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Online addiction counseling degrees teach future counselors how to connect with clients who struggle with substance abuse and then help them overcome addiction. Candidates for such programs should possess strong human communication and assessment skills to help determine treatment steps and be open to various recovery resources.
Some online addiction counseling programs may offer concentrations or coursework that prepares students for specific professions. For example, future probation officers may benefit from a program that addresses the legal and ethical concerns of substance abuse treatment. Learners should consider career goals first and then find a program that suits that profession.
Candidates can explore this page for information on careers and skills connected to addiction counseling programs.
What Is Addiction Counseling?
Addiction counseling helps individuals with substance abuse problems strive for recovery. To accomplish this goal, counselors must objectively discuss the addiction and life situation of each client to determine the most suitable treatment. Factors such as family life, economics, drug use, and time already invested in recovery can impact this plan. Counselors must also note when treatment needs adjustment. For instance, a relapse or family tragedy may alter circumstances enough to mandate treatment changes.
Counselors may also interact with families of clients for insight on counseling methods or to educate relatives on addiction and treatment. Additionally, counselors may oversee group therapy sessions with several recovering addicts and motivate them to continue with treatment. They can recommend programs for clients, like support groups, to encourage recovery and may work in hospitals, outpatient clinics, and residential homes.
Graduates anywhere from the most expensive to the cheapest online addiction counseling degree programs can also work outside of counseling sessions. Probation officers, for instance, may help past offenders with addiction problems transition into healthier lifestyles, and community health workers may inform the public of the dangers of addiction. Social workers, additionally, can specialize in helping substance abusers. Candidates may also pursue educational careers with organizations such as Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.), which encourages K-12 learners to avoid drug use.
For any of these professions, candidates should be compassionate problem-solvers who want to make a change in another person's life.
What Can I Do With an Online Addiction Counseling Bachelor's Degree?
Online addiction counseling degrees cover psychological aspects of addiction, along with counseling and treatment methods. Programs may also include legal and ethical concerns for treating different individuals, such as juveniles. These degrees prepare graduates for counseling positions and, therefore, equip them with communication and case management skills.
Addiction counseling graduates may also pursue careers in other industries. Candidates should always consider career goals before entering programs in order to determine the option that best suits their professional objectives.
Skills and Knowledge Gained
Online addiction counseling bachelor's degrees build students' communication, problem-solving, and research skills.
Addiction counselors may discuss a client's problems with the family for insights on the client's life or to help the family understand the illness. These counselors must actively listen to clients to determine treatment and counseling methods, and they must also present treatment plans in clear terms that the client understands. To hone these communication skills, programs may require classes on group therapy, speech, and communication. Students can also search for schools that offer internships in which they observe and practice these skills in real-world settings.
Problem-solving skills are necessary since counselors must consider all elements of a person's addiction and then create a plan for recovery. This process involves attention to detail, as well as organizational and leadership abilities. Online addiction counseling degrees from accredited schools may mandate courses that develop these skills, including crisis intervention, assessment and diagnosis, and case management.
Programs can also build research skills. In particular, counselors and social workers must assess each client's situation to determine the right treatment path, which often involves study, interviews, and inferences. Research skills also help probation officers who supervise past offenders and community health workers who educate the public on health issues. Courses may include research papers, and some accredited addiction counseling bachelor's programs may also require a senior research project.
Finally, online addiction counseling bachelor's programs will provide students with a thorough understanding of addiction, including physiological and psychological elements, such as how drug use and alcoholism affect behavior. This information helps candidates assess clients' needs, build treatment plans, and educate communities on the hazards of drug abuse.
Careers and Salary Potential
The best online addiction counseling degree programs prepare graduates to work in multiple industries. For instance, candidates may help individuals struggling with addiction in outpatient centers or hospitals, or they may help criminal offenders transition into a new life. Some of these positions may require additional credentials beyond the addiction bachelor's. Social workers, for instance, may need a master's in social work and a state license.
Many of these industries include similar occupations. As an example, substance abuse counselors can work in residential facilities, outpatient centers, and hospitals.
- Outpatient Mental Health and Substance Abuse Centers
This industry comprises medical centers that offer non extended treatment for addiction and mental illness. Possible careers include substance abuse counselors and community health workers.
- Individual and Family Services
This industry helps families who struggle with substance abuse. Candidates in this industry can work as counselors, community and social service specialists, and community health workers.
- Residential Mental Health and Substance Abuse Facilities
These facilities provide extended care to individuals with mental health and substance abuse problems. Possible professions include substance abuse counselors and social and human service assistants who specialize in substance abuse treatment.
- Hospitals (State, Local, and Private)
Hospitals offer extended care for illnesses, including substance abuse. An online addiction counseling bachelor's degree prepares graduates for careers as substance abuse counselors and community health workers in this industry.
Government jobs include civil service occupations, with certain exceptions. Earning an online addiction counseling degree may prepare candidates to work as social workers, probation officers, and social and human service assistants in this field.
Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors
Median Salary: $44,630
These counselors help clients overcome alcohol and drug addiction. They determine each client's needs, draw up a personal treatment plan, and alter that plan when necessary.
Probation Officers and Correctional Treatment Specialists
Median Salary: $53,020
Candidates may ensure law offenders uphold parole or probation agreements and verify that offenders are not causing harm to others. Responsibilities may include communicating with the offender and their family, testing for drugs, and visiting places of employment. Candidates may also help offenders obtain jobs.
Median Salary: $49,470
Social workers can specialize in certain areas, including mental health and substance abuse. They determine a client's needs and connect him/her with resources for recovery, such as support groups. For clinical positions, social workers need a master's degree and license.
Social and Community Service Managers
Median Salary: $65,320
These managers determine helpful programs for communities, such as substance abuse prevention or treatment opportunities. Candidates also review data for programs for evidence of efficiency. Additional responsibilities may include selecting and training new employees.
Community Health Workers
Median Salary: $35,810
Community health workers provide information on health issues, such as substance abuse, and answer questions from residents. Responsibilities may involve recordkeeping and involvement in health training opportunities.
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