Arizona Substance Abuse Counselor Training

Substance abuse can take many different forms, from addiction to alcohol to abusing illegal drugs or prescription pills. Substance abuse counselors help people get past these addictions through individual and group counseling therapy. Counselor typically work one-on-one with addicts in residential in-patient treatment centers, but they also work with families to help addicts and their family members achieve a greater understanding of substance abuse and the many different triggers that lead to addictions.

Substance abuse counselor training in Arizona

Program requirements are different depending on the type of degree students choose to pursue.

At Arizona community colleges that offer associate-level degrees, programs typically require 61 to 64 semester hours of study with 39 semester hours study in social and behavioral sciences.

Arizona colleges and universities that offer bachelor's degree programs in counseling with an emphasis on addiction, chemical dependency and substance abuse typically require a total of 120 credit-hours of study, with about 72 semester-hours of study in required courses.

Completing doctoral-level work in Arizona's state university system requires a total of 84 credit hours, including 27 in core courses and nine as internship or work experience. Up to 30 hours from a student's master's level work can be credited to the doctoral degree.

Arizona substance abuse counselor licensing and certification requirements

The Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners regulates substance abuse counseling licenses in the state. There are three levels of licensure students enrolled in substance abuse counselor training programs in Arizona can pursue:

Licensed Substance Abuse Technician -- For LSAT certifications, applicants must complete an associate degree with an emphasis on counseling.

Licensed Associate Substance Abuse Counselor -- To earn LASAC certification, applicants must have completed a bachelor's degree program that focuses on counseling from a regionally accredited university. The program must have a minimum of 30 semester hours in counseling-related coursework, and applicants also must have completed a minimum of 3,200 hours of supervised substance abuse counseling in a two-year time frame and 100 hours of clinically supervised work. Alternately, students with master's degrees can earn LASAC certification without the work experience requirement.

Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor -- Applicants for the LISAC certification must have completed a master's degree or higher with a focus on behavioral health sciences. Additionally, there's a 3,200-hour work-experience component, 1,600 hours of direct client contact and 100 hours of clinical supervised experience.

Arizona substance abuse counselor salary and job outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (bls.gov), there were 2,020 substance abuse counselors working in Arizona in May of 2013 at average wages just over $40,000 per year. Nationally, there were 83,120 substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors working at median annual wages of $38,620.

According to Projections Central, job growth for substance abuse counselors in Arizona is expected to grow by 34 percent, or 610 new positions, through 2022. This is in line with national job growth of 31 percent in the field, the BLS reports.

Job growth is expected to be high for chemical dependency counselors due to federal legislation mandating health care coverage for every American, which should spur more insured people to seek counseling for problem addiction. Insurers also are increasingly covering medical expenses for addiction treatments, which is expected to create additional demand for mental health counseling services.


Behavioral Health (DBH), Graduate Degrees and Certificates, Arizona State University, Accessed August 5, 2014, https://webapp4.asu.edu/programs/t5/majorinfo/ASU00/LSBEVHEDBH/graduate/false?init=false&nopassive=true

Behavioral Health/Addictions and Substance Use Disorders, Rio Salado College, Accessed August 5, 2014, http://www.riosalado.edu/programs/addictions-substance-abuse-disorders/Pages/aas.aspx

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211011.htm

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, January 8, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm

Substance Abuse Counselor Application Supplement, Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners, February 2014, http://azbbhe.us/pdfs/Supplement%20SA.pdf

Substance Abuse Counselors, Arizona Long Term Occupational Projections, Projection Central, 2012-2022, http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm

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