Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
SOC: 21-1011.00


Counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, drug, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. May counsel individuals, families, or groups or engage in prevention programs.

National Salary Information:

Hourly Statistics:

Annual Statistics:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 wage data.

Employment Projections:

Employment (2014):
94,900 employed

Projected (2024):
116,200 employed

Projected growth (2014-2024)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2015 2014-2024 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2014-2024). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

Alternate Titles:

  • Addiction Therapist
  • Addictions Counselor
  • Alcohol and Drug Counselor
  • Alcoholic Counselor
  • Assessment Specialist
  • Behavior Therapist
  • Behavioral Analyst
  • Behavioral Specialist
  • Behavioral Therapist
  • Case Manager
  • Certified Abuse and Drug Addiction Counselor
  • Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADAC)
  • Certified Alcohol Counselor
  • Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor (CADC)
  • Certified Drug Counselor
  • Certified Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Chemical Dependency Counselor (CD Counselor)
  • Chemical Dependency Professional
  • Clinical Counselor
  • Clinician
  • Correctional Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Counselor
  • Direct Care Counselor
  • Domestic Violence Advocate
  • Domestic Violence Counselor
  • Drug Abuse Counselor
  • Drug Abuse Technician
  • Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist (DATS)
  • Drug or Alcohol Abuse Human Relations Counselor
  • Group Counselor
  • Group Home Counselor
  • Licensed Clinician
  • Licensed Social Worker
  • Prevention Specialist
  • Primary Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Primary Therapist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Quitline Counselor
  • Residential Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Student Assistance Counselor (SAC)
  • Substance Abuse Counselor (SA Counselor)
  • Substance Abuse Technician
  • Treatment Coordinator

  • Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed


    Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.


    Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).

    Job Training:

    Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

    Required Skills:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Writing
  • Speaking
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • Critical Thinking
  • Active Learning
  • Learning Strategies
  • Monitoring
  • Social Perceptiveness
  • Coordination
  • Persuasion
  • Negotiation
  • Instructing
  • Service Orientation
  • Complex Problem Solving
  • Operations Analysis
  • Technology Design
  • Programming
  • Operation Monitoring
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Judgment and Decision Making
  • Systems Analysis
  • Systems Evaluation
  • Time Management
  • Management of Financial Resources
  • Management of Material Resources
  • Management of Personnel Resources

  • Knowledge Used:

  • Administration and Management
  • Clerical
  • Economics and Accounting
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Personnel and Human Resources
  • Production and Processing
  • Computers and Electronics
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology
  • Psychology
  • Sociology and Anthropology
  • Geography
  • Medicine and Dentistry
  • Therapy and Counseling
  • Education and Training
  • English Language
  • Foreign Language
  • Fine Arts
  • History and Archeology
  • Philosophy and Theology
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Law and Government
  • Telecommunications
  • Communications and Media
  • Transportation

  • Tasks:

  • Counsel clients or patients, individually or in group sessions, to assist in overcoming dependencies, adjusting to life, or making changes.
  • Complete and maintain accurate records or reports regarding the patients' histories and progress, services provided, or other required information.
  • Develop client treatment plans based on research, clinical experience, and client histories.
  • Review and evaluate clients' progress in relation to measurable goals described in treatment and care plans.
  • Interview clients, review records, and confer with other professionals to evaluate individuals' mental and physical condition and to determine their suitability for participation in a specific program.
  • Intervene as an advocate for clients or patients to resolve emergency problems in crisis situations.
  • Provide clients or family members with information about addiction issues and about available services or programs, making appropriate referrals when necessary.
  • Modify treatment plans to comply with changes in client status.
  • Coordinate counseling efforts with mental health professionals or other health professionals, such as doctors, nurses, or social workers.
  • Attend training sessions to increase knowledge and skills.
  • Plan or implement follow-up or aftercare programs for clients to be discharged from treatment programs.
  • Conduct chemical dependency program orientation sessions.
  • Counsel family members to assist them in understanding, dealing with, and supporting clients or patients.
  • Participate in case conferences or staff meetings.
  • Act as liaisons between clients and medical staff.
  • Coordinate activities with courts, probation officers, community services, or other post-treatment agencies.
  • Confer with family members or others close to clients to keep them informed of treatment planning and progress.
  • Instruct others in program methods, procedures, or functions.
  • Follow progress of discharged patients to determine effectiveness of treatments.
  • Develop, implement, or evaluate public education, prevention, or health promotion programs, working in collaboration with organizations, institutions, or communities.
  • Supervise or direct other workers providing services to clients or patients.
  • Assess individuals' degree of drug dependency by collecting and analyzing urine samples.
  • Train or supervise student interns or new staff members.

  • Tools & Technology:

  • Breathalyzers
  • Desktop computers
  • Notebook computers
  • Personal computers
  • Personal digital assistants PDA
  • ACMS Casewatch Millenium
  • Addison Health Systems WritePad EMR Systems
  • Allscripts Canopy
  • Anasazi Software Assessment and Treatment Plan Systems
  • Athena Software Penelope Case Management
  • Cadence Solutions extendedReach
  • Case management software
  • E-Reports
  • Client System
  • Danic Tools software
  • Database software
  • EAG Economic Analysis Group CaseTrack
  • Email software
  • IBM Lotus Notes
  • IMA Technologies CaseTrakker software
  • Libera System7
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Office software
  • Microsoft Word
  • Online informational database software
  • Practice Technology Prevail
  • Presentation software
  • Scheduling software
  • Spreadsheet software
  • Statistical software
  • STI Computer Services ChartMaker
  • Varian Medical Systems software
  • Web browser software
  • Word processing software

  • community and social service

    industry stats

    SOC: 21-0000

    Total Employed: 1,972,140

    Average Annual Salary: $46,160