How To Become An Addictions Counselor
An addictions counselor is an individual who guides and helps others eliminate substance addiction, gambling, or any other drug misuse. Addiction counselors usually work with a large number of people and refer them to concerned doctors, support groups, and social services.
Addictions counselors are in high demand across Canada and can earn an average salary of $30.57 per hour all across the country.
What Does An Addictions Counselor Do?
Your day-to-day tasks will include:
- Help clients abstain from addiction to alcohol, drugs, and gambling
- Help identify and overcome addictive behaviors and conditions
- Facilitate the family members or loved ones who have been affected by addiction
- Deal with the ongoing consequences of their addiction
- Work in the evening times, as most of the clients are full-time jobholders
Is This Career Right For You?
Addictions counseling is the perfect career for you if you’re patient, empathetic, and driven to make a positive change in society by helping those who are most in need. Remember though, this profession comes with a lot of stress as patients can prove to be very difficult to deal with. So make sure you can handle the challenges this career brings before you walk on its path.
What Do I Need to Start?
An ideal candidate must have the ability to express themselves clearly. You must also be good at identifying potential problems and solving them by bringing people together. If you have these abilities, you’re off to a good start already.
What Should I Study?
Several community colleges in Canada are providing addictions counselor education, which would later help to qualify for the Canadian Contingent Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor Designation (CCADC), which is the first step towards a complete certification as an Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (ICADC).
These colleges include:
- triOS College
- Everest College of Business, Technology, and Healthcare
- CTS Canadian Career School
- UCW Academies
What Else Do I Need?
Requirements may slightly vary in each province, but might include:
- An addictions counselor must be free from drugs, alcohol, and other addictions
- Should have a graduate degree in Addiction Counseling, Human Resources Psychology, or Social Work
- A certificate provided by Canadian Addiction Counselors Certification Federation (CACCF) in addictions counseling, or completed an internship and cleared a licensing exam
CACCF provides a number of internationally recognized certifications:
- International Certified Alcohol And Drug Counselor
- Canadian Contingent Alcohol & Drug Counselor
- International Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional
- International Certified Co-Occurring Disorders Professional Diplomat
- International Certified Clinical Supervisor
Are There Any Student Aid Programs?
Yes, there are. Federal funding, i.e. federal loans and grants is one way to fund your education if this is the career you opt for. Students of Ontario can also make use of provincial funding programs. If you want more details regarding available funding options, be sure to get in touch with the concerned department of the school you’re applying to.
Where Are The Jobs?
Addictions counselors can get jobs at rehabilitation centers, government agencies, and community improvement programs. Private practices are viable options, as insurance companies are willing to cover counseling services.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to become an addictions counselor?
Typically, courses are about 4 semesters or two years long. Some institutions might offer the course in a shorter duration – it’s best to check with the college you apply to.
Where do addictions counselors make the most money?
A hospital is the best place to work if you want to make the most money in this career. Hospitals pay better as compared to local substance abuse clinics.