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Substance Abuse Counseling Careers

photo of a counseling session

Substance abuse counseling is a demanding but rewarding branch of social work that requires patience, compassion and the motivation to help people in crisis. Substance abuse counselors typically refer patients to a variety of other services to create a holistic approach to solving the complicated problems of drug and alcohol addiction.

Substance abuse counselors form a specialized category of social workers, whose other primary areas include child, family and school social workers, and medical and public health social workers. They work closely with other health and human service professionals including psychologists, social workers, family counselors, career counselors, lawyers, welfare agents and other state employees.

General skills that make social workers and counselors effective in their jobs include:

  • Active listening skills
  • Effective verbal communication skills with a variety of people
  • A genuine desire to help other people, especially in a crisis
  • Inductive reasoning and the ability to combine pieces of information into related conclusions
  • Sensitivity to recognizing problems or situations when something is likely to go wrong
  • Social perceptiveness
  • Time management
  • Substance Abuse Counseling at a Glance

    Looking for a quick overview of the Substance Abuse Counseling program? Take a look at Substance Abuse Counseling at a Glance for a short summary.

    America’s Career Infonet gives detailed information about the skills, abilities, work activities and recommended education for related jobs in Texas:

    Job Hourly Rate Annual Salary Projected Growth Through 2022

    Child, family and school social workers

    $18.48 $38,400 +17%

    Counselors, all other

    $27.93 $58,100 +25%

    Social and human services assistants

    $15.23 $31,700 +22%

    Social workers

    $31.59 $65,700 +14%
    Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors $17.47 $36,300 +29%