How to Become an Addiction Counselor in Louisiana

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What is Substance Abuse Counseling?


When it comes to the opioid epidemic in America, Louisiana is one of the states that has been hit the hardest. As a result, it’s not too surprising that the state has a big demand for addiction counselors. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis has ranked educational services, healthcare, and social assistance as one of the top four industries in Louisiana. In the future, the demand for highly qualified addiction counselors is only expected to grow.

In order to prepare students for one of the fastest growing job fields in this state, several colleges in Louisiana offer many different degrees in addiction counseling. These addiction counseling degrees provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the human mind, emphasizing addictive behaviors.

Also known as substance abuse counselors, addiction counselors are professionals who take pride in helping people with addiction problems. They assist people who are battling drug, alcohol, and gambling addictions. Addiction counselors are usually extremely compassionate professionals who truly want clients to enjoy their best lives without drugs, alcohol, or addictive behaviors.

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Online Addiction Counseling Education in Louisiana


Compare Online Substance Abuse Counseling Schools

Louisiana offers a wide range of addiction in counseling degrees for students who want to work as addiction counselors in this state. A bachelor’s of addiction counselor degree and/or a master’s of addiction counselor degree is required to work as a licensed addiction counselor. Check out these degrees to help you find the best addiction counselor schools in Louisiana.

Online Associate Degree in Addiction Counseling (AS)

An associate addiction counseling degree is specifically designed to offer students the opportunity to explore the addictive behavior counseling field. Once students graduate from this program, they’ll have the necessary skills to excel as an addiction recovery support specialist or psychiatric technician. They will also have the necessary skills and expertise to receive the Registered Addiction Counselor license in Louisiana.

The Southern University-New Orleans is a great school that offers an associate addiction counseling degree.

Online Bachelor's Degree in Addiction Counseling (BS)

Students who would like to gain an overall, comprehensive understanding of addiction studies should consider pursuing a bachelor’s addiction counseling degree. During the course of one of these programs, students may be required to take any of the following courses: Addiction Counseling Skills, Dynamics of Group Counseling, Pharmacology of Addiction, and Co-occurring Disorders.

These programs definitely do a great job of preparing students to gain experience as an actual counselor. After graduating from one of these programs, students will qualify for the Certified Addiction Counselor license in Louisiana. The best addiction counseling schools in Louisiana for a bachelor’s addiction counseling degree include Southern University-New Orleans and Northwestern State University.

Online Master's Degree in Addiction Counseling (MS or MC)

A master’s addiction counseling degree is the perfect option for students who want to become a fully licensed counselor. These programs meet the requirements for the Licensed Addiction Counselor license in Louisiana.

The program you choose should cover key topics such as psychopharmacology in counseling, law and ethics in counseling, counseling theories, and diagnostics in counseling. Students will also learn an extensive array of treatment approaches, preparing them to assess, diagnosis, and treat addictive disorders.

Students who complete this type of counseling program are usually able to gain employment at an addiction recovery facility, private practice, community mental health centers, government agencies, or hospital. They will be able to work with individuals, couples, and groups who have mild to extreme substance use disorders. An excellent master’s addiction counseling degree is available at The University of Louisiana-Monroe.

Online PhD Degree in Addiction Counseling (PhD)

Students who have aspirations of pursuing an addictions counseling career in academic, research, or leadership will need to receive a PhD or doctorate degree in addictions counseling.

This type of graduate counseling program requires students to complete doctoral-level courses and a research dissertation. Doctoral-level courses may include Advanced Counseling Theories, Advanced Counseling Intervention, and Advanced Supervision in Counseling.

Many graduates who receive this graduate degree obtain careers as university professors or researchers in family counseling, rehabilitation counseling, chemical dependency counseling, or clinical mental health counseling. Students who graduate from these programs can also become administrators at an addictions counseling center.

The University of New Orleans offers a great PhD/Doctorate program where students can choose addiction counseling as an emphasis.

Become a Substance Abuse Counselor in Louisiana


Many people want to pursue an awarding career as an addiction counselor, but the path to becoming one may be unclear. Will future addiction counselors need to obtain a degree? Does this state require licensure? Here’s exactly how to become an addiction counselor in Louisiana.

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  • Step 1: Graduate from High School

    The first step to becoming an addiction counselor in Louisiana is to graduate from high school. In fact, one of the addiction license requirements is to complete high school.

    During high school, you might want to take classes in psychology, English, and social science. A great way to prepare for a career as an addiction counselor is to volunteer in the addiction counseling field. Once students obtain a high school diploma, they will be prepared to enroll in a college degree program.

  • Step 2: Earn an Addiction Counseling Degree

    If students haven’t volunteered in the addiction counseling field, they may want to think about earning an associate addiction counseling degree before moving into higher-level education. An associate addiction counseling degree will help them determine whether or not they want to pursue a career as an addiction counselor.

    A minimum of a bachelor’s addiction counseling degree is required to become a licensed addiction counselor, which will probably take a couple of years to complete if students have an associate addiction counseling degree or four years to complete if they do not already have an associate’s.

    A master’s addiction counseling degree will grant graduates access to an extensive array of career options, including working as a fully licensed counselor in an addiction recovery facility. And while a PhD or doctorate in addiction counseling is not a requirement to becoming a fully licensed addiction counselor, it’s a great option for students who want to pursue a career in academic or research. Students who graduate from these programs should be able to obtain leadership positions in addictions counseling.

    Regardless of the specific addiction counseling degree that potential students choose, they’ll want to make sure that the program is accredited by The Southern Regional Accreditation Boards or The Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs. When they obtain an addiction counseling degree with these accreditations, students will have the high-quality education that makes them a competitive applicant to employers.

  • Step 3: Obtain an Addiction Counseling License

    In order to work as an addiction counselor in Louisiana, the state requires graduates of counseling degree programs to receive licensure. The Addiction Disorder Regulatory Authority or ADRA offers the following licensing options: Licensed Addiction Counselor, Certified Addiction Counselor, and Registered Addiction Counselor.

    • Registered Addiction Counselor:The registered addiction counselor certification requires applicants to graduate from high school and obtain 6,000 hours of supervised work practice in the addiction counseling field.
    • Certified Addiction Counselor: The certified addiction counselor credential requires a minimum of a bachelor’s addiction counseling degree. Before applying for this license, applicants must have 4,000 hours of supervised work experience in the addiction counseling field.
    • Licensed Addiction Counselor: The licensed addiction counselor credential requires a minimum of a master’s addiction counseling degree, and only 2,000 hours of supervised practice in the addiction counseling field.

    Once applicants submit their application to the ADRA, they will all be able to complete the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium examination. When applicants pass this test, they’ll become a licensed addiction counselor in Louisiana.

  • Step 4: Acquire Certification

    The National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals or NCCAP offers the NCC AP Certification. Professional addiction counselors who receive this certification are considered true leaders in the field.

    The organization offers three distinct certifications: National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level I; National Certified Addiction Counselor, Level II; Master Addiction Counselor; and National Clinical Supervision Endorsement. Professional addiction counselors can obtain one or all of these certifications.

  • Step 5: Become a Member of an Addiction Counselor Association

    Professional addiction counselors can significantly enhance their career by joining addiction counselor associations. When professional addiction counselors join one of these associations, they’ll definitely set themselves apart from other leaders in this field.

    • The Louisiana Association of Substance Abuse Counselors & Commerce is a great organization for addiction counselors who want to improve their skills in the field. The organization offers excellent workshops, counselor training programs, and annual conferences.
    • NAADAC, Louisiana Addiction Professional Association always strives to provide a wide variety of resources to addiction counselors. By becoming a member, professional addiction counselors will be able to enjoy continuing education hours, conferences, career center, and events.
    • The primary goal of the International Association of Addictions and Offender Counselors is to support substance abuse counselors. Professional addiction counselors who join this organization will have access to the IAAOC newsletter and podcasts. They will also be eligible for many award opportunities.

    In addition to helping them become a leader in the field, joining one of these associations can also lead to more job opportunities. These associations will enable professional addiction counselors to network with many leaders and employers will view them as competitive job applicants. Professional addiction counselors just need to make sure that they take advantage of the many networking opportunities and educational resources that these associations offer.

Careers for Addiction Counseling Graduates


  • Clinical Social Worker
    Clinical social workers are on a mission to improve clients’ overall lives by addressing their mental health, financial, familial, and social challenges. These types of social workers are supposed to provide treatment for people struggling with mental conditions. These professionals should have exceptional knowledge about intervention and they should know how to use critical thinking skills in complex situations and participate in policy practice. Many clinical social workers work in rehabilitation facilities, child welfare agencies, and residential treatment centers.
  • Health Psychologists
    Health psychologists are extremely passionate about studying how people can enjoy healthier lives. A few responsibilities of these professionals may include performing clinical interviews, promoting healthy behaviors, identifying destructive behaviors, engaging in interventions, and providing educational resources to patients. These professionals can work in clinical or research settings and collaborate with nurses, doctors, and mental health professionals.
  • Sports Psychologist
    Sports psychologists strive to support athletes’ overall health and wellbeing. They can help athletes improve their attention span, reduce anxiety, recover from an injury, deal with extreme pressure, enjoy sports, enhance their mental skills, and overcome an eating disorder. These professionals must have excellent communication, interpersonal, and analytical skills and enjoy working closely with athletes.
  • Child Counselor
    The overarching goal of child counselors is to support children with mental disorders, from ADHD and eating disorders to depression and anxiety. They often offer therapies to their clients, such as pet therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. The most effective child counselors are able to encourage children to talk about their problems and work extremely closely with a child’s parents and caregivers.
  • College Counselors
    College counselors are most known for helping people get into the college of their choice. These professionals know everything about the college application process, from the letters of recommendations to the admission essay. They can also provide guidance on completing the FAFSA, submitting official transcripts, and choosing extracurricular activities. Many future college students view these professionals as highly trusted coaches.
  • Residential Counselor
    Often working in a residential center or rehabilitation shelter, residential counselors are expected to juggle many responsibilities. These professionals can generally be seen ensuring resident safety, addressing residents’ problems, leading group activities, writing reports, and offering resources to residents. Those who would like to become a residential counselor should expect to work nights and/or weekends.
  • Grief Counselor
    Grief counselors help people who are struggling after the death of a loved one, divorce, serious injury/illness, or even a job loss. Most grief counselors teach their clients how to successfully cope with these tough situations so that they don’t have to rely on drugs and alcohol. These professionals also encourage their clients to express their many different emotions such as anger, anxiety, guilt, and sadness.
  • Behavioral Therapist
    Behavioral therapists are expected to treat mentally ill clients by using an extensive array of techniques, such as positive reinforcement and operant conditioning. On any given day, these professionals may diagnose mental health conditions, create treatment programs, help clients manage their mental condition, and communicate with parents/caregivers. They can be found in schools, rehabilitation centers, clinics, and hospitals.

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