Something powerful has brought you to the point where you are now considering a career in the field of addiction services. Whether it is based on your personal experience, family history, death of a friend, or simply a recognition that drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States (even surpassing car accidents), you want to help those suffering from the disease of addiction.
NCADD’s founder, Marty Mann – who was the first woman to maintain long-tern sobriety through participation in Alcoholics Anonymous, made it her life’s mission to educate the public that alcoholics suffered from a true disease; and not only could they recover, they deserved to receive the help they needed to get well. To realize Marty Mann’s vision of making recovery available to everyone, the nation is in desperate need of trained addiction counselors.
As early as the year 2000, a report by the Addiction Technology Transfer Center estimated that nearly 5,000 new addiction counselors were needed annually to meet the nation’s treatment delivery needs – and that was prior to the Affordable Care Act and the explosion of prescription drug abuse in recent years.
Each state has its own specific requirements for obtaining Licensure or Certification as an addiction counselor. However, there are a number of common elements:
As you can see, there is much more involved to becoming a professional addiction counselor than simply a desire to help or an experience with personal recovery. The process normally takes at least two years to meet all of the requirements, so this is not something to be undertaken lightly. Before diving in, it is suggested that you first take a couple of the classes offered through this website to get a taste of the education requirements. Also, speak to those already in the field. Most counselors are more than happy to bring new members into the profession and will share their own experiences.
Visit the NJ Department of Human Services website for a comprehensive explanation of becoming an alcohol and drug counselor in New Jersey.