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How To Become Certified as an Addiction Counselor

How To Become A Certified Addiction Counselor

Over the past decade, the field of addiction counseling has experienced significant growth in the United States.. From 2012 to 2022, this field has grown approximately 28%, according to  (Bureau of Health Workforce)​​. This growth has been attributed to several factors–primarily the opioid epidemic, heightened awareness of substance use disorders (SUDs), and the increased funding and support for mental health and addiction services.

The opioid crisis has been the major catalyst for this increase. We are seeing whole communities ravaged. (Our younger generations are going to need assistance rising above this.) According to  ASPE, many programs have been implemented for the purpose of improving education and training for addiction counselors.

Embarking on a career as a addiction counselor is both a noble and fulfilling endeavor. As an addiction counselor, you'll play a crucial role in helping individuals overcome substance abuse and reclaim their lives. This series of three blog posts will guide you through the process of becoming certified as an addiction counselor.

To help you get started, here are the detailed steps you need to follow:

Step 1: Understand the Role of an Addiction Counselor

Understand The Roles of An Addiction Counselor

Before diving into the certification process, it’s important to fully understand the responsibilities of an addiction counselor. These professionals provide support and treatment to individuals struggling with addiction through counseling, education, and recovery plans. They work in various settings, which include:

  • Treatment centers

  • Hospitals

  • Private practices

  • Community organizations

Addiction counselors help clients develop coping strategies, set goals for recovery, and navigate the complexities of addiction treatment. This role requires empathy, patience, and a strong commitment to helping others.

Step 2: Obtain the Necessary Education

Obtain The Necessary Education To Become An Addiction Counselor

To start your journey, you’ll need to meet certain educational requirements:

  • High School Diploma or GED: The first step is to complete your high school education or obtain a GED.

  • College Degree: Pursue a college degree in a relevant field such as psychology, social work, or counseling. Some programs offer specific tracks or courses focused on addiction studies.

Step 3: Gain Relevant Experience

Gain Relevant Experience As An Addiction Counselor

Most certification programs require a certain amount of supervised clinical work where the candidate is the primary counselor carrying a clinical caseload. This experience can be gained through:

  • Internships

  • Volunteer work 

  • Entry-level positions in substance abuse counseling settings like case manager

Hands-on work experience is crucial as it allows you to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world scenarios. Working directly with clients helps you develop practical skills and understand the complexities of addiction. Be sure to always check the requirements of the credentialing authority in your state as conditions and requirements are unique in each state and for each credential. 

Addiction Counseling Session

Are you prepared to embark on the rewarding path of addiction counseling? Don't hesitate—your opportunity to create genuine change begins today. Discover our extensive education courses  and resources at ACTS Consulting, where you can connect with a community of dedicated professionals committed to making a difference. Click here to explore your journey via online independent study education  and turn your passion into your profession!


Join us next week for Part Two of our series: 'Navigating the Path to Becoming a Certified Addiction Counselor.' We'll continue to explore the essential steps and insights to guide you on your journey towards this fulfilling career.

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