Substance Abuse Counselor Salary
It's impossible to make it big as a Substance Abuse Counselors in the United States; the average employee scrapes together only around $38K per year. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is the specific employer, followed by the particular city and experience level. Job satisfaction is reported as high by the vast majority of workers. Unfortunately, some people in this line of work are without benefits — nearly one in four lack coverage. On the flip side, a majority have medical insurance and the larger part receive dental plans. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.
|Salary||$29,055 - $51,119|
|Bonus||$196.53 - $4,345|
|Total Pay (||$27,385 - $50,217|
|Hourly Rate||$12.17 - $22.40|
|Overtime||$16.22 - $33.46|
|Bonus||$196.53 - $4,345|
|Total Pay (||$27,385 - $50,217|
Job Description for Substance Abuse Counselor
Substance abuse counselors provide therapy to individuals struggling with issues related to alcohol and/or drug use. They may lead group counseling and support groups, as well as conduct one-on-one sessions with patients; employers may include nonprofit and for-profit healthcare providers, government entities and nonprofit organizations that provide counseling services. These counselors must have an excellent understanding of how to work with individuals dealing with substance abuse issues, including common issues for this population and established therapeutic techniques. It is important for the counselor to be able to work with people who come from a variety of age groups and cultures.Read More...
Generally, substance abuse counselors perform evaluations for patients and develop a personalized plan for recovery; over the course of counseling, this plan may change depending on the patient's needs and progress. The counselor should have a large network of connections to things such as community services and medical providers so that clients can be referred to these services as necessary. It may also be essential to work with the patient’s medical providers with the patient’s permission. All activities performed with patients should be well documented and in compliance with patient confidentiality laws.
A master’s degree in social work, counseling or a related field is often needed for substance abuse counselor positions. Previous experience is often required or preferred as well. Usually, the substance abuse counselor is required to be certified, possessing one or more certifications such as licensed clinical addiction counselor, licensed mental health counselor and licensed clinical social worker.
Substance Abuse Counselor Tasks
- Gather information about patients using interviews, case histories, observations and assessments.
- Facilitate and lead group and education sessions.
- Manage caseload and documentation.
- Develop individual intervention, treatment and recovery plans.
- Perform substance abuse or other disorder evaluations for patients.
Common Career Paths for Substance Abuse Counselor
Substance Abuse Counselors who advance into the role of a Clinical Director are fairly uncommon. Clinical Directors on average earn $72K per year. The most common promotion for Substance Abuse Counselors is a Certified Drug and Alcohol Addiction Counselor position, which usually brings in $35K a year. Another standard transition for Substance Abuse Counselors seeking advancement is to assume a Mental Health Counselor role, where pay is often $38K.
Substance Abuse Counselor Job Listings
Popular Employer Salaries for Substance Abuse Counselor
Colonial Management Group, LLC, CRC Health Group Corporation, Gateway Foundation, Inc., Behavioral Health Group, and Mental Health Systems, Inc. are top-notch employers for Substance Abuse Counselors in this area. The biggest paychecks can be found at The Salvation Army — the median salary there is $44K. Other employers shelling out big bucks include Catholic Charities, Hina Mauka, and The Phoenix House, where Substance Abuse Counselors typically earn around $41K, $37K, or $35K, respectively.
Workers at CRC Health Group Corporation, Pyramid Healthcare, Inc., and Gateway Foundation, Inc. also face smaller salaries than the rest of the field — average earnings for these employers come to $30K, $31K, and $32K respectively.
Popular Skills for Substance Abuse Counselor
Survey takers working as Substance Abuse Counselors report using a large range of professional skills. Most notably, skills in Clinical Supervision, Oral / Verbal Communication, Patient Counseling, and Writing Procedures & Documentation are correlated to pay that is above average, with boosts between 4 percent and 17 percent. Bilingual and Masters degree as skills, however, tend to be associated with significantly smaller paychecks. Most people familiar with Case Management also know Facilitator.
Pay by Experience Level for Substance Abuse Counselor
Pay by Experience for a Substance Abuse Counselor has a positive trend. An entry-level Substance Abuse Counselor with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $34,000 based on 1,256 salaries provided by anonymous users. Average total compensation includes tips, bonus, and overtime pay. A Substance Abuse Counselor with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $38,000 based on 454 salaries. An experienced Substance Abuse Counselor which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $41,000 based on 328 salaries. A Substance Abuse Counselor with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $44,000 based on 103 salaries.
Pay Difference by Location
Surpassing the national average by 18 percent, Substance Abuse Counselors in Philadelphia receive some of the highest pay in the country. Substance Abuse Counselors will also find cushy salaries in Phoenix (+11 percent), Atlanta (+9 percent), New York (+7 percent), and San Diego (+6 percent). Trailing the national average by 14 percent, Houston is the market with the smallest paychecks. Workers in Los Angeles and Raleigh earn less than others in this profession; their salaries fall short of the national average by 10 percent.
Substance Abuse Counselor Reviews
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