What is Addiction Counseling?
Addiction counseling is a field with a lot of job potential. With worries about life in general, health, job security, and other personal matters, many people fall victim to finding solace through drugs and alcohol. Because the addiction rate is increasing, this also means the need for treatment is on the rise. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the need for substance abuse counselors and therapists is expected to increase much faster than the average between now and 2029. This is because there are expected to be a lot of people who will need assistance going through treatment plans and recovery. Whether these people need help with alcohol abuse, drug addiction, or some other form of emotional or behavioral addiction, trained professionals are going to be needed to meet the need in the near and foreseeable needs across the country.
An addiction counselor works with people in treatment to help them recover from a current addiction and navigate life after addiction, with or without a support group. These counselors meet with people individually or in groups and help them learn the skills and coping mechanisms to help them stay sober and drug free. Counseling can occur in many different situations, from in-house treatment programs to halfway houses, outpatient treatment, and private practice. Counselors receive special training in order to best help people who want to remain drug and or alcohol free. Counselors will meet with patients to analyze their needs and perform drug testing and administer assistive medications if or as needed.
Addiction Counseling Education in Delaware
Delaware is no different than any other state. There are currently a little less than 600 people employed in the counseling and treatment field, with the demand expected to triple in the next ten years. If you are someone who wants to help people and has the temperament, patience, and wherewithal to assist people who might not be sure they need help, becoming a counselor could be a good fit for you. Several colleges and universities in Delaware offer some sort of counseling degree or program, from certificates up to and including doctorate programs. If you’re interested in learning about this field, you will find general information about the field, its educational requirements, and the different types of available positions in the field below.
Associate Degree in Addiction Counseling (AS)
An associate degree in addiction counseling is not a standalone degree that can be used to work as an addiction counselor in the state of Delaware. Instead, this program is a prior degree or perhaps an add-on for someone with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in social work, psychology, or another healthcare field who wants to become an addiction counselor. In the state of Delaware, these programs are 300 hours, with each class being worth 45 hours.
Some of the required classes include:
- Assessment of Alcohol & Drug Addiction
- Professional, Legal & Ethical Responsibilities for Alcohol & Drug Counselors
- Introduction to Alcohol and Drug Counseling
- Alcohol & Drug Counseling II
- Treatment Planning & Relapse Prevention for Alcohol & Drug Addiction
- Special Topics for Alcohol & Drug Counseling
Bachelor's Degree in Addiction Counseling (BS)
A bachelor’s degree in addiction counseling will include psychology and sociology classes, as well as other liberal arts courses that make up a school’s general education curriculum. Addiction counseling also includes some courses in chemistry and biology so that the student understands how drug addiction can change the chemical composition of a person’s brain.
Some classes in the curriculum might include:
- Behavioral Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Human Development
Students will also be required to complete at least one clinical internship, depending on their particular area of study. These internships can take place in a hospital setting or under the guidance of a licensed therapist that is trained in offering internships to students.
Master's Degree in Addiction Counseling (MS.)
Most people who pursue graduate degrees for addiction counseling earn a master’s in either social work or psychology. Addiction counseling is a component of both of these programs.
Along with courses in addiction counseling, students enrolled in graduate degree programs will also take the following courses:
- Building Your Ideal Private Practice
- Human Growth and Development
- Psychopathology and Personality Disorders
- Orientation to Addiction
- Social and Cultural Foundations of Counseling
For students who are not already working in the field, an internship will be required, either through a healthcare system or through an organization or individual in private practice who can provide mentorship during the training period.
PhD Degree in Addiction Counseling (PhD)
Doctorate degrees in addiction counseling are generally part of a clinical PhD program.
This aspect of the degree varies depending on the area where the person wants to practice. Classes such as clinical psychology, behavioral science, human development, and abnormal psychology are part of the curriculum. Those with doctorates can also teach at a college or university and apply for tenured positions at these schools. Depending on the candidate’s work history, a clinical practicum might be required either to meet degree or dissertation requirements. This clinical internship has to be completed under the supervision of a licensed supervisor and involve face-to-face counseling training with patients.
Become a Substance Abuse Counselor in Delaware
Delaware has two level of certifications for addiction counselors, the Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) and the Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC).
To qualify for the CADC certification, those who want to qualify must meet the following requirements:
- For those without a degree, 6,000 hours of supervised alcohol and drug work experience.
- For those with an associate degree, the requirement is 5,000 hours of experience.
- For those with a Bachelor’s degree the requirement is 4,000 hours of work experience.
- For those with a Master’s degree the requirement is 2,000 hours.
- A minimum of 51% of all supervised work experience must include direct addiction counseling services to clients.
- Candidates must have experience in all eight addiction and drug counseling (ADC) domains: Clinical Evaluation, Treatment Planning, Referral, Service Coordination, Counseling, Client, Family and Community Education, Documentation, and Professional and Ethical Responsibilities.
- Candidates must show proof of 300 hours of direct supervision. This includes 10 hours in each of the eight ADC domains.
- They must have 270 hours of education in the eight ADC domains with at least six in professional ethics and responsibilities.
- The required education can be from a degree program at an accredited university, in-services, college credit courses, workshops, and seminars.
- Three college credits will convert into 45 hours of education.
- You must pass the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium Exam.
To qualify for the LADC certification, you must meet the following requirements:
- Possess a master’s degree or Ph.D. in a Behavioral Science with at least 30 hours at the graduate level in Counseling classes or highly related field
- Have 3,200 hours of Substance Abuse Counseling experience
- Have 1,600 of the 3,200 hours under the direct supervision of a Board approved supervisor
- 100 of the 1,600 hours of supervision are required to be face-to-face consultation with a supervisor
- A maximum of 40 of the 100 hours can be in the form of group supervision
Careers for Addiction Counseling Graduates
- School Counselor
School counselors work in a school system and assist with the education and well-being of students. Counselors can help high school students with choosing majors for college, picking out the right college for them, or even deciding whether or not college is a good fit. They can also provide social service resources for students who are experiencing less than optimal family or home lives. Counselors work with teachers and administrators to observe students and identify any problematic behavior that might need addressed. Counselors can be found at all educational levels, from pre-K up to and including college campuses.
- Clinical Social Worker
A clinical social worker is a social worker with a clinical background in counseling or therapy. They might specialize in addiction and recovery, family practice, mental health, or another area of expertise. They are trained to assist their clients and patients with developing the tools needed to navigate through life and to help them identify and avoid conflicts and problem areas in their lives. Clinical social workers can work under a licensed therapist, for a social service agency or for a healthcare provider such as a hospital or clinic.
- Career Counselor
A career counselor helps people of all ages find the right career for them. A career counselor could also be the school counselor in a high school, as well as be stationed on a college campus to help those who are about to graduate figure out the right career path. Adults facing career changes can also benefit from the help of a career counselor, as these people can help them find their skill set, match them with programs to improve their skills or enroll them in new training programs in the event that a complete career change is needed or desired.
- Military Counselor
The transition from the military to civilian life can be hard for soldiers, especially those who made the military their career and/or served in combat areas. Military counselors can help with issues servicepersons have while still in the military as well as assist with the transition from the military life to a civilian one. Military counselors are trained in providing individual and group therapy as well as developing activities to help with the transition. Military counselors are also in charge of determining whether a service person is still mentally fit to serve in the military, an evaluation that is often carried out after the serviceperson has experienced a traumatic event.
- Grief Counselor
Grief counselors help people cope with their grief. There is more than one way to cope with grief, and some ways are detrimental while others are beneficial. Grief counselors help people identify the beneficial ways of coping with grief while helping them avoid the detrimental ways of handling the loss of a loved one. Grief counseling can be in a group setting or on a one-to-one basis, depending on the needs of the client. Counselors are trained in navigating through all the stages of grief and help those who are grieving work through the process so that they come out on the other end of the process as emotionally strong as possible.