What to Know Before You Start Your Counseling Career

Drug and alcohol addiction in the United States is no joke. More than 20 million people have problems with drug and substance abuse. It is now one of the biggest problems that the government is facing. Thankfully, a significant portion of those affected by addiction problems seeks treatment in the form of drug counseling and rehabilitation. That means there is a great need for professionals who can help them. An addiction counselor with a drug counseling certificate can do a lot of good by helping substance abusers recover.

Things You Should Know About A Counseling Career

If you want to help drug and alcohol addicts, you need to be educated and trained on how to effectively do it. You cannot just rely on your own inner skills and sincere desire because substance addiction is a hugely complex problem. Here are some of the things you need to know if you want to have a counseling career specifically focused on substance abusers.

The Right Attitude

To be successful in a counseling career in substance abuse, you must have the right attitude towards your patients. That means you need to be compassionate, non-judgmental, tolerant, understanding and most of all respectful towards your patients. Without these qualities, you will find it hard to provide effective counseling to a drug or alcohol addict.

The Right License

Before a person is allowed to counsel drug and alcohol addicts, he must first have the appropriate professional license. He will not be allowed by the government to provide counseling to substance abusers without this license, or he will be charged with the corresponding criminal offense. Of course, before you are given a license, you must first pass a professional exam.

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And it goes to show that before you are allowed to get the exam, you must first be qualified to take it. That means you have to undertake studies in an accredited educational institution and successfully pass all their requirements for graduation. Some of the degrees that can qualify you to get the professional license exams and drug counseling certificate exams are psychology, or counseling which takes up to 3 to 4 years to complete. Different states have different exam requirements, so you need to consider the requirements of the state where you want to practice the profession.

The Capacity to Work Long Hours

The job of counseling substance abusers is not a 9 to 5 job. This job can be very demanding with regards to your time as well as your effort. There are counselors who need to work on evenings and even on weekends. A lot of group therapies, especially if they involve the families of the patients, are conducted after office hours to accommodate their schedules. If you are not passionate about the job of a counselor, you might not be happy with this kind of demand for your time, skills and talents.

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A Great Paying Job

The good thing about the job of a drug and alcohol counselor is that the pay is relatively good. You can make more than $50,000 a year in this job. But even if this job pays well, it must not only be your motivator. Your most important stimulus should be your ardent desire to help an individual recover from the disease of addiction.