Becoming a Substance Abuse Counselor in California
Find Programs for Substance Abuse Counseling Degrees in California
Whether you are new to the field of counseling or you are looking for a way to advance your current counseling certification, you may be interested in earning a certified substance abuse counselor degree.
In California, many counties have a significant shortage of substance abuse treatment specialists. This is particularly true now, since California legislators have approved a plan to expand substance abuse treatment for low-income patients, a plan that may save money in the field of criminal justice (NPR, 2016).
If you’re ready to earn substance abuse counselor certification, California schools can help you get started.
Check out the list of California addiction counseling degree programs below and get in touch with schools near you.
Substance Abuse Counselor Training in California
Entry-level counseling jobs generally require that you work under the supervision of a graduate-level counselor. To get into the field of counseling via this route, you can earn a Bachelor’s degree at an accredited AOD/CADC training in CA program.
At a minimum, you will likely need to earn 120 credits and get 255 hours of clinical work experience. Your curriculum may include some of the courses found below. In total, the process could take between four and five years of full-time study.
Bachelor‘s-Level Substance Abuse Counseling Courses
- Introduction to Addiction and Addictive Behavior
- Substance Abuse and the Family
- Substance Abuse Assessment
- Substance Abuse Treatment
Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling—California Requirements
If you already have a Bachelor’s degree, you may be interested in advanced substance abuse and addiction education programs in CA. After earning your Bachelor’s degree, you may earn the required 30 to 40 credits for a Master’s degree in approximately two years.
While hands-on experience is important in any type of counseling program, it is even more crucial at the graduate level. Although you only need 255 hours of experience to pursue certification, many graduate programs provide you with several hundred hours of patient interaction.
Addiction Counselor California Graduate Courses
- Diagnosis and Assessment of Psychopathology
- Family Treatment of Addiction
- Theories for Substance Abuse Treatment Practice
- Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods
- Crisis and Trauma
- Multicultural Competence
- Psychological Testing
Substance Abuse Counselor Careers in California
After meeting California addiction counselor requirements with your degree, you can decide which level of certification is right for you. Substance abuse certification goes through the California Department of Health Care Services.
- To become a CADCA, you only need 255 hours of student clinical experience.
- As a CADC-I applicant, you need 4,000 hours of additional supervised work experienced.
- CADC-II applicants need 6,000 hours of experience in addition to the base 255 hours requirement.
- LAADC applicants need a Master’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree and 4,000 hours of supervised work experience.
There are several substance abuse counselor careers that make full use of your undergraduate or graduate education. Across the board, the job outlook is strong in this specialty. Between 2014 and 2024, O*Net predicts an 18% boost in substance abuse counselor jobs and a 17% jump in substance abuse social worker jobs (2016).
Currently, California substance abuse counselors earn an average of $40,370 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). Those who work as a substance abuse social workers claim a mean annual income of $60,620 (BLS, 2016).
The work you do as a certified addiction counselor can have long-lasting effects in the lives of your patients, their friends, and their family members. Successful addiction treatments can even strengthen the state of California as a whole, since people without addiction issues are more likely to maintain steady jobs, contribute to society, and raise healthy, confident families.