Why You Should Become a Substance Use Counselor

Why You Should Become a Substance Use Counselor

Substance use counselors are in demand. So if you’re you looking for a new and rewarding profession consider addiction counseling —a fulfilling career.

Substance use counselors help those struggling with addiction. Addiction is a disease that affects both the person who struggles with it and their loved ones.

If you are interested in working with individuals who have a severe dependency on drugs and substances, then choosing a career in addiction counseling may be a great option for you. Working in the field empowers you to work directly with individuals with substance use disorders.

Surprisingly, it is a great time to walk around this career, as The demand for qualified certified addiction counselors continues to rise. According to the US Bureau of Labor, job growth for substance use counselors is expected to grow 23 percent within the next 10 years, considerably much faster than the average for all professions.

 

Substance use counselor facilitating an addiction recovery group counseling session

What a Substance Use Counselor Does

Addiction counselors help people struggling with addictions, such as alcohol, prescription drugs, and illicit drugs like heroin. In order to assess their mental health, physical health, and readiness for change, they assist their clients through all phases of treatment. 

It is not an easy job to be a substance abuse counselor. You must have the emotional, mental, and professional strength to deal with complex and critical scenarios that are unique to each individual client. You must always remember each client’s struggle with addiction is unique to them. 

Stigma is when someone views another person in a negative way because of a mental health disorder or a substance use disorder. This can be from another person or from within the person themselves. You must be willing to establish rapport with each client. Many clients find it difficult to open up about their hardships. However, when addiction counselors build rapport and trust clients become forthcoming about their problems and hardships. Once the client-counselor relationship is established progress begins and the counselor can support clients on their road to recovery.

Addiction counselors must always strive to ‘do no harm’ while working in the field. This code of ethics guides how they interact with clients, co-workers, and the public. The first action all addiction professionals should strive towards is reducing the harm of a client’s substance use disorder. In substance use treatment, clinicians no longer demand complete abstinence from clients. Instead, they suggest strategies of harm reduction to keep clients in the earliest stages of recovery safe and healthy.

After building rapport and a harm reduction plan, substance use counselors begin to identify the root causes of addiction and develop a recovery treatment plan. A treatment plan establishes a list of goals the client feels will help them achieve the goals they seek.

People struggling with addiction often have an intense focus on using that substance, to the point where they can’t function in day-to-day life.

Substance use disorder is a serious condition in which someone’s life becomes impaired as a result of using substances. SAMHSA defines substance use disorder as “the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs causes clinically significant impairment, including health problems, disability, and failure to meet major responsibilities at work, school, or home.” People struggling with addiction often have an intense focus on using that substance, to the point where they can’t function in day-to-day life. They keep using it even when they know it’s causing problems in all areas of their lives.

The treatment plan will consist of changes a client chooses to make in many areas of their life such as:

  • substance use
  • medication management
  • physical health
  • mental health
  • social situations
  • family, significant others, peers
  • emotional needs
  • work, school, hobbies
  • probation, parole, or other criminals charges
  • readiness for change
  • and more

The substance use counselor will help clients find coping techniques to deal with triggers and urges, and small steps to take in order to achieve the goals found in the treatment plan. The ultimate aim is for the client to understand why certain situations or specific behaviors trigger the recurrence of use (relapse) or impede their recovery process.

Clinicians do not only interact with their clients. At times working closely with a client’s family and significant others repair the trust that was lost due to addiction. 

Addiction counselors also have to organize educational or informative group sessions which help clients and their families to learn more about addiction and substance use behaviors.  Most importantly when facilitating group recovery sessions clients relearn how to interact with others in social settings. Individual and Group therapy sessions include strategies to control destructive behavior or behavioral disorders.

Substance use counselor practicing an individual session with a client for her online CASAC training
Substance use counselor in a mock session for his addiction counseling certificate

Substance Use Counselor’s Requirements and Skills 

 

If you are looking for a career in substance use counseling you should know that each workday is different., challenging, and fulfilling. Even though you’re bound by a code of ethics and core concepts you’ll still allow being creative when suggesting steps your clients can take to achieve their recovery goals.

To become a substance abuse counselor, individuals will generally need to obtain a formal education, often in the form of a substance use counselor certification program. In the US each state’s addiction recovery governing board or licensing agency establishes the requirements needed to become a substance use counselor. For example, in NYS the governing board is OASAS and they require individuals to complete a 350-hour education and training certificate program. Educational Enhancement CASAC online offers the 350-hour education and training program in a self-directed online format. You can study when you want and where you want to. 

Along with the educational requirements, many states require a certain amount of work experience hours and a passing grade on the IC & RC certification exam.

Many people find that after completing a short internship (30-90 days) they begin receiving fair wages for their work. This is especially true if you are working for a substance use treatment program, which will receive weekly supervision and guidance so you can succeed in the addiction recovery field.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the qualities of substance use counselors

  • Active listening – a technique in which the therapist makes good eye contact with the client and pays attention to their verbal and nonverbal messages. This allows for a better understanding of what the client is saying.
  • Empathy – to understand your client’s perspective; and respect and hold this perspective in high regard.  in doing this client will feel understood and heard. Empathy along with compassion most often strengthens the counseling relationship
  • Compassion– showing them that you are truly concerned for their pain or distress and I want to soothe their suffering.
the dalai lama

“If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
–Dalai Lama 

  • Patience – respect your clients and understand their limitations and boundaries. Expressing patience shows your willingness to trust the clinical process and suppress your feelings of eagerness or annoyance when change doesn’t manifest as fast as you like. Treating them while keeping those boundaries.
  • Open-mindedness – is a clinical quality that enables you to think critically and rationally from the perspective of your client. When you are open-minded you can step out of your comfort zone and consider the ideas of others instead of being judgmental and biased about your client’s ideas and situations. Open-mindedness allows you to recognize your judgments and bias toward situations so you can keep these attributes from sabotaging the clinical relationship.
  • Confidentiality– keeping clients’ private information confidential. Once you establish a therapeutic relationship it’s important to keep it safe. Confidentiality allows your clients to feel safe and protected than what they tell you during sessions remains within the room and protected by the rapport between the client and the counselor.
  • Authenticity – being genuine and honest with clients during the treatment process. In addiction counseling, it’s important to have a down-to-earth attitude, so clients feel they’re interacting with real people instead of an educated professional playing a role.

Don’t worry if you don’t think you have these qualities because each one can be cultivated and learned, so you can find a sense of purpose in helping others achieve freedom from their substance use disorder.

Conclusion

Let’s recap what we discussed in this blog post to stress the importance and need for substance use counselors.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for substance abuse counselors will grow 23 percent in the next 10 years. This is considerably much faster than the average for all professions.  Successful substance use counselors are enthusiastic about guiding people struggling with addiction. Each day brings new situations, crises, and challenges to overcome, which provide fulfillment and satisfaction in your work.  When considering the idea of addiction counseling, you should know that you’ll cultivate both emotional and cognitive attributes to be effective.

Lastly, you will have to obtain an education and training certificate. Addiction counseling online training allows anyone to complete the program and make a schedule that fits their needs. You’ll never have to show up at a school or a webinar at a specific time. Instead, you’ll have the option to create your schedule for learning and studying. You can jump into training when you have a free-time at work or school, read assignments during your commute to work and on breaks, and never miss a meal with your family. 

Educational Enhancement CASAC Online empowers you to fit your substance use counseling study into your current schedule where you want to. It doesn’t matter if it’s late in the evening or 2:30 in the morning.  Educational is an OASAS-approved education and training provider (#0415.)

Once you finish your education and training, you’ll receive a certificate to submit to your licensing board you can start working in the field. You’ll be a credentialed addiction counseling professional once you have earned enough work experience hours and passed the IC &RC exam. In NYS, this certificate is referred to as a CASAC (Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor)

So do you think you have what it takes to jump into a rewarding career as a substance use counselor?

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Online addiction counseling training is an excellent option for people seeking to change their careers, stay-at-home moms, and many more addiction counseling career seekers. Educational Enhancement CASAC Online training provides the best education and training combination. Depending on how ambitious you are, you can finish the 350-hour program in as little as 4 months, but most students complete the program and start working in the field in 6 months.

If you know anyone who might benefit from reading this article, please forward them a link.  

The Top 5 Benefits of Online Study for Drug Counselor Certification 

The Top 5 Benefits of Online Study for Drug Counselor Certification 

A woman in front of a computer maximizing her benefits in online study of drug counselor certification
Millions of people are choosing to study online for a variety of reasons. Here are five of the top benefits of online study for addiction counseling certification and certification renewal.

Do you ever dread having to keep a commitment after a long day of trudging through life in your unfulfilling career? Do you feel you might have made the wrong career choice? Millions of people change their careers several times throughout their lifetime and so can you. But you fear that your job demands too much from how can you find time to study when you don’t even have the energy to spend time with your family after a long day of unfulfilling work.

If you’re reading this blog it’s safe to say that you’re in the market for a career change. One fulfilling career with an exponential growth rate is to pursue a career as a substance use disorder counselor.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the employment of substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors will grow by 23% from 2020 to 2030. This is much faster than the average for all occupations. It is estimated that around 41,000 openings for these types of counselors will become available each year on average over the next decade. A good number of these vacancies will be a result of workers transferring to other occupations or exiting the labor force.

However, there is still the issue of not having time to pursue the 350 hours of education to become a drug counselor, especially when your current career is sucking your will to live out of you.

This is the reality for many of us – our careers drain our life but making a career change seems too demanding. When will you find the time? Going to class after work seems exhaustive. Putting your family on hold causes guilt and further longing for change. Don’t worry you can still join the thousands of people who have found fulfillment by changing their careers with the help of online drug counselor education and training.

Keep reading to learn why online education removes many of the entry-level barriers blocking your path from pursuing a fulfilling career as an addictions counselor.

Let’s look at the five major benefits of online CASAC education and training.

*FTR:  If you need to renew your CASAC credential or any other addiction counseling credential these five benefits pertain to you, too!

Without further interruption let’s jump in.

The Top 5 Benefits of Online Study for Drug Counselor Certification

​​

1. Flexibility and online education

“Because you get to set your schedule and study only when you have time, eLearning makes learning not something you have to get over with, but something you look forward to!”
Mark Hayes, Head of Marketing at Kintell

 

There are many benefits to online drug counselor education, including flexibility and accessibility. For example, students can learn at their own pace and from any location they choose.

One of the benefits of online education is its flexibility. Many students can study from home, which can be more comfortable. Additionally, online courses often allow for more individualized instruction. This means that students can receive help from a tutor or professor when needed, making the learning process more efficient.

When you study with Educational Enhancement CASAC Online, you never have to worry about traditional classroom or webinar-based learning such as:

  • interruptions people talking to one another,
  • disruptive classmates,
  • disinterested students who fidget and leave the room often
  • long-drawn our tangents (from students or facilitators), taking away from the material presented
  • presenters/facilitators/ instructors  drawn off-topic

2. Taking online classes is cost-effective

“Online learning is rapidly becoming one of the most cost-effective ways to educate the world’s rapidly expanding workforce.”
– Jack Messman, former CEO at Novel

 

In recent years, online courses have become increasingly popular among students worldwide. There are several reasons for this, but one of the most important is that online classes are often cost-effective, and many online courses are cheaper than traditional classroom programs. Online drug counseling educational courses do not have service fees, technology fees, student association fees than conventional academic institutions or classroom programs.  

Not having to get to the classroom by any specific time each day allows you to spend less time hustling around the city trying to get to school after work or waiting impatiently at home for the sitter to show up. Not to mention paying the sitter commuting costs (gas, parking, tolls, etc.). Having to hustle to a classroom after work can leave you feeling like you’re missing out on necessary family time. Alternatively, you may find yourself having to go to school or attend a webinar session that takes you away from home and family. In either case, you’re sacrificing quality family time.

Second, many online courses allow you to take multiple sessions, which means you can get more out of each one. Finally, online classes often have built-in grading systems, which means that you can get your credits in a shorter amount of time.

Additionally, online courses are often cost-effective since they do not require expensive equipment or facilities.

Many online schools offer scholarships and other financial assistance to make learning more affordable. For example, Educational Enhancement currently works with ACCESS VR in New York State to help students with full scholarships.

Free guide to addiction counselor (CASAC) credentialing

A Free Guide to Addiction Counseling Credentialing

Your new career as an addiction counseling professional doesn’t have to be daunting.

Our FREE guide to the addiction counselor credentialing process is as easy as saying 1, 2, 3.

Your FREE Guide comes with a subscription to our newsletter. (You are subscribing to email updates. Unsubscribe Any time.)

Be the CHANGE we Need!

 

3. Why self-directed CASAC online learning provides deeper learning and understanding

You can’t teach people everything they need to know, and the best you can do is position them where they can find what they need to know when they need to know it.” – Seymour Papert, MIT mathematician, educator, and computer scientist.

 

Self-directed CASAC online learning provides deeper learning and understanding because it allows students to work at their own pace and customize their learning experience. Drug counselor online learning will enable students to focus on the most important topics and allow them to explore the material in a more in-depth way.

Learning online allows you the right to review the material on an engaging platform as many times as you like. On the other hand, classroom or webinar-based learning gives you one shot to absorb everything said during a presentation. Unfortunately, getting distracted can easily cause you to miss important information during a presentation. The worse part is that you never know what is essential and what isn’t necessary to learn a new skill when following a career path. You can always log in and review previous sessions when studying drug counseling online.

Additionally, online learning programs provide support and encouragement through alternative online study groups, accountability partnerships, and several ways to reach instructors for further explanation and coaching.

 

 

4. The quality of 20 minutes of focussed online learning

 

“Where my reason, imagination, or interest was not engaged, I would not, or I could not learn.”
– Winston Churchill

 

There is no doubt that online learning offers many benefits for students, such as flexibility, convenience, and cost-effectiveness. However, one of the most significant benefits of online study is the quality of the learning experience. Online learning allows you to monitor and regulate your process of knowledge, and Online learning helps you create your pathway of learning. In short, Online education teaches you how to learn.

Online learning, when done right, engages you to push forward. You can sign in and log 20 minutes of focussed online learning anywhere and anytime, and you cannot do this when waiting to get into the classroom.

A study conducted by the University of South Wales found that students who undertook online learning scored higher on assessments than students who undertook face-to-face learning. This study suggests that online learning is convenient and cost-effective and provides high-quality learning opportunities.

Educational Enhancement CASAC Online provides links to academic journals, articles, and case studies to further your knowledge of essential addiction counseling issues and topics. Understanding addiction/ recovery academic literature published gives students a head start preparing for the IC & RC certification exam. Most certification exam writers scour academic literature when designing certification exams on academic literature. If you want to achieve the highest possible score on your certification exam, investing in quality online self-directed learning is essential.

 

 

5. Why completing 350 hours of self-directed online study opens more career opportunities

“When training is done well, doors open, skills development, and performance excellences yield personal and organizational rewards.”
-Michael Allen, Chairman & CEO, Allen Interactions

 

 

Completing an initial CASAC 350 clock hour education program online shows that you take your career focus seriously and search, find and implement solutions to overcome obstacles. Online drug counselor educational programs often have more rigorous coursework than traditional classroom-based programs, which can help you develop the critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed for a successful career as a drug counselor.

As you progress through a self-directed online learning system, you’ll develop positive attitudes and beliefs about yourself that increase your academic perseverance. And prompt you to engage in productive academic behaviors. Completing the Educational Enhancement’s CASAC 350- hour online program shows employers your level of commitment in seeing work through to completion, meeting your goals, and doing quality work.

Developing self-awareness is one of the most critical areas of development for any addiction counselor. Learning to study online forces you to take a look inside to learn how to apply yourself to the pursuit of your goals. Studying online forces you to understand your values and why you pursue learning. Learning online helps you become self-aware of how to apply the knowledge you are learning to your career as an addiction counselor, to engage values intimately, and what works best for you when it comes to self-improvement, self-care, and continuing education.

By completing 350 hours of self-directed online study, you can open up many career opportunities because you show employers your willingness and motivation to set goals and follow through without constant instruction.

 

 Summary

 

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” 
– paraphrase of a Charles Marshall quote in Shattering the Glass Slipper

 

The future of education is online learning. This means that people will be learning through the internet using things like eLearning (learning through a computer), mobile learning (learning through a phone or tablet), and distance education (learning from a teacher who is not in the same room as you). People are using these technologies to access information and skills that they wouldn’t be able to get before. Leaders in different fields and leaders involved with substance abuse counseling education and training are starting to see the potential that online learning is the future.

This article covered five benefits to online study for drug counselor certification.

One benefit is that it is convenient for students. Many online programs allow for flexibility in when and where you study, which can help you fit learning around your busy schedule. Online study will enable students to look at their own pace and schedule. It also allows students to study from home, which can benefit those who have difficulty attending class in person.

Finally, the online study allows students to receive feedback, one-on-one instruction, coaching, and mentoring on their work, which helps you understand addiction and apply the information you obtained to make clinical-based decisions and improve skills and knowledge.

Educational Enhancement CASAC Online is an OASAS approved education and training provider. We look forward to serving all of your addiction counselor continuing education needs. Fire off a quick email to say hi, ask a question, or suggest any content you feel will help you succeed in the field as a substance use counseling professional. about what content you would like us to provide for you

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Free guide to addiction counselor (CASAC) credentialing

A Free Guide to Addiction Counseling Credentialing

Your new career as an addiction counseling professional doesn’t have to be daunting.

Our FREE guide to the addiction counselor credentialing process is as easy as saying 1, 2, 3.

Your FREE Guide comes with a subscription to our newsletter. (You are subscribing to email updates. Unsubscribe Any time.)

Be the CHANGE we Need!