Career as Alcohol or Substance Abuse Counselor: A Job for Undergraduates.
A career as an alcohol and substance abuse counselor would be a good choice for a psychology major with an undergraduate degree for a variety of reasons. First, a counseling position relies on the use of many of the skills developed over the course of a four-year psychology program including strong written and oral communication skills, listening and observational skills, research skills, and critical thinking and analytical skills. Second, it provides entry into one of only a few of the service-related fields available without the need for a graduate degree. However, while many entry level positions require only a bachelor level degree, most states do require some form of certification that would include a combination of classroom course work specializing alcohol and substance abuse counseling and on-the-job training (Kuther & Morgan, 2004).
Where the Jobs Are By Facility Type.
In the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services (N-SSATS, 2002), conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 18,204 substance abuse treatment facilities across the country were contacted to collect a variety of data specific to each facility. The information collected included but was not limited to types of services provided (e.g., hospital or residential in-patient services versus regular or intensive out-patient services), whether or not they were for-profit, non-profit or government owned facilities, and their geographic locations. Of the original facilities contacted, 2,745 were deemed ineligible due to their closing or discontinuing treatment, 382 were excluded due to a lack of reported data, 654 were excluded because they either treated individuals who were imprisoned, were solo practitioners, or were halfway houses who did not provide treatment to their residents, and 703 simply did not respond to the survey.