How to Become an Addiction Counselor in New York

Addiction Counseling Education Guide for New York

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What is Addiction Counseling?


An addiction counseling professional is someone who helps people with addictions to drugs, alcohol, or other substances. They provide counseling and support to help people recover from their addictions. Addiction counseling professionals may also work with families of people who have addictions. They can help families learn how to cope with and support their loved one who is struggling.

The job of an addiction counselor involves providing psychological and medical help to patients with drug and alcohol abuse problems. Although no one treatment program is the same, all addiction counselors must work to understand each patient's needs and develop an individualized treatment plan. This may require that they be willing to work in different settings depending on the type of patient they have. Some counselors specialize in working with certain types of patients or in a specific substance. In addition, they must have a strong understanding of co-occurring mental health conditions.

Addiction counseling professionals typically have a degree in psychology, social work, or another related field. They may also be certified or licensed by the state in which they practice, though certification in addiction counseling usually requires less education than other counseling specialties.


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What is Addiction Counseling?


An addiction counseling professional is someone who helps people with addictions to drugs, alcohol, or other substances. They provide counseling and support to help people recover from their addictions. Addiction counseling professionals may also work with families of people who have addictions. They can help families learn how to cope with and support their loved one who is struggling.

The job of an addiction counselor involves providing psychological and medical help to patients with drug and alcohol abuse problems. Although no one treatment program is the same, all addiction counselors must work to understand each patient's needs and develop an individualized treatment plan. This may require that they be willing to work in different settings depending on the type of patient they have. Some counselors specialize in working with certain types of patients or in a specific substance. In addition, they must have a strong understanding of co-occurring mental health conditions.

Addiction counseling professionals typically have a degree in psychology, social work, or a degree in counseling. They may also be certified or licensed by the state in which they practice, though certification in addiction counseling usually requires less education than other counseling specialties.

Online Associate Degree in Addiction Counseling (AS)

An online associate degree in addiction counseling is an excellent choice for those interested in helping others overcome addiction. This field affects nearly every aspect of a person's life. Additionally, individuals suffering from substance use disorders often face additional hardships including underlying trauma, employment problems, and housing insecurity. By earning an online degree, individuals can pursue careers in non-profit organizations, schools, and juvenile detention centers. An online degree also allows students to complete coursework on their own schedule and access course materials around the clock.

An online associate degree in addiction counseling may help you earn the certification needed to work in this field, though you’ll need to clarify this with the school you attend. Because many of these programs are offered online, you can work full-time while earning your degree. The flexibility of an online program is particularly beneficial for those who already have a career in addiction counseling and wish to further their education. You can earn certification, an associate degree, a bachelor's degree, or even a PhD in addiction psychology. These online programs can help you train to help individuals overcome addiction and develop effective strategies for their own behavior modification.

Online Bachelor’s Degree in Addiction Counseling (BS)

An online bachelor's degree in addiction counseling can also prepare you for a career helping people who are struggling with addiction and for higher licensure and increased pay. You'll learn about the causes of addiction, how to provide counseling and support to addicts and their families, and how to create treatment plans. You'll also learn about the legal and ethical issues involved in addiction counseling.

The curriculum for an online bachelor's degree in addiction counseling will typically cover topics such as assessment and diagnosis, treatment planning, pharmacology, and family dynamics. You will also learn how to provide support for clients' friends and families.

Online Master’s Degree in Addiction Counseling (MA)

An online master's degree in addiction counseling program provides convenience for busy professionals. These programs typically follow the same rigorous curricula as their brick-and-mortar counterparts and lead to the same job prospects. Online master's programs can be shorter in length than brick-and-mortar programs if they are designed to use accelerated courses, but full-time students should be able to complete any of these programs in about one to two years. While you can complete a degree in one or two years, you may find yourself juggling other commitments that interfere with your studies; part-time students usually add around a year to their learning time, and they are not able to take accelerated courses.

The curriculum of any of these programs at this level is comprehensive, covering both the treatment of addiction and the co-occurring mental health conditions that often accompany substance abuse.

Online PhD in Addiction Counseling (PhD)

A PhD in addiction counseling can provide you with more than the skills necessary to help people struggling with addiction, but also the ability to recognize unusual co-occurring disorders, to gain further licensure, to teach psychology or counseling to students at the college level, and more. Online programs are available and probably the most common option these days, which is great for busy professionals. Coursework covers topics such as assessment, treatment planning, and relapse prevention, among others. After completing a PhD in addiction counseling, you may be eligible for licensure and could find work in a variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics, or private practice.

Online Addiction Counseling Certifications

For state licensing, working professionals must receive a certificate or licensure in addiction counseling. Before applying for a license, aspiring addiction counselors must complete a certain number of hours of training. It is possible for working professionals to accomplish their addiction counseling certification requirements without interrupting their daily routines by enrolling in online addiction counseling certification programs, but many will still need to complete additional supervised work, which cannot be completed online.

Depending on the state in which you reside, you may be required to earn 120 credits in order to graduate with a bachelor’s in psychology, counseling, or addiction counseling. A full-time student can complete a bachelor’s degree in four years but a part-time student may require more than that. The majority of programs integrate research and internship activities with basic classes. It is also crucial to remember that many states mandate continuing education credits for addiction counselors seeking counseling and administrative roles. Indeed, most counseling or psychology roles that require licensure also require continuing education.

How to Become an Addiction Counseling Professional in New York


If you are interested in becoming an addiction counselor in New York, there are a few steps that you need to take.

  • Step 1: Earn a bachelor's degree in psychology, social work, or a related field

    There are many different bachelor's degree programs that students can pursue in the field of psychology. Some of the most popular programs include a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and a Bachelor of Social Work. However, there are also many other related programs that students can choose from such as those in criminal justice, human services, and counseling. These programs can provide students with the knowledge and skills they need to work in various fields within the psychological and social services industries. They can also prepare students for graduate school and help them develop critical thinking skills that can be applied to many different areas of life.

  • Step 2: Complete a master's degree in addiction counseling or a related field

    There is a great need for addiction counselors, and with a master's degree in addiction counseling, you can be at the forefront of this growing field. A master's degree in addiction counseling will provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to help those suffering from addiction. You will learn about the causes of addiction, how to treat addiction, and how to prevent relapse. You will also learn about the different types of addictions such as those involving alcohol, drugs, food, sex, and more. With a master's degree in addiction counseling, you can help those who are struggling with addiction get their lives back on track.

  • Step 3: Become a certified addiction counselor

    In order to become a certified addiction counselor, you must pass the licensing exam. The exam is made up of 150 questions and it covers topics such as counseling techniques, drug addiction, and mental health disorders. It's important to prepare for the exam by studying the material and practicing sample questions. The best way to pass the exam is to be well-versed in the material and have a solid understanding of what's covered.

  • Step 4: Complete a supervised internship and post-graduate supervision hours

    In order to become a licensed addiction counselor, you must complete a supervised internship and post-graduate supervision hours. The internship allows you to gain real-world experience in the addiction counseling field. The post-graduate supervision hours allow you to receive feedback and guidance from a qualified professional who must sign off on your time spent working under them if you are to be able to earn you full licensure.

What Can I Do with a Bachelor's in Addiction Counseling?


A bachelor's in addiction counseling can lead to a career helping people who are struggling with addiction. After completing a degree in addiction counseling, you will be able to work in a variety of settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and private practices. You will also have the opportunity to become certified as an addiction counselor.

Potential Career Options and Salaries for Addiction Counseling Graduates


  • Sports Psychologist:

    A sports psychologist is a professional who helps athletes improve their performance and overcome psychological barriers. As a sports psychologist, you will work with clients to assess their needs and develop individualized programs to help them reach their goals. You will also be responsible for conducting research on the psychological effects of sports and exercise.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • A master’s or doctoral degree in psychology with a specialization in sports psychology
    • Experience working with athletes or in a sports-related field
    • Strong communication and interpersonal skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for counselors, all other in the US in 2021 was $102,900
    • The mean annual wage for counselors, all other in New York is $104,140
  • Military Counselor:

    A military counselor is responsible for providing counseling and support services to military personnel and their families. They may do this while they are serving on active duty, or they may help them transition back into civilian life.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master's degree in counseling, social work, or a related field
    • Licensed or certified as a counselor in the state of practice
    • Experience working with military personnel and their families preferred

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for counselors, all other in the US in 2021 was $102,900
    • The mean annual wage for counselors, all other in New York is $104,140
  • Behavioral Therapist:

    A behavioral therapist is responsible for providing therapeutic services to children and families in order to help them overcome behavioral challenges. Services may include individual and family therapy, as well as play therapy and other evidence-based interventions. They work closely with the child’s parents or guardians to ensure that treatment goals are met.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master’s degree in psychology, social work, or related field
    • Licensed or license-eligible in the state of practice
    • Experience working with children and families

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in the US in 2021 was $48,520
    • The mean annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in New York is $56,050
  • Health Psychologist:

    As a health psychologist, you will be responsible for providing psychological support to patients who are dealing with physical health issues. You will work with patients to help them cope with their illness, manage their symptoms, and make lifestyle changes that can improve their overall health. You will also conduct research on health-related topics and develop interventions to improve public health.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • A doctoral degree in psychology
    • Licensure as a psychologist
    • Experience working with patients with physical health issues

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for clinical and counseling psychologists in the US in 2021 was $99,640 and that of health psychologists was $102,900
    • The mean annual wage for clinical and counseling psychologists in New York is $120,350 and that of health psychologists is $104,140
  • Residential Counselor:

    A residential counselor is responsible for providing direct care and support to residents in a group home setting. This includes overseeing daily activities, providing guidance and counseling, and promoting positive social and emotional development. They must be able to work effectively with residents of all ages and backgrounds, as well as maintain a professional and caring demeanor at all times.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • A bachelor’s degree in psychology, social work, or a related field is preferred
    • Previous experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities is preferred but not required
    • Must be able to pass a background check

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for residential advisors in the US in 2021 was $31,220
    • The mean annual wage for residential advisors in New York is $40,550
  • Organizational Counselor:

    An organizational counselor is responsible for providing counseling and guidance to employees within an organization. They will work with individuals and groups to help them resolve conflict, improve communication, and increase productivity. The counselor will also provide education on topics such as stress management, team building, and change management.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master’s degree in counseling, psychology, or a related field
    • 2+ years of experience working in an organizational setting
    • Strong interpersonal and communication skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for industrial-organizational psychologists in the US in 2021 was $105,310
    • The mean annual wage for psychologists (all other) in New York is $104,140
  • Group Counselor or Therapist:

    A group counselor or therapist is responsible for facilitating group counseling or therapy sessions. They will create and implement group counseling or therapy plans, assess client progress, and provide support to clients.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master’s degree in counseling or related field
    • Licensed as a counselor or therapist in the state of practice
    • Experience leading group counseling or therapy sessions

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for marriage and family therapists in the US in 2021 was $49,880
    • The mean annual wage for marriage and family therapists in New York is $62,210
  • Adult and Geriatric Counselor:

    An adult and geriatric counselor provides counseling and therapy services to adults and elderly patients. They may help them with the grief of losing friends, their jobs, or the struggle of adapting to a new era of their life in which they have less control and are less able than they used to be.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master’s degree in counseling or a related field
    • Licensed as a counselor in the state of practice
    • Experience providing counseling and therapy services to adults and elderly patients

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for rehabilitation counselors in the US in 2021 was $38,560
    • The mean annual wage for rehabilitation counselors in New York is $43,000
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