Become a Substance Abuse Counselor in Alaska - AK
By Laura Wrede, allied health world contributing writer
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The substance abuse counselor is responsible for assessing, and determining a plan for a client that comes to their facility for assistance. To prepare for this career, you will need training in treatment planning, counseling, and patient management for both inpatient and outpatient clients. You will learn how to work with the individual, their family, and possibly the Alaska court system if clients are there on a mandatory referral. Part of your job will also include education on chemical dependency for the benefit of everyone who is involved in the abusers life.
Alaska offers several certification programs--from a counseling tech to a certification for administrators--in substance abuse counseling. The Alaska Commission for Behavioral Health Certification (http://www.akcertification.org/) will administer your exam and award your certificate. Substance abuse counselor certification in Alaska begins with the entry-level counseling tech. This initial certification will limit your scope of practice by requiring supervision by a certified chemical dependency counselor.
To achieve this certification you will complete 100 contact training hours working directly with clients in a supervised setting. You will also complete a minimal number of college level classes that give you the skills needed working in a counseling setting. In order to collect your contact hours, check with local hospitals that may offer internship programs such as Providence Alaska Medical Center, Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, Alaska Regional Hospital, or Central Peninsula. Once you have your education and training complete, you are ready to finalize your certification process by taking the exam designated for the level you choose.