Addiction is a disease that is plaguing our nation, and millions of Americans are affected by alcohol and drug addiction. If you’d love a career helping others fight addiction, earning your substance abuse counselor certification is the first step. But how can you tell if this is the right career for you?
1. Are You A “People Person?”
Let’s face it, there are introverts and extroverts. If you tend to be an introvert this certainly doesn’t mean that you don’t possess the compassion and caring needed to be a good therapist, but you might not be comfortable in a job that requires you to be social just about all the time. If you love being around people and interacting with people throughout the day, than a career as a substance abuse counselor might be a great fit for you.
2. Do You Have Solid Listening Skills?
There are many social people that love helping others and being around others, but not all of these people possess excellent listening skills. However, if you are the type of person that people naturally turn to when they need to talk about something important, this is a good indicator that you would be a good therapist.
When a person is in recovery, they desperately need people to talk to and unload some of the burdens they have been carrying. This will be a huge part of your job as a drug and alcohol counselor, so if you love to listen, you probably will be a good match for this job.
3. Are You Organized?
You might be wondering what this has to do with substance abuse counseling. For most counselors, their favorite part of the job is talking with their clients and helping them work through issues and plan out their recovery. But, it’s important to note, that substance abuse counselors have to tackle a great deal of behind-the-scenes work, as well.
This includes compiling records, developing treatment plans, reaching out to other health professionals and tracking each client’s progress. All of this data must be compiled and processed on a daily basis, so the reality is that counselors have to deal with a lot of paperwork. If you are organized and know you are up to the challenge of handling paperwork for many different clients, then that’s definitely a point in your favor.
As you earn your substance abuse counselor certification, you will learn all about the type of paperwork you’ll need to handle. Likewise as you complete your hours toward certification, you gain real-world practical experience with all of this documentation. By the time you are an official counselor, you will be full of knowledge about your profession and all it entails.
4. Can You Handle Stress?
We would be lying if we didn’t share that substance use counseling can be a stressful job. Your clients will be dealing a wide range of issues. In addition to the mental and physical toll addiction takes on a person, many of your patients will also be struggling with mental illness, chronic pain and other diseases. This is obviously overwhelming for them, but it can become overwhelming for the counselor as well.
You will be helping many people through crisis, and the outcome is not always going to be positive. That’s an unfortunate reality of what we do. However, if you are the type of person that can calmly navigate through a storm, and handle the stress that often accompanies patient care, then you probably are an excellent candidate for a counseling career.
5. Are You Confident & Adaptable?
When a person is working through rehab or recovery, they need to know that the people helping them have confidence in the treatment plan and confidence in their ability to counsel others. Your confidence and your ability to adapt to the different personalities you encounter will be helpful tools in your career as an addiction counselor.
Of course, there’s another question that we could ask. Have you struggled with addiction? Often, a person in recovery is an ideal person to serve as an addiction counselor. While everyone’s addiction journey is unique, your experience with addiction and recovery will be a valuable tool as you help others heal.
We also find that it’s not just people who struggle with addiction that become excellent counselors. Often people with loved ones struggling with addiction make excellent counselors. Many people who have lost friends or family members to addiction are committed to helping others fight their addiction and transform their lives, and that might be what motivates you to become a substance abuse counselor.
Generally speaking, if you are interested in a career as a substance abuse counselor, you probably possess many of these aforementioned skills or personality traits and the team at Sober College School of Addiction Studies can help you get started.
The first step toward earning your substance abuse counselor certification is completing your education and we offer flexible programs that can be completed in as little as six months. You also have the option of learning in-class or online, which makes it easier to plan your education around your existing work schedule.
For our in-class option, you attend class just one weekend per month at our Los Angeles campus. If you live in another state or not near our campus, our online option is the perfect choice. However, just because your classes may be online, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to interact with professors and your fellow students.
Students can reach their instructors via email and by phone appointment, and there is a discussion forum where students can post questions regarding assignment requirements or any course concerns. All of our instructors have real-world experience, and many are still working in the counseling field today so they don’t just provide information about curriculum, they provide you with valuable insight into the profession. To learn more about our substance abuse counselor certification program, head to our homepage and look under the Counselor Training tab for more information about your options. You also can speak with an admissions specialist by calling (866) 658-5644 or by heading to the Get Started tab and filling our quick contact form.