Due to the number of persons needing treatment for chemical dependency, the job outlook for chemical dependency/substance abuse therapists is very good.
Learn more about a career in Addictions and Substance Use Disorders: U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Pay range varies greatly for chemical dependency/substance therapists based on a wide variety of factors. The following are only pay range estimates and cannot be considered a guarantee of pay rate or employment. Pay rates can be higher or lower.
Licensed Substance Abuse Technician
$27,000 to $32,000 per year
Licensed Associate Substance Abuse Counselor
$27,000 to $32,000 per year
Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor
$28,000 to $50,000 per year
*Note: Chemical dependency therapy is a social service field and pay is often on the lower end when compared with other employment opportunities with similar educational requirements.
A day in the job
Role of Chemical Dependency Therapists
- Assist chemically dependent persons in their recovery process
- Interview and counsel individuals, families, and groups
- Write, maintain and update treatment records and assessments
- Have knowledge of how chemical addiction affects the lives of individuals and families
- Have knowledge of current counseling theories
- Have knowledge of the effects of chemical use on human biological systems and human development
- Know the principles of various self-help groups: Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-anon, Al-ateen, and Narcotics Anonymous, etc.
- Have knowledge of adjustment issues of Adult Children of Alcoholics
- Have knowledge of sexual dysfunction resulting from the effects of chronic chemical abuse
- Have knowledge of physiological and psychosocial factors on recovery and relapse
- Have knowledge of local chemical dependency and behavioral health treatment providers
- Know how to interface between the legal/criminal justice system and service providers
- Know how to interface on behalf of the client with medical and insurance providers
Addictions and Substance Use Disorders therapists work in a variety of settings:
- Government agencies
- Private and public behavioral health agencies
- Halfway houses
- Rehabilitation centers
- Education programs
- Prevention programs
Since substance abuse affects the lives of so many people in so many ways, there is a critical need for people trained in chemical dependency to work in many fields of employment which may include:
- Human resources
- Civil courts
- Criminal justice
- Social-service case managers & caseworkers
- Welfare services
- Adolescent & child services
A background in chemical dependency also provides a great educational start for people planning to continue their education in: law enforcement, law, medicine, nursing, education, social work, counseling and psychology.