Alcohol and drug counselors who are sometimes called "substance abuse counselors" or "rehabilitation counselors" play the important role of helping individuals overcome their addictions to alcohol and drugs. They may also work with the families of individuals that are trying to recover from additions. They are trained to recognize when individuals need additional help and are knowledgeable about referring them to the appropriate facilities or programs.
Some alcohol and drug counselors are employed by treatment centers where they work with inpatients or with individuals who visit the center on an outpatient basis. Others may work in correctional facilities. Not only do alcohol and drug counselors treat individuals who are suffering from substance abuse problems but also they educate the broader community by giving talks that inform people about the dangers of alcohol or drugs. They often visit schools and universities to inform students about the dangers of substance abuse.
According to the website Education-portal.com alcohol and drug counselors are usually expected to have a bachelor's degree in social and behavioral science family or substance abuse therapy counseling or social work. However some employment settings require a master's degree in one of these subjects. In most cases they complete a certificate program in how to counsel individuals with drug and alcohol problems.
In addition to the formal educational requirements for this profession alcohol and drug counselors must be skilled at communicating and showing empathy for their patients. They must gain patients' trust and confidence but at the same time it is important that they learn to maintain an emotional distance from their clients. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Bls.gov predicts positive growth for this profession and reports that the median annual earnings for those working in treatment centers as approximately $35000.