Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

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Job description

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder 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.
Read more about what does a Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.



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Average salary
$51920 per year

Average hourly wage
$25 per hour

Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors with little to no experience tend to make between $27890 and $35860 while the more experienced ones can earn over $62880 per year.

Top 5 paying statesHourlyAnnual

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor is to move to a higher paying state like UT. Right now, the highest paying states for Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors are UT, AK, DC, OR and NJ.

However, a higher pay at UT doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at UT might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Master’s Degree

We asked other Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Master’s Degree followed by a Bachelor’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling
Clinical/Medical Social Work
Clinical Pastoral Counseling/Patient Counseling
Read more about how to become a Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor.

Suitable for people who likes to help and teach others
Suitable for people who values relationships between co-workers and customers and wants 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
Not suitable for people who likes practical and hands-on work
Salary is below average
It is very hard to get into this career. Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience is required for this career.

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

74% of Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors said they were satisfied with their job and 85% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

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.

People who are suitable for this job tends 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.

Learn more about Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

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Related career information

Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors job description, Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors salary, Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors information, what is the job of a Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor like, pros and cons about Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, colleges and universities for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, is Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors the right career for me, careers in Human and Social Service

Similar careers

Addiction Therapist, Addictions Counselor, Alcohol and Drug Counselor, Alcoholic Counselor, Assessment Specialist, Behavior Therapist, Behavioral Analyst, Behavioral Specialist, Behavioral Therapist, Case Manager

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