A drug abuse counselor can be a really great career choice for those who can handle it. These counselors make a big difference in the lives of many people, but the job does come with a lot of stress. If you are thinking about becoming this type of counselor, there is a lot of work involved before you can start applying for positions.
Step 1) To become a Drug Abuse Counselor, Go to college.
There are courses available at both community colleges and regular universities. Speak with a counselor about the goals that you have. They will put you in the proper classes that are needed in order to become a counselor. This will generally include sociology classes as well as a whole lot of psychology.
In addition to this, classes for health are also going to be required. Although psychology is a huge part of the counseling process, so is the body. It’s important for counselors to understand what their patients are going through. This includes withdrawal symptoms, how drugs affect the brain and more. Knowing this information can help with the approach to treatment.
Step 2) Volunteer.
Rehabs are always looking for people who want to volunteer. While you’re certainly not going to start off counseling people, you can get a feel for the environment. This can help you learn what different people do, how different patients are treated and which specialty area you enjoy the most.
Volunteering can also get your foot in the door for a job in the future. Becoming familiar with different people in the industry can lead to job positions after you are done with school. You’ll be a lot more comfortable in a rehab facility if you’re already familiar with the way it works.
Step 3) Find a mentor.
This is one of the toughest jobs out there because of all the mental stress it involves. Not only will you come in contact with people who have had serious drug problems, you will also come in contact with people who have gone through huge life changing events. These life events could be anything from someone being sexually abused to someone who always live in foster care. There are a lot of heartbreaking stories involved with people who are in drug counseling.
Having a mentor to coach you through the process will help out a lot. They can give you tips for how to deal with different situations so you don’t get too emotionally attached. This is really important if you want to maintain any sort of normal life outside of the job. A mentor can help prepare you for what is to come. They can give you insider information about the job that you probably won’t find under the description on applications.
Step 4) Finish your education.
If you want to become a drug addiction counselor it’s very important to finish your education. Once you have completed all the courses recommended by your counselor, it will be time for certification. Each state is different with their certification laws, so look into these to determine what you need.
Generally you are going to have to complete a written exam along with many hours on the job. This is where having an internship or volunteer job will really come into play and help you out. After you have all of this, it will need to be turned into the state. Within a few weeks you should know whether or not you were able to become certified.
Step 5) Find a job!
Once you are certified and have your education behind you, it’s time to start looking for a career. This could be at the place where you already volunteer, but other opportunities might also arise. Apply with as many places as possible so you have a lot of options just in case something else doesn’t work out.
If you want to continue your education, you could end up making a lot more money in the future. Some people are even able to open their own counseling offices when they have their master’s or PHD. There are a wide variety of classes available that will give you the education that is needed. What you do after you are certified it’s up to you what kind of drug abuse counselor you will be.
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