Contract Rehabilitation Counseling Services Provider
Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS)
“Eastfield put me on my path in counselor education. I was already somewhat in a medical field — I had been conducting sleep studies — and I knew I wanted to be in patient care, which I felt was my strength. I saw that Eastfield had classes in Substance Abuse Counseling, and I figured it was a good place to start.
“When I went to Eastfield in the summer of 2002, two important things happened: I realized that counseling was going to be the right field for me, and I met Phillip Ortiz, who became my mentor. I saw in him a good role model — we were close to the same age — and I felt like I was able to connect with what he was teaching. It was real-world knowledge, not just information from 50 years ago. He was both working and teaching, and he took his current experiences and filled in the blanks from the textbooks.
“My advice to prospective students in this field is to always keep your mind open to new possibilities and to new ideas. That’s the most challenging and rewarding part of my job. At the associate degree level, students are just getting started in their path of higher education. You can see their growing pains as they begin to question what they’re learning and debate what is true.
“I love to teach. In the classroom, I’m able to give back some of what I got to begin with here, and it’s made my whole experience come full circle. It was only seven years ago that I was sitting in the same seat as my students. I tell them, I know it seems like a long road, but you can do it.”
Dr. Michael Becerra took 18 hours of classes in Substance Abuse Counseling during summer sessions in 2002, then transferred to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in rehabilitation services. He also holds a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling (M.R.C.) from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and a doctorate in counselor education from Texas A&M University-Commerce.
He does contract counseling services, including evaluations and employment support, for Dallas County’s Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) and is an adjunct faculty member for UNT Dallas. He holds credentials as a certified rehabilitation counselor (CRC).