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What does an Addiction Counselor do?

Learn all about Addiction Counselor duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become an Addiction Counselor.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 4 min read

An addiction counselor is a professional who helps people with addictions. They work with people who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or other substances, and help them overcome their addiction.

Addiction Counselor job duties include:

  • Help clients identify and develop coping skills to deal with triggers and stressors.
  • Provide individual and group counseling sessions.
  • Develop treatment plans in collaboration with clients.
  • Monitor client progress and adjust treatment plans as needed.
  • Facilitate referrals to other services and programs as needed.
  • Maintain confidential client records.
  • Provide crisis intervention as needed.
  • Educate clients and their families about addiction and recovery.
  • Advocate for clients’ needs.

Addiction Counselor Job Requirements

An Addiction Counselor is a professional who helps people with addiction problems. They work with clients to help them overcome their addiction and live a healthy life. Addiction Counselors need to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in psychology, social work, or a related field. They must also be certified by the National Board for Certified Counselors. Many states also require that they have a certain amount of experience working with clients with addiction problems.

Addiction Counselor Skills

  • Listening
  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Organizational
  • Time management
  • Stress management
  • Active listening
  • Critical thinking
  • Writing

Related: Top Addiction Counselor Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become an Addiction Counselor

If you’re interested in becoming an addiction counselor, there are a few things you should know. First and foremost, addiction counseling is a helping profession, so it’s important that you have a desire to help others. Secondly, because addiction counseling involves working with people who are struggling with addiction, it’s important that you have a good understanding of addiction and its causes. Finally, while there is no one-size-fits-all approach to becoming an addiction counselor, there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of success.

Step 1: Get Educated

The first step to becoming an addiction counselor is to get educated. While there is no specific degree required to become an addiction counselor, most counselors have at least a bachelor’s degree in a field such as psychology, social work, or counseling. In addition to getting a degree, it’s also important to complete any required internships or practicums. These experiences will give you the opportunity to work with clients and learn more about the counseling process.

Step 2: Get Certified

The second step to becoming an addiction counselor is to get certified. While certification is not required in all states, it may be required in some states or by some employers. To become certified, you will need to pass an exam administered by the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). The NBCC offers several different exams for counselors, so be sure to choose the exam that best fits your area of interest and expertise.

Step 3: Find a Job

The third step to becoming an addiction counselor is to find a job. There are many different settings in which addiction counselors can work, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, mental health clinics, and private practices. Once you’ve found a job that interests you, it’s important to complete any required training programs or courses. These programs will teach you the specific skills and knowledge you need to be successful in your new role.

Related: Addiction Counselor Resume Example

Related: Addiction Counselor Interview Questions (With Example Answers)