Substance Abuse Counselor Career, Job, Degrees and Training Information

Substance abuse counselors working with adults on parole or probation assist these individuals enrolling in education programs, instruct their family members so they can help their relatives on parole or probation, and provide other services to assist them. Substance abuse counselors coordinate and conduct group treatment therapy sessions. Likewise, they review substance abusers by conducting physical and psychological tests to determine treatment strategies and how regularly they should test them to see if they have been abusing. After a test has been conducted, the results are sent to individual probation and parole officers. Counselors are also responsible to determine if recovering addicts should continue to receive treatment related to their addictions. Those working with recovering addicts sometimes work in situations where they can be harmed, as well as being around people with communicable diseases.

Each state has separate requirements to work as a substance abuse counselor. Most states require applicants to possess a bachelor's degree in either social work, psychology, sociology, or a related major. Before being hired in most states, applicants seeking to work with juvenile offenders need to have at least one year of experience in addition to earning a college degree. Applicants will need to become certified in the state where they work as well as pass a thorough background review.

Substance Abuse Counselor Salary, Earnings and Wage Information

Juvenile substance abuse counselors averaged annual salaries of $48,000, substance abuse counselors averaged annual salaries of $32,000, drug and alcohol counselors averaged annual salaries of $41,000, and addiction counselors with special certifications averaged annual salaries around $29,000. According to the Economic Research Foundation, annual earnings for substance abuse counselors varied between $40,000-51,000.

Individuals interested in working as a surveillance officer, in most cases, must have a high school diploma or equivalent GED. Large casinos usually prefer to hire candidates with 1 or more years of experience working in the gaming industry. Jobs in these casinos are more difficult to obtain since employees at these institutions earn more and have greater opportunities to be promoted. Individuals who have completed associate’s or bachelor’s programs in criminal justice will improve their employment opportunities. In 2008, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, average median salaries for those working as surveillance officers was around $29,870 a year. Since many state legislators are proposing laws to increase gambling, job openings in gaming will continue to increase through 2018.

Source: US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics,,

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