Substance Abuse Counselor Training in Florida - FL

When someone in Florida is struggling with addiction, a substance abuse counselor can be their lifeline. These health professionals help patients overcome their addictions by evaluating their treatment options and coming up with the best plan for their needs; teaching patients how to modify their behaviors and emotions so they don't turn to drugs and alcohol when they encounter potential triggers; and helping patients' family members cope and contribute to their loved one's recovery.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov), substance abuse counselors generally can find employment at hospitals, substance abuse centers, mental health facilities, and residential care facilities.

Substance abuse counselor degree programs in Florida

Those who want to pursue substance abuse counseling careers in Florida can find a number of options for entering the field. Generally, these health professionals can work in the field if they have earned a two-year associate degree, although many professionals earn bachelor's degrees or even graduate-level degrees in order to advance in their field.

Although the specific courses that students in these programs take vary depending on the school they enroll in, generally, students in Florida who study substance abuse counseling learn subjects such as:

  • Family counseling
  • Counseling skills
  • Substance abuse and criminal justice
  • Approaches to counseling substance abusers
  • Addiction research
  • Ethics in substance abuse counseling
  • Medical records management
  • Sociology
  • Physiology of substance abuse
  • Group counseling

Substance abuse counselor certification and credentials in Florida

According to the Florida Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Network, substance abuse counselors in the state are not required to obtain a certification in order to find employment. However, the BLS does note that substance abuse counselors who want to work in private practice must obtain a license.

The types of licenses available to substance abuse counselors in Florida are:

  • Certified Addiction Professional (CAP), which is granted by the Florida Certification Board, is earned by those who have completed a bachelor's degree and are involved in assessing, creating and implementing substance abuse treatment plans. In order to qualify for this certification, professionals must have at least 3,000 hours of work experience, 300 hours of education, and 300 hours of work under direct supervision. In addition, CAP candidates must pass a written an oral examination and take continuing education courses.
  • Certified Associate Addiction Professional - 1 (CAAP-1) requirements include 2,000 hours of work experience, 100 hours of direct supervision work, 150 hours of education, and an oral and written test.
  • Certified Associate Addiction Professional - 2 (CAAP-2) requires professionals to work at least 4,000 hours in the field, complete 270 hours of education and 150 hours of supervised work, and pass a written and oral test.

Career/salary overview for substance abuse counselors in Florida

The BLS reports that the need for substance abuse counselors is on the rise. Between 2012 and 2022, the profession is expected to expand by 31 percent -- which is a growth rate significantly higher than most professions -- in part because as more people become insured, there will be more people able to seek the treatment they need. In addition, the trend among courts to order addiction counseling for drug offenders in lieu of jail time has helped increase the need for these professionals.

The agency reports that in Florida, as of May 2013, substance abuse counselors were making an average annual salary of $41,650 and an hourly wage of $20.02.


Available Certifications, Florida Certification Board, Accessed July 23, 2014, http://flcertificationboard.org/certification/available-certifications/

Career: Substance Abuse Counselor, The Princeton Review, Accessed July 23, 2014, http://www.princetonreview.com/careers.aspx?cid=172

May 2013 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Florida, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed July 23, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2013/may/oes_fl.htm

Graduate Certificate in Addictions & Substance Abuse Counseling, University of South Florida, Accessed July 23, 2014, http://rmhc.cbcs.usf.edu/graduateCertificates/addictionsSubstanceAbuse.cfm

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics, July 23, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, O*NET OnLine, Accessed July 23, 2014, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/21-1011.00

Substance Abuse Counselor, Florida Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Network, Accessed July 23, 2014, http://www.flahec.org/hlthcareers/subst.HTM

Substance Abuse Studies Certificate, Nova Southeastern University, Accessed July 23, 2014, http://www.fcas.nova.edu/programs/certificates/substance_abuse.cfm

What Is An Addiction Professional?, The Association for Addiction Professionals, Accessed July 23, 2014, http://www.naadac.org/whatisanaddictionprofessional

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