Substance Abuse Counselor Salary

Substance Abuse Counselors in the United States can expect only a modest salary, with average pay of just $38K annually. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by the particular firm, but geography and tenure are influential factors as well. Female Substance Abuse Counselors survey participants are more prevalent than men — 68 percent of professionals. One in four of professionals in this line of work do not receive benefits; however, more than half report medical coverage and a majority claim dental coverage as well. For the most part, Substance Abuse Counselors enjoy their work and report high levels of job satisfaction. The information for this snapshot was generated by responses to the PayScale salary survey.

$29,025 - $51,382
$29K
$39K
$51K
MEDIAN: $38,560
10%
50%
90%

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$12.36 - $21.87
$12
$17
$22
MEDIAN: $16.57
10%
50%
90%

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$0$51K
Salary $29,025 - $51,382
Bonus $196 - $4,134
Profit Sharing $3,052
Commission $2,000
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$27,551 - $50,083
  • Country: United States
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 19 Nov 2017
  • Individuals Reporting: 1,033
Hourly Data $0$34
Hourly Rate $12.36 - $21.87
Hourly Tips $0.91
Overtime $16.55 - $34.13
Annual Data $0$50K
Bonus $196 - $4,134
Commission $2,000
Profit Sharing $3,052
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$27,551 - $50,083
  • Country: United States
  • Currency: USD
  • Updated: 19 Nov 2017
  • Individuals Reporting: 965

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.

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Substance Abuse Counselor Tasks

  • Manage caseload and documentation
  • Perform substance abuse or other disorder evaluations for patients
  • Develop individual intervention, treatment and recovery plans
  • Facilitate and lead group and education sessions
  • Gather information about patients using interviews, case histories, observations and assessments

Common Career Paths for Substance Abuse Counselor


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It's not very common for Substance Abuse Counselors to move on to become Clinical Directors. Average pay for a Clinical Director is $72K annually. Becoming a Certified Drug and Alcohol Addiction Counselor is, more often than not, the most common role that Substance Abuse Counselors move into when they're ready for the next step in their career. A median salary for a Certified Drug and Alcohol Addiction Counselor is $35K. Another frequent advance is for Substance Abuse Counselors to assume a Mental Health Counselor role; in this role, workers often take home $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 among the top companies that take on many Substance Abuse Counselors. Heading up the field in terms of compensation, The Salvation Army offers the most; Substance Abuse Counselors earn $44K on average there. Substance Abuse Counselors can also look forward to large paychecks at Catholic Charities ($41K), Hina Mauka ($37K), and The Phoenix House ($35K).

Employees at CRC Health Group Corporation, Pyramid Healthcare, Inc., and Gateway Foundation, Inc. can also expect below-average earnings of $30K, $31K, and $32K.

Popular Skills for Substance Abuse Counselor


Substance Abuse Counselors seem to require a rather large skill set. 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 who know 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

National Average: $36,601

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that 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 can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Phoenix (+11 percent), Atlanta (+9 percent), New York (+7 percent), and San Diego (+6 percent). Houston is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 14 percent. Employers in Los Angeles and Raleigh also lean toward paying below-median salaries (10 percent less).

Substance Abuse Counselor Reviews

Q: What is it like working as a Substance Abuse Counselor?

Substance Abuse Counselor in Indio:
"Hopefulness."
Pros: I enjoy helping addicts on their roar to recovery.
Cons: Not enough time working with addicts, to much paper work .

Substance Abuse Counselor in Paramus:
Pros: Helping people is the best thing about the job. As well as the pay.
Cons: The hospital is very understaffed when it comes to the counselors. Because of that most of us are extremely overworked. I work every weekend as well which I hate.

Substance Abuse Counselor in Lompoc:
"It's unpredictable and challenging in more than one way."
Pros: I like the freedom to be creative.
Cons: Poor management leadership, stressfull job, dealing with difficult rude clients at times, doing Med call, and detox Med call.

Substance Abuse Counselor in New Castle:
"Only if you have a heart for addiction."
Pros: Helping people learn to change their lives. Working independently.
Cons: Massive amounts of paperwork limit your therapeutic efficacy. High stress.

Substance Abuse Counselor in Panama City:
Pros: It is very satisfying to see clients gain skills and beliefs that enable them to live drug or alcohol free lives, with relationships restored and hope regained.
Cons: There is a lot of emotional drama as clients come off their drug of choice and begin to learn to live and work with other women. There has also been a lot of drama with management as they learn the ropes.

Substance Abuse Counselor in Panama City:
Pros: It is a highly challenging position both in meeting clients' needs and in teaching other staff about what is required. It can be very satisfying when client phases up, learns a new skill or insight, or graduates.
Cons: There is constant drama with clients and management.

Substance Abuse Counselor in El Centro:
Pros: Being able to help people change.
Cons: None.

Related Job Salaries

Key Stats for Substance Abuse Counselor

Gender

Female
67 %
Male
33 %

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 274 votes.
Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
50%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
16%
20 years or more
6%

Experience Affects Substance Abuse Counselor Salaries

▲21%

▲13%

▲4%

National Average
$37,000

▼7%

Skills That Affect Substance Abuse Counselor Salaries

Clinical Supervision
▲17%

Oral / Verbal Communication
▲8%





National Average
$37,000

▼1%

▼1%

Assessment
▼2%


Masters degree
▼5%

Bilingual
▼24%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 274 votes.

Gender

Female
67 %
Male
33 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
50%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
16%
20 years or more
6%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 68%
dental benefits
Dental: 58%
vision benefits
Vision: 46%
no benefits
None: 28%