What Does A Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

Stan T.Career, Overview

Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors

Certified 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.

Salary
$51550
Becoming One
Very Hard
Education
Master's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Certified 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.

  • Complete and maintain accurate records or reports regarding the patients’ histories and progress, services provided, or other required information.
  • Counsel clients or patients, individually or in group sessions, to assist in overcoming dependencies, adjusting to life, or making changes.
  • 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.
  • Develop client treatment plans based on research, clinical experience, and client histories.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors complete and maintain accurate records or reports regarding the patients’ histories and progress, services provided, or other required information. They interview clients, review records, and confer with other professionals to evaluate individuals’ mental and physical conditions and to determine their suitability for participation in a specific program.

A typical day for a Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor will also include:

  • Review and evaluate clients’ progress in relation to measurable goals described in treatment and care plans.
  • Develop client treatment plans based on research, clinical experience, and client histories.
  • Counsel clients or patients, individually or in group sessions, to assist in overcoming dependencies, adjusting to life, or making changes.
  • 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.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors also participate in case conferences or staff meetings. They may also plan or implement follow-up or aftercare programs for clients to be discharged from treatment programs.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors act as liaisons between clients and medical staff. They might also develop client treatment plans based on research, clinical experience, and client histories.

In addition, they coordinate counseling efforts with mental health professionals or other health professionals, such as doctors, nurses, or social workers.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them review and evaluate clients’ progress in relation to measurable goals described in treatment and care plans.

To some Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors, it is also their responsibility to confer with family members or others close to clients to keep them informed of treatment planning and progress.

Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Very High

Is this job meaningful

Very High

74% said they were satisfied with their job and 85% said they found their job meaningful.


Dr.Cali Estes, PhD, MCAP, MAC, ICADC

I deal specifically with celebrities, NFL, and more high profile clients.

My typical day is unlike probably anyone else you’re gonna get a response for. I specialize in traveling to the client so usually, I wake up have a cuppa coffee throw some clothes on, and head to whatever hotel that my client is staying at. I usually meet with them in the morning for about two hours to talk about goalsetting and do some coaching with them. Sometimes we will have breakfast together and then the personal trainer will meet them to work out or they will get a massage. I meet them again for another three hours of deep dive to figure out the reason while they’re using drugs and alcohol and get to the bottom of it and solve it.

Some of my key responsibilities are to figure out why the clients using drugs and alcohol to cope and give them new coping mechanisms and strategies once they are fully detoxed with our detox nurse and ready to re-integrate back into their home life. I travel a lot so that can be a pro or a con for my job function as a lot of therapists and life coaches like to stay home and work by telehealth I actually work in person in their home environment. Since I work with celebrities, NFL executives, and NBA I travel frequently with the client and end up in their home environment and their personal space. This allows me to do deeper work with them because I see them in their home environment and I’m able to see in a lifetime when they have triggers and issues arise.

What are the pros and cons?

The main pros to my job are that I can travel at my leisure, I can set my own schedule, which basically means on a Tuesday at 2 PM I can be hanging out at my hot tub and not working a 9-to-5 job. I get to meet new and interesting and fun people, and I can tack on a vacation day in the front or back end of my work schedule in a different city or country.

The cons of my job are that sometimes my traveling schedule can be grueling and I don’t get much time off. For example, I just did eight days straight with a private intensive client 5 to 7 hours a day with no break and then went right into teaching to back to back seminars, and hopping on a plane to go to California for another six days. What’s the reverse side of that is that if I work 15 or 20 days out of this month I could literally take off the entire next month financially. Because I’m working so intensely and traveling I can condense 60 days of work into 20 or even less than that to be able to pay the bills. Another con would be limited family time, however, I did marry a touring drummer so we both do travel a lot and it works well for our relationship. For the average person that’s family-oriented that wants to have dinner every night, this may not be the ideal job situation but because I don’t have any kids traveling it’s not a problem. I actually think it works to my advantage with my relationship with my husband and I both being big personalities and needing to constantly be entertained with different things it seems to work well.

Dr. Cali Estes, PhD, MCAP, MAC, ICADC
The Addictions Coach


Pros

Suitable for people who like to help and teach others.

Suitable for people who value relationships between co-workers and customers and want to work in a friendly non-competitive environment.

This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.

One of the fastest-growing careers.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work.

Salary is below average.

It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skills, knowledge, and experience are required for this career.

How much do they make

Average salary

$51550 per year

Average hourly wage

$25 per hour

Entry-level Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $30,590 to $36,950 per year or $15 to $18 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $78,700 $38
Senior (Top 25%) $61,760 $30
Median $47,660 $23
Junior (Bottom 25%) $36,950 $18
No experience (Bottom 10%) $30,590 $15

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Business, Professional, Labor, Political, and Similar Organizations $70940 $34.10
Insurance Carriers $66140 $31.80
Child Day Care Services $65620 $31.55
Junior Colleges $65150 $31.32
Elementary and Secondary Schools $58670 $28.21
Local Government $58390 $28.07
Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools $57780 $27.78
Agencies, Brokerages, and Other Insurance Related Activities $56200 $27.02
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals $55710 $26.78
State Government $54810 $26.35

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Outpatient Care Centers 63110 $49770 $23.93
Individual and Family Services 52580 $52050 $25.02
Residential Intellectual and Developmental Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse Facilities 34070 $44050 $21.18
Offices of Other Health Practitioners 30160 $53870 $25.90
Local Government 23170 $58390 $28.07
General Medical and Surgical Hospitals 15150 $55710 $26.78
Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Hospitals 13780 $48920 $23.52
Elementary and Secondary Schools 11130 $58670 $28.21
Offices of Physicians 10650 $54720 $26.31
Other Residential Care Facilities 8540 $42150 $20.27

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
32%

40 hours
35%

More than 40 hours
33%

Working schedule

97%

3%

0%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
8%

Every day
74%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
12%

Every day
71%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
9%

Every day
91%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
19%

Once a year
22%

Once a month
11%

Once a week
23%

Every day
25%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
23%

Slightly competitive
15%

Moderately competitive
36%

Highly competitive
16%

Extremely competitive
10%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
6%

Once a year or more
0%

Once a month or more
0%

Once a week or more
2%

Every day
92%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
74%

Once a year or more
7%

Once a month or more
4%

Once a week or more
10%

Every day
5%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
73%

Once a year or more
21%

Once a month or more
1%

Once a week or more
4%

Every day
1%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
80%

Once a year or more
16%

Once a month or more
4%

Once a week or more
0%

Every day
0%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Very Hard
You will need an extensive amount of skill, knowledge, and experience. Careers in this difficulty category usually require graduate school and more than five years of experience. These careers usually involve coordinating, training, supervising, or managing the activities of others to accomplish goals. Very advanced communication and organizational skills are required. Similar careers include Pharmacists, Lawyers, Astronomers, Neurologists, and Veterinarians.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
0%

High School Diploma or equivalent
1%

Post-Secondary Certificate
2%

Some College Courses
7%

Associate’s Degree or similar
14%

Bachelor’s Degree
19%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
6%

Master’s Degree
30%

Post-Master’s Certificate
2%

First Professional Degree
16%

Doctoral Degree
2%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

No majors found

Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
5%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
0%

3 to 6 months
0%

6 months to 1 year
18%

1 to 2 years
25%

2 to 4 years
39%

4 to 6 years
8%

6 to 8 years
3%

8 to 10 years
2%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
5%

1 month
11%

1 to 3 months
18%

3 to 6 months
8%

6 months to 1 year
21%

1 to 2 years
12%

2 to 4 years
20%

4 to 10 years
4%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Helper

People with this personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.

The Builder
19%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
57%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
62%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
100%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
43%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
29%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others.

They 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.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
76%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
62%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
71%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
95%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
57%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
71%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


Don’t know which career to pursue?

Take the career quiz to find careers that match your personality type.

Take The Career Quiz