How to Become an Addiction Counselor in Wisconsin

Addiction Counseling Education Guide for Wisconsin

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What is Substance Abuse Counseling?


Addiction counseling is a field of study that helps individuals struggling with addiction to overcome their challenges and lead healthy, fulfilling lives. Addiction counselors work in a variety of settings including outpatient treatment centers, hospitals, private practices, and more.

There are many addiction counseling colleges and degree programs available to help students prepare for this rewarding career. Most programs offer coursework in psychology, sociology, and human services, as well as specialized courses in addiction counseling. Programs typically culminate in a practicum or internship experience, giving students the opportunity to put their knowledge into practice and fulfilling the experience requirement for those who wish to earn full licensure.

With an increasing demand for qualified addiction counselors, now is an excellent time to pursue a career in this growing field. Students who graduate from an accredited program will be prepared to sit for state licensure exams and pursue rewarding careers helping others overcome addiction.


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Online Addiction Counseling Education in Wisconsin


An addiction counseling professional is a person who helps people with addiction problems. They work with patients to help them understand their addiction, develop coping skills, and make positive changes in their lives. Addiction counseling professionals typically have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field; some, though not Wisconsin, require that they hold a master’s degree. All states require counselors to be licensed or certified.

Addiction counseling professionals work in many different settings including outpatient facilities, hospitals, and private practices. They may also work in schools, prisons, and other government agencies. Many addiction counselors are self-employed.

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Addiction counseling professionals help people with addiction problems to understand their disease, develop coping skills, and make positive changes in their lives. These professionals typically have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field and may be licensed or certified in some states.

Online Associate Degree in Addiction Counseling (AS)

An associate degree in addiction counseling can lead to a rewarding career helping others overcome substance abuse. Counselors work with individuals and families to develop treatment plans and provide support during recovery.

With an associate degree in addiction counseling, graduates can work in a variety of settings including rehabilitation centers, mental health clinics, and outpatient care facilities. However, they may not be able to open their own private practices with a degree at this level.

Addiction counseling is a growing field, with job opportunities expected to increase by 22% over the next decade. Those interested in helping others overcome addiction can find fulfilling careers with an associate degree in addiction counseling.

Online Bachelors Degree in Addiction Counseling (BS)

If you are interested in helping people struggling with addiction, a bachelor's degree in addiction counseling may be the right choice for you. This degree will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to work as an addiction counselor, as well as additional learning above and beyond the lowest requirements, which can prepare you for promotions, higher pay, and more advanced employment opportunities.

There are a number of different colleges and universities that offer this type of degree program. The curriculum will vary depending on the school you choose to attend, however, most programs will include coursework in psychology, sociology, and human services.

Upon completing your degree, you will be prepared to work with clients who are struggling with addiction. You will help them to understand their addiction and develop coping skills to manage their disease. If you are passionate about helping others, a career in addiction counseling may be the right choice for you.

Online Masters Degree in Addiction Counseling (MS)

A master’s degree in addiction counseling can provide you with the skills and knowledge necessary to help people suffering from addiction at a deeper level, as well as allowing you to work in a private practice and gain certifications in more specific forms of addiction, such as shopping or sex addictions. With this degree, you will be able to work in a variety of settings including hospitals, clinics, and private practices.

There are many different types of programs available, so you can choose the one that best fits your needs. Most programs will take two years to complete and will include coursework in psychology, counseling theory, and research methods.

Upon completion of your program, you will be prepared to take the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE). This exam is required in order to become a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). With an LPC license, you will be able to practice independently or start your own counseling practice.

Online PhD Degree in Addiction Counseling (PhD)

A PhD in addiction counseling is a terminal degree that prepares students for careers as addiction counselors, research scientists, and professors. The curriculum for a PhD in this field includes coursework in psychopathology, advanced counseling techniques, and research methods. Students must also complete a dissertation on a topic related to addiction counseling.

Graduates of PhD programs in addiction counseling are prepared to work in a variety of settings and gain promotions above and beyond what those with bachelor’s degrees could earn. These professionals may also choose to teach at the collegiate level or pursue research positions within academia or the private sector. With a PhD in addiction counseling, graduates are equipped to provide the highest level of care to individuals struggling with addiction and substance abuse disorders and to advanced their career to the highest levels.

Online Addiction Counseling Certifications

As the addiction counseling field continues to grow, more and more counselors are seeking out certification in order to better serve their clients. There are a number of different addictions counseling certifications available, each with its own set of requirements.

The most common addiction counseling certification is the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NCAC). To be eligible for this certification, counselors must have a master’s degree in counseling or a related field, as well as two years of professional experience working with clients with substance use disorders.

Other popular certifications include the Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC) and the Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist (LCAS). To be eligible for these certifications, counselors must have a master’s degree and at least three years of professional experience working with clients with substance use disorders.

Become a Substance Abuse Counselor in Wisconsin


If you want to help people struggling with addiction, becoming an addiction counseling professional is a great way to do so. Here are some steps you need to take to become an addiction counseling professional.

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  • Step 1: Get a degree in addiction counseling or a related field

    Addiction counseling is a field of study that prepare students to work with individuals and families who are struggling with addiction. Addiction counselors help their clients overcome their addiction and live a healthier lifestyle. To become an addiction counselor, you will need to obtain a degree in addiction counseling or a related field. However, the educational requirement is quite low in Wisconsin, with counselors in this area needing only 360 hours of education in the field, which can be covered by earning an associate degree and before finishing a bachelor’s. There are many colleges and universities that offer programs in this field of study. With an increase in the number of people struggling with addiction, there is a demand for qualified addiction counselors and it can be quick to get into the field and start helping people.

  • Step 2: Complete any required internships or practicum requirements

    Most addiction counseling programs require students to complete an internship or practicum requirement in order to graduate. Even if they don’t, these are requirements that are needed for licensure and they provide students with the opportunity to gain real-world experience working with clients who have addiction issues. Completing an internship or practicum is a great way to get started in the field of addiction counseling and it can help you decide if this is the right career for you. If you are interested in becoming an addiction counselor, be sure to check out the programs at your local colleges and universities.

  • Step 3: Obtain state licensure or certification

    Addiction counselors who wish to work in private practice must obtain a license from their state's licensing board. To be eligible for licensure, counselors must typically gain an education, complete a certain number of hours of clinical experience, and pass an exam. Counselors who are employed by public or private organizations may not need to be licensed. However, certification can also be beneficial for addiction counselors. Certification can show employers that counselors have the necessary skills and knowledge to work in this field and that they care about serving their clients. The National Board for Certified Counselors offers the Certified Clinical Mental Health Counselor credential for addiction counselors who meet certain education and experience requirements.

  • Step 4: Stay up to date on the latest research and developments in addiction counseling

    As addiction counseling continues to evolve, it’s important for counselors to stay up to date on the latest research and developments. There are a number of ways counselors can stay informed including reading professional journals, attending conferences and workshops, and taking continuing education courses. By staying current on the latest research and developments in addiction counseling, counselors can ensure that they are providing the best possible care to their clients. With the ever-changing landscape of addiction counseling, it is essential for counselors to be prepared to meet the challenges that their clients may face.

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


Addiction counselors work with individuals who have problems with alcohol, drugs, gambling and other addictive behaviors. They help their clients overcome these problems and live healthier lives. A bachelor's degree in addiction counseling can lead to a career as an addiction counselor, working with individuals and families to overcome addiction. Addiction counselors typically have a background in psychology or social work, and many have a master's degree. With a bachelor's degree in addiction counseling, you can work in a variety of settings including private practice, outpatient clinics, hospitals, government agencies, and rehabilitation centers. You may also find positions in research or education.

Potential Career Options and Salaries for Addiction Counseling Graduates


  • School Counselor:

    A school counselor is responsible for providing guidance and support to students in areas such as academics, social skills, and personal development. In addition, the counselor also works with parents and teachers to help students succeed in school.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master’s degree in counseling or a related field
    • State license or certification
    • 2+ years of experience working as a school counselor

    Estimated Salary

    • The mean annual wage for education, guidance, and career counselors and advisors in the US in 2021 was $63,090
    • The mean annual wage for clinical and counseling psychologists in Wisconsin is $56,770
  • Clinical Social Worker:

    Clinical social workers are responsible for providing direct social work services to patients in a clinical setting. This may include individual, family, or group therapy, as well as crisis intervention and case management. Clinical social workers must be able to effectively communicate with patients and other members of the healthcare team, and must have strong organizational and documentation skills.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master's degree in social work
    • Licensed as a clinical social worker in the state of practice
    • 2+ years of clinical social work experience

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for social workers in the US in 2021 was $50,390
    • The mean annual wage for healthcare social workers in Wisconsin is $59,000 and mental health and substance abuse social workers earn $51,070
  • Organizational Counselor:

    An organizational counselor is responsible for providing guidance and support to employees within an organization. They will work with individuals or groups to identify and address issues that may be affecting productivity or morale. The counselor will also provide resources and referrals as needed.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • A bachelor’s degree in psychology, counseling, or a related field
    • Experience working in counseling or coaching role
    • Strong interpersonal and communication skills

    Estimated Salary

    • The mean annual wage for industrial-organizational psychologists in the US in 2021 was $113,320
    • The mean annual wage for psychologists (all other) in Wisconsin is $86,000
  • Military Counselor:

    A military counselor is responsible for providing counseling and support services to military personnel and their families. They work with individuals to help them cope with the stress of military life, as well as provide guidance on career and educational opportunities.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master's degree in counseling, psychology, or social work
    • 2+ years of experience working with military personnel and their families
    • Ability to obtain a security clearance

    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 Wisconsin is $38,590
  • Group Therapist:

    A group therapist will provide therapy to groups of patients with mental health disorders. They will create treatment plans and goals for each group and will work with the group to help them achieve these goals. A group therapist will also provide individual therapy to patients as needed.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Masters or Doctorate degree in psychology, social work, or a related field
    • Licensed as a Clinical Social Worker, Marriage and Family Therapist, Professional Counselor, or Psychologist
    • Experience working with groups of patients with mental health disorders

    Estimated Salary

    • The median annual wage for psychologists in the US in 2021 was $81,040 and substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earned $48,520
    • The mean annual wage for psychologists, all other in Wisconsin is $86,000 and substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors earned $52,010
  • Mental Health Counselor:

    A mental health counselor is responsible for providing counseling and therapy services to patients with mental health disorders. They work with patients to help them manage their symptoms and improve their overall mental health.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master’s degree in psychology, counseling, or social work
    • Licensed as a mental health counselor in the state of practice
    • 2 years of experience working as a mental health counselor

    Estimated Salary

    • The mean annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in the US in 2021 was $53,490
    • The mean annual wage for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in Wisconsin is $52,010
  • Rehabilitation Counselor:

    A rehabilitation counselor is responsible for helping individuals with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities to lead productive and fulfilling lives. This may involve working with individuals to overcome barriers to employment, education, and independent living. They may also provide guidance and support to family members and caregivers.

    Necessary Requirements:

    • Master's degree in rehabilitation counseling or a related field
    • Licensure or certification as a rehabilitation counselor
    • Knowledge of disability laws and regulations
    • Ability to build relationships and work collaboratively with individuals with disabilities, their families, and other professionals

    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 Wisconsin is $38,590

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