What Do Alcohol Drug Counselors Do: Job Description, Responsibilities and Duties

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daily life of a Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor
are Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors happy with their job

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

Other names for this job might include Addiction Therapist, Addictions Counselor, Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Alcoholic Counselor, Assessment Specialist, Behavior Therapist, Behavioral Analyst, Behavioral Specialist, Behavioral Therapist, Case Manager

  • $42920
  • 74%
    Job satisfaction
  • Hard
    Becoming one
  • High
    Job growth
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Being An Alcohol Drug Counselor: What You Really Do

In this job description guide, you will find out what do Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors do and what is their typical work day like.

After reading this, you will have a much better idea on whether you will like working as a Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor or not.

Job summary

Alcohol Drug Counselors 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.

We asked Alcohol Drug Counselors how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction


How meaningful is this job


74% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 85% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.

Become one

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Typical day

On a daily basis, Alcohol Drug Counselors Counsel clients or patients, individually or in group sessions, to assist in overcoming dependencies, adjusting to life, or making changes. They Complete and maintain accurate records or reports regarding the patients’ histories and progress, services provided, or other required information.

1 of the main responsibilities as An Alcohol Drug Counselor is to 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.

Some may also Supervise or direct other workers providing services to clients or patients.

A typical day for An Alcohol Drug Counselor look like this:

Counsel clients or patients with substance abuse issues.
Write reports or evaluations.
Maintain client records.
Interview clients to gather information about their backgrounds, needs, or progress.
Collaborate with other professionals to assess client needs or plan treatments.

We asked some Alcohol Drug Counselors a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?71% said yes
Do you have to use email everyday in this job?74% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?63% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?91% said yes
Do you have to meet strict deadlines everyday in this job?56% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?58% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?36% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?64% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides the “typical day” things that Alcohol Drug Counselors do, they Develop client treatment plans based on research, clinical experience, and client histories. They might also Review and evaluate clients’ progress in relation to measurable goals described in treatment and care plans.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Alcohol Drug Counselors Intervene as an advocate for clients or patients to resolve emergency problems in crisis situations. and Provide clients or family members with information about addiction issues and about available services or programs, making appropriate referrals when necessary.

In addition, they Modify treatment plans to comply with changes in client status.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Coordinate counseling efforts with mental health professionals or other health professionals, such as doctors, nurses, or social workers.

To some Alcohol Drug Counselors, it is also their responsibility to Plan or implement follow-up or aftercare programs for clients to be discharged from treatment programs.

A typical week or month for them might include:

Develop treatment plans for patients or clients.
Monitor clients to evaluate treatment progress.
Intervene in crisis situations to assist clients.
Present social services program information to the public.
Refer clients to community or social service programs.
Modify treatment plans to accommodate client needs.

Working life

Working hours

40 hours per week

Working schedule

Regular (Set schedule and routine)

In a typical work week as An Alcohol Drug Counselor, you can expect to work 40 hours per week.

Do Alcohol Drug Counselors work in an office-style work environment?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Do Alcohol Drug Counselors work in a warehouse-style work environment?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Do Alcohol Drug Counselors work outdoors?


Once a week

Once a month

Once a year


Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Helpers and The Artists

You can read more about these career personality types here.

You will like this career if you are someone who likes working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others.

You also like working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

How we can help

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Rank: B
Salary: $46180

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Rank: B
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They provide social services to assist in rehabilitation of law offenders in custody or on probation or parole. Make recommendations for actions involving formulation of rehabilitation plan and treatment of offender, including conditional release and education and employment stipulations.
Rank: B
Salary: $56040

They counsel individuals and provide group educational and vocational guidance services.
Rank: C
Salary: $31860

They assist in providing client services in a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, or social work, including support for families. May assist clients in identifying and obtaining available benefits and social and community services. May assist social workers with developing, organizing, and conducting programs to prevent and resolve problems relevant to substance abuse, human relationships, rehabilitation, or dependent care.
Rank: B
Salary: $43990

They counsel with emphasis on prevention. Work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health. May help individuals deal with issues associated with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; stress management; self-esteem; and aging.

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Career type

Human and Social Service
Health Informatics, Therapeutic Services
Counseling and Mental Health Services

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Related to Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors Job Description

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Additional resources

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