Each state has its own set of rules as to how addiction counselors should be licensed. Most states require that counselors have at least a bachelor’s degree, although a couple of states consider a higher degree of education to be sufficient. It’s important to remember that it does not have to take four years of college to become an addiction counselor. A couple of years of work experience, and having shown that you are dedicated to your clients’ well-being, may be all it takes to fulfill this requirement and earn your Level I certification.
Some states also have a requirement that counselors must hold at least a master’s degree before they can become certified. There are a few states that do not have any licensing requirements whatsoever, and Level I and Level II certification do not necessarily mean that you have completed your required education requirements. There are a number of agencies that provide this certification, including colleges, agencies of mental health and addiction, professional associations, and hospitals. You can get your official certification from any one of these sources. The National Certification Board for Alcohol and Drug Addictions has a website where you can look up your state requirements.
After you’ve completed your education requirements, you will need to become a Registered Professional Analyst or RPA. You will need to spend two years earning your certification, and then take an exam that covers all of the topics taught in your course of study. After you pass this exam, you will be issued your official certification. You will need to attend a minimum of five continuing education courses each year in order to keep your certification current. This requirement varies by state, so check with your local licensing boards to see what the specific requirements are in your area.
In order to be a Level I Certified Addictive substances, you must work in an area related to the field of substance abuse. You can find job openings in several different areas, including hospitals, clinics, government programs, private agencies, educational facilities, work settings such as workplaces and schools, halfway homes, and other related work settings. You will also need to have the required work history in order to achieve this goal.
The experience you gain in your course of study will allow you to go on and earn your Master’s degree. Once you attain this level of certification, you will no longer need to work in order to achieve your career goals. Some states allow counselors to continue their education by taking additional courses online or by going back to school through technical or community college. You may even find that your states require some of your clients to take course work in order to be certified. If this is the case in your area, your counselor may recommend that you complete these studies through a program at a community college.
If you already have work experience, you will still be able to get the job of your dreams. Keep in mind that many counselors choose not to work with individuals who do not have the appropriate amount of experience. If your work history does not reflect your abilities, take some time to learn about your niche. Learn about the different areas that you want to focus on before applying for a job. If you want to be a residential therapist, for example, you may want to consider working with alcoholics in a residential facility first.
Take the time to look at all of your options. National certification will show potential employers that you have the knowledge and skills necessary for the position. It will also demonstrate to your clients that you are dedicated to what you are doing. This is something that clients really appreciate when it comes to working with a counselor who truly loves helping people. If you feel that you might want to go back to school to get your certification, find a local school that will help you get your education. It may be worth the time and money in the end.