack some of these skills, there are workshops, conferences, and seminars available to build on them.  

Search for New Substance Abuse Counselor Jobs on the Behavioral Health Jobs Website Today  

When you are ready to begin searching for substance abuse counseling jobs near you, the Behavioral Health Jobs website provides a dedicated job board to aid your search. You can go directly to our job board and filter your search by job title and other criteria, like years of experience, industry type, and job type.  

If you feel you have the skills necessary to be a substance abuse counselor and want to help people recover, check out the Behavioral Health Jobs website today to find your dream job. 

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