Becoming a Substance Abuse Counselor in Colorado
Find Programs for Substance Abuse Counseling Degrees in Colorado
In the field of social services, drug and alcohol addiction is one of the most pressing issues facing the United States. This problem manifests differently in each community, which means that every state needs a targeted plan to minimize addiction rates.
In Colorado, the problems are multifold. A recent study indicates that Colorado is the only state in the country that falls into the top 10 states for the use of alcohol, cocaine, and non-prescribed painkillers (Denver Post, 2016). With so many different types of addiction plaguing the state, many cities need certified addiction counselors to help residents shake off their addiction for good.
Learn more about Colorado substance abuse counseling certification by contacting counselor training programs below.
Substance Abuse Counselor Training in Colorado
It you plan on starting a career with a Bachelor’s degree, you may be interested in attending a Colorado Bachelor’s in behavioral science program or an addiction psychology program. These programs combine the core tenets of psychology with advanced coursework in substance abuse disorders, addiction theories, and intervention options.
You may spend about four years earning this degree, during which time you earn 120 credits and get several hundred hours of clinical experience.
Bachelor‘s-Level Substance Abuse Counseling Courses
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychology of Addiction
- Case Management in Clinical Settings
- Psychopharmacology of Alcohol and Drugs
- Cognitive Psychology
- Ethical Practice in Counseling
Master’s in Substance Abuse Counseling—Colorado Requirements
A Master’s or PhD in behavioral science or counseling psychology may be the next step for you if you already possess a Bachelor’s degree. An accredited counseling degree program contains at least 30 graduate credits, although some schools require significantly more coursework.
Clinical experience is heavily emphasized at this stage of education. On your way to becoming a certified substance abuse counselor, you may spend over 500 hours working with patients as a graduate student.
Addiction Counselor Colorado Graduate Courses
- Legal and Ethical Issues in Addiction Treatment
- Wellness, Recovery, and Maintenance
- Addiction Counseling
- Addiction Studies Research
- Public Policy and Addiction
- Relapse Prevention
Substance Abuse Counselor Careers in Colorado
Upon completion of your Colorado Certified Addiction Counselor training, you may start to complete supervised work experience to qualify for licensure in this state. According to the State Board of Addiction Counselor Examiners, the following are requirements for different levels of practice:
- CAC-I applicants need 1,000 hours of supervised experience
- CAC-II applicants need 2,000 hours of supervised experience
- CAC-III applicants can plan on finishing 2,000 hours of work experience and a Master’s degree
- LAC requirements include a Master’s degree and a passing score on a national counseling exam
In Colorado, job growth rates are significantly higher than national averages. Those who pursue substance abuse counselor careers may find that job openings are expected to increase 38% between 2014 and 2024 (O*Net, 2016). During the same decade, demand for substance abuse social workers may swell 31% (O*Net, 2016).
The average salary for a Colorado substance abuse counselor is $45,080 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). Substance abuse social workers earn an average annual salary of $41,850 (BLS, 2016).
The longer that substance abuse problems go unsolved, the more potential they have to cause serious damage in individual lives and in the state of Colorado as a whole. Your work as a substance abuse counselor can improve public health outcomes in Colorado, erase the stigma of substance abuse issues, and give patients the strength needed to ask for help.