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What are typical substance abuse counselor salaries? Do some companies pay a lot more for this position than others? What does a top earner make in this field?

What skills should you learn to increase your salary?

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sari lake in Long Beach, California

88 months ago

Substance abuse counselor is one of the most useful professions in our country. It is sad to know that counselors are homeless and under paid to cover their basic needs. Who ever makes money out of forcing counselors to produce program monies should become aware of the need of improving counselors salaries. Shame on you Alcohol and drugs department. Paying $7.50 per hour is a crime!.

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Lou in Killeen, Texas

84 months ago

sari lake in Long Beach, California said: Substance abuse counselor is one of the most useful professions in our country. It is sad to know that counselors are homeless and under paid to cover their basic needs. Who ever makes money out of forcing counselors to produce program monies should become aware of the need of improving counselors salaries. Shame on you Alcohol and drugs department. Paying $7.50 per hour is a crime!.
t

Illinois probably is the best paid state and seems to recognize the need to boost the obvious. You use to have been an x drug abuser just to counsel addicts but eventually IL saw a void that needed to be filled.

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sari lake in Burbank, California

84 months ago

Would you please tell me how much a Substance Abuse Counselor makes in Illinois? Thank you.

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donnakaraffa@yahoo.com in Colorado Springs, Colorado

84 months ago

Being a substance abuse counselor takes so much patience, as well as understanding. You are more than just a counselor, you become a detective, researcher, planner, psychologist,and much, much more. My dilemma is getting experience under my belt in order to be certified. The school I attended in Long Beach, CA was dissolved, and absorbed by a different school. Cannot find anything here in CO.

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Charlene Cheek

82 months ago

I wish that I could afford to be that dedicated to a profession that holds counselors in little
regard.

I am going on to complete my bachelors degree. I can't live on 7.50 an hour and pay back my student loans.

It's a pathetic situation. Sad...

If I had known... I certainly would have made better choices.

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Dean Gilbertson in Rochester, Minnesota

82 months ago

I can attest to the fact that counselors in Minnesota DO NOT get paid $ 7.50 per hour only human service technicians do. I have been in the field of counseling for 18 years and have found our profession to be one in which compensation is low however we are not in itfor the money right ? On a more serious note median income salary for a counselor that is licensed in our state is $ 35,000.00.

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sari lake in Long Beach, California

82 months ago

life in California is very expensive. One bedroom apartment monthly rent is more than 12 hundred dollars. if we make 35 K a year after all state and federal deductions we take home 26 k aprox. less 15 K rent a year we have to make it through out the year only with 11 K. So please make numbers and count the following medication, regular bills:phone, gas, water, transportation, food, shoes, clothing, shampoo, etc.etc. and thanks God I am single and no children. It hurts!I'm 51 years old working two other jobs to have enough to look presentable!

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Charlene Cheek

82 months ago

In the State of Texas, we don't bat an eye in spending the big bucks to incarcerate and punish our addicted and mentally ill population.
We seem to choke up at the thought of spending a fraction of that amount on rehabilation and treatment.
Prisons are big business here in the Lone Star State.Apparently, we prefer to warehouse our addicts.
And...While it is true we are not counselors for the money, I did not go to college to live under a bridge.

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sari lake in Long Beach, California

82 months ago

Grat contradictions!The legal system call people to renew their lives by staying clean and sober. Many counselor went through prison and try to make a living as counselors.However, deprivation of basic need continues to be one of the most difficult issues. Plus, the stigma of a felony that was paid with time in prison and monies and work place do not hire felons easily. So, recidivism and relapse on the use of drugs it maight be expected.We counselors need to stick togheter for better days to serve the unwanted population suffering from addiction.

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natalia in Delano, California

77 months ago

getting paid 7.50 and hour is pretty sad amd dissapointing .i mean i want this to be my career and all but C'MON 7.50$$ thats it .counselors should get paid so much more i mean counselors are the ones who help people to get over dramatic life problem and gice so much more advise ..COUNSELORS help the poeple to open theyre eyes and see what life is offering to them .

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sari lake in North Hollywood, California

77 months ago

I have good news for you. Since Mental health Department is open to hire Substance Abuse Counselor the pay has increased to 16-17 dollars per hour. However, you must have a counselor III with knowledge on Co-Ocurring Disorders!
So, get the training and go for it!

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Dino in Rochester, Minnesota

76 months ago

Natatalia ;I think that you should move to Minnesota where the pay for counselors is much better. Entry level counselors make $ 18.00 per hour.

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Charlene Cheek in Canyon, Texas

76 months ago

In Texas, we seem to prefer incarceration rather than treatment for our addicted population. Prisons have become a huge profit center for our state. Currently, we hold the dubious distinction of incarcerating more of our citizens than any country in the free world!Since the early 1980's our prison population has increased 500%. You would think we'd do something different.

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Kelcey

76 months ago

I would like to know if there are any substance abuse counselors in Oregon out there on the forum. I am an older single mom, trying to go back to school and carve out a career for myself at the age of 48. I have finished two years of my education and have now been offered an internship to do hours toward certification as a drug and alcohol counselor. I have been through several treatment programs myself. Now I am nervous. What is it like to lead your first group? What was it like to sit in on your first group as an intern?

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Kelcey

76 months ago

Also, could anyone tell me if there is a forum that is active for drug and alcohol counselors who share their experiences, struggles, acheivements?

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Charlene Cheek

76 months ago

Good luck! And... if you take out student loans to get your degree, even more luck paying those back at 7.50 an hour!
I wish I could be more positive about your career choice, but I've been there done that.
I would recommend you select another major!
Charlene
Cheek

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sari lake in Long Beach, California

76 months ago

I'm in California and I have 16 years working as a Substance Abuse Counselor. My last salary was 15 per hour and recently I'm making 17 only because I have an excellent background working with co-existing disorders and I have acquire a Counselor III job position. It hasn't been easy to reach this money. However, many counselors are still getting an hourly pay for 8.50 to 11.50. some are between 12-14 dollars per hour.Good luck!

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Dino in Rochester, Minnesota

76 months ago

Im in Minnesota. I work as a Program Director of an Opioid outpatient treatment program. I recently hired a counselor with a starting wage of $ 18,50 per hour. She is a licensed social worker with 2 years of experience with c.d. This hourly rate is the "going rate" for those with experience and / or a Human Service degree because of the high demand for c.d. counselors in our state. I believe that if someone is under the impression that they want to enter the field of c.d. counseling strictly for monetary gain and are not willing to re-locate they should consider another career path.

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sari lake in North Hollywood, California

76 months ago

I agree with you 100%. Sauthern California is probably the worst in regard of taking care of CD counselors.
Programs are very demanding, counselors are diminished at every level and the pay is worst than a baby sitter or a housekeeper job.

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Dino in Rochester, Minnesota

76 months ago

Nice to see the amount of recent entries in this site. Any thoughts about "changing direction" as it pertains to other issues that counselors face ?

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jim in Warsaw, Missouri

76 months ago

omg im doing this for school and i cant find how many years of college you need to do this...

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Charlene Cheek

75 months ago

In Texas, it's 2 years( an associates degree) and 2 years or 4,000 hours internship. All that to make minimum wage!
I hope you don't mind being poor!

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jim in Kearney, Missouri

75 months ago

thanks it's for a school project that i complete today. the info was usefull.

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Dino in Rochester, Minnesota

75 months ago

As of January 1st, 2008 (in Minnesota)you need to have a Bachelor's Degree with 2,000 clock hours as this is a licensure issue.

If you are fortunate, you will find an agency that recognizes that a low entry level salary range eventually results in the counselor seeking a higher salary with another employer. This recognition can result in higher entry level salaries if you are fortunate to find a perspective employer who abides by this theory. Once again, entering this field is a personal choice that needs to be assesed on an "on-going" basis as change within it is inevitable. Thank goodness there are still counselor's that are doing the work because the believe they can and do make a difference.

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Kelcey in Eugene, Oregon

75 months ago

Dean, what do you think my level of participation should be in my first group as a co-facilitator (my internship doesn't start until summer). I mean, should I stay quiet and listen, or should I try to take on some responsibility for the direction of the group even though the other counselor is leading the group? I don't want to step on anyone's toes.

What were the hardest things about beginnning as a drug counselor? Did you share your own story and advice or allow the clients to do all the input and just guide the direction of the topics?

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Charlene Cheek

75 months ago

Personally, I would limit my input until I felt like the time was right. You might get some suggestions from your lead counselor.
In the beginning, for me anyway, I listened until I reached a comfort level, before contributing to the group. Everyone is different and every group is different. Play it by ear.

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Dean in Rochester, Minnesota

75 months ago

Kelcey,
The one and only time that I facilitated a group without allowing rapport and trust to occurr between myself and the clients was when I had to facilitate a group as part of a hiring process.

I would definately encourage you to allow the group time to become comfortable with you as many of them have a length history of mistrust of others. Be cautious if in the future you find yourself using more "self-disclosure" with the clients than group skills and strategies as this can put the group process at risk of becoming "your group" instead of it being a therapuetic group for the clients.

Best of luck with your endeavor !!! You will do fine.

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dan b in Minneapolis, Minnesota

75 months ago

i hope this forum get's on track, where people with similar goals can share info. this is my first time on the site, but i am enrolling in a great LADC program in MPLS and have done my research. Don't listen to the 7.50$ a hour talk, i can't believe half the comments are about that. GO TO the BUREU of LABOR STATS bls.gov and see for yourself the actual goverment findings of any profession, it is mos def the best coverage of labor stats available. So check it out and lets move on to more topics. I would like to know if it people who have a 4year bachelors in ADC have moved on to receive a masters and found it to be worthwhile or not. just kinda curious on people's own educational paths as i choose mine, but i got time- four year to go! i can't wait

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dan b in Minneapolis, Minnesota

75 months ago

in minnesota u can work with a temp lisc for up to 5 years with an ass. degree in ADC. The deadline in July 1, 08. I guess lots of people are trying to hurry but to stay competetive people will need to get 4 year degrees and masters and doctorites anyway. I am kinda bummed i will not make the deadline, but it is still nice knowing i can get into my field in two years and have 5 years to practice but at the same time finish my bachelors full or part time.

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Charlene Cheek

75 months ago

I completed my Associates Degree in Substance Abuse Counseling in 2005. Unfortunately, because I was so "Gung Ho" on the profession, I never considered that I simply could not survive making 7.50 an hour. And... In Texas, that is what you will be making, best case sceniero, for 2 years until you complete your internship of 4,000 hours.
I don't want to "neg" anyone out here, but at the same time we have to be realistic.
I am currently finishing up my bachelors degree in behavorial science, since I had no choice but to keep going.
I would love to say that being an LCDC is the way to go, but even the most dedicated fall by the wayside, when reatity sets in.The question is how do you plan on living until you reach your LCDC status?
Where I am living... there are very few state CTI's (clinical training sites)and often times they pay you minimum wage until you reach LCDC status.Then you can earn the big bucks,..30 K a year... and be a member of the working poor!
Sorry if I rained on your parade.

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sari lake in Long Beach, California

75 months ago

I like to thank you for your comment. I was ready to sell my house in California and I have a real estate perosn ready to help me to buy another house in Texas-Denton. I'm making 35 K a year here as a Counselor III. I have other light duty jobs that help me to make 41K a year. Thank you so much for your comment. Come to California and as an entry level counselor I you will make now at least 10 dollars an hour.Before was 7.50 now it has improved.Best wishes.

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Charlene Cheek

75 months ago

Texas to California? Good Lord! I know the cost of living in California! Ten bucks an hour and I'd be living under a bridge for sure!
At least in Texas, you can buy a house for under 100,000. That's hardly possible in California...is it?

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sari lake in Long Beach, California

75 months ago

yes you are right! I apologize for my toughtless mind!
I have been in California all my life and I bought a house long ago. Now everything is expensive and housing is not longer affordable with low salaries. Once again my sincere apology. Best Wishes!

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Dean in Rochester, Minnesota

74 months ago

Where did everybody go ? I have been checking in here periodically to see if anyone has decided to post in this forum. Whats happening out there with the 12 core functions of counseling and client issues ?

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CJN

74 months ago

DO YOU THINK SINCE LADC'S MUST HAVE A BACHELORS DEGREE THE PAY WILL INCREASE?

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Dino in Rochester, Minnesota

74 months ago

No, I do not believe that the entry level pay scale for those maintaining a Bachelor's degree and L.A.D.C. status will change. Whether one has a Master's or Bachelor's degree the pay level will be based on the amount of experience one has in the field.

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JOHN in Oceanside, California

74 months ago

[i THINK IT IS EASY, JUST RELAX AND TALK,..THATS IT BASICALLY.

QUOTE who="Kelcey"]I would like to know if there are any substance abuse counselors in Oregon out there on the forum. I am an older single mom, trying to go back to school and carve out a career for myself at the age of 48. I have finished two years of my education and have now been offered an internship to do hours toward certification as a drug and alcohol counselor. I have been through several treatment programs myself. Now I am nervous. What is it like to lead your first group? What was it like to sit in on your first group as an intern?

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CJN in Minneapolis, Minnesota

74 months ago

Dean in Rochester, Minnesota said: Hi Kelcey !!

Congratulations on completion of your academic work and now internship opportunity. I am not from the state of Oregon but I am from the "state of treatment centers" (Minnesota).I have been in the field of addiction for the past 18 years (presently a Program Director for an IOP program. I still remember sitting in on my first group. If you have a good mentor they will allow you an opportunity to sit in on multiple group with different counselors (if possible) as each group facilitator has their own style. The more exposure you have to different styles the sooner you will be able to develop your own.
When I originally found this site I was hoping that it would be an active forum to share experiences and challenges as a counselor. Unfortunately, that has not been the case here which is disappointing as it has tremendous potential. Keep the forum alive and let me know how it goes for you.

Dean, Do you work for Mayo or a private facility? Roch is my hometown, I am in the cities.

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Dino in Rochester, Minnesota

74 months ago

CJN , I work at a private facilty on North Broadway called Rochester Metro Treatment Center. Kewl, to here someone from this blog is from Roch. What facility are you at in the cities ?

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Eric Foster in Los Angeles, California

73 months ago

sari lake in Long Beach, California said: I'm in California and I have 16 years working as a Substance Abuse Counselor. My last salary was 15 per hour and recently I'm making 17 only because I have an excellent background working with co-existing disorders and I have acquire a Counselor III job position. It hasn't been easy to reach this money. However, many counselors are still getting an hourly pay for 8.50 to 11.50. some are between 12-14 dollars per hour.Good luck!
Keep in mind that us as counsolers have the upper hand in the difficult matters, expierence gose a long way.

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Eric Foster in Los Angeles, California

73 months ago

I believe in this field of counseling we have the advantage over others. As long as we continue to recive advice also. I am a student in college studying to become a substance abuse counseler. With the much drama in my life I still press on with my goals. No matter how much the pay salery for counseling is, my life is devoted to helping pepole. Never forgert we live in a world were the last are last and the first are first. The Bible says the first shall be last and the last shall be first. So don,t worry about money, help the one,s who in this world are first. That way trust me the pay will always be great!!!

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Eric Foster in Los Angeles, California

73 months ago

Kelcey in Eugene, Oregon said: Dean, what do you think my level of participation should be in my first group as a co-facilitator (my internship doesn't start until summer). I mean, should I stay quiet and listen, or should I try to take on some responsibility for the direction of the group even though the other counselor is leading the group? I don't want to step on anyone's toes.

What were the hardest things about beginnning as a drug counselor? Did you share your own story and advice or allow the clients to do all the input and just guide the direction of the topics?

If the guy feels you steped on his toes, mabe he might need a group. Everyone dislikes a counselor who thinks he has all the awnsers. If he has some expierence, he should just go with the flow. The more information the more treatment. Besides, no one knows it all but God himself. Good luck brother.

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Dino in Rochester, Minnesota

73 months ago

CJN are you out there ?

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CJN in Minneapolis, Minnesota

73 months ago

Dean Gilbertson in Rochester, Minnesota said: I can attest to the fact that counselors in Minnesota DO NOT get paid $ 7.50 per hour only human service technicians do. I have been in the field of counseling for 18 years and have found our profession to be one in which compensation is low however we are not in itfor the money right ? On a more serious note median income salary for a counselor that is licensed in our state is $ 35,000.00.

Good comment. That is the truth! Licensed CD people get more than just a Tech makes. I have been a tech.

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Erica in Saint Paul, Minnesota

72 months ago

Hey fellow Minnesotans out there,
I currently hold a Bachelor's degree with focuses in
Psychology, Sociology, and American Indian Studies and
am considering supplementing my education by completing
a program at MCTC to become licensed as a CD counselor
in our state, was wondering if you could give me a realistic
gauge of how much competition for positions there is out
there and/or how many opportunities are currently available.
Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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Dino in Rochester, Minnesota

72 months ago

Hi Erica,
There is not alot of competition for Licensed Alcohol & Drug Counselors in our state due to the shortage of them. Depending upon where you want to locate to in the state plays a factor in the available opportunities. Most available openings are doing an Out-Patient modality of treatment.The shortage of counselors will continue into the future as many counselors are approaching retirement.

Hope this information helps.

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Dino in Rochester, Minnesota

72 months ago

HEY WHERE DID EVERYBODY GO ?????? COME ON THE ONE THING THAT HUMAN SERVICE PEOPLE / COUNSELORS LIKE TO DO IS TALK ......LOL

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Kelcey in Eugene, Oregon

72 months ago

I don't like forums anymore. Too many people get on there and pretend to be more than one character.

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Dino in Rochester, Minnesota

72 months ago

AHHHH....Kelcey we are all "charecters" in the play of life ...

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