Becoming an Addiction Counselor
The nature of addiction counseling is such that becoming a counselor is no easy task. Much like other professions where people’s lives are in your hands, addiction counseling requires a great deal of training, education and dedication. With proper guidance and good organization however, getting started on this new career path can be rewarding both personally and financially. The following are some guidelines to getting started in our industry.
- Gather information about the different certifications and what they can do for you. Certifications such as the Certified Behavioral Health Technician can offer techs a path toward a management role at a treatment center. The CBHT course is relatively short and has the fewest requirements of any of the certifications we offer. CAP and CAC certifications require longer courses and more strict qualification criteria.
- Get work experience. Every certification requires some degree of direct work experience in the industry, and its better to get that experience now than cram it in later. Work experience can range from 1000 hours for a CBHT to 6000 hours for a CAP student with a bachelor’s degree.
- Understand certification guidelines in your state. Not all states and not all courses are the same. Ensure you understand how much of your coursework can be taken online and how many hours you need to complete the training. Further, if you are planning to move, make sure the certification you are pursuing is reciprocal in your destination state.
- If you now have your license, congratulations! Make sure you earn continuing education credits. You will have to maintain your license with a certain number of credits every year. Each certification board is different, so make sure you know your board’s requirements.
In a rewarding field such as addiction counseling, a great deal of dedication is necessary. Using the resources you have around you, including your state’s board, your employer, and an addiction counselor school like The Academy for Addiction Professionals, is the very best way to get started on your new career path.