Substance Abuse Counselor Training in Georgia - GA

Substance abuse counselors play an important role in the counseling field and work with patients experiencing a wide range of addiction issues. These professionals are responsible for evaluating those who have substance abuse problems and creating and implementing a treatment plan that will help them overcome their addictions and lead a sober life. In addition, substance abuse counselors maintain patient records, participate in staff meetings to discuss patient cases, collect and analyze samples to determine if a patient is using drugs, evaluate patients' progress in their treatment programs, and conduct individual and group counseling sessions.

Substance abuse counselors in Georgia generally work for hospitals, government agencies, mental health centers, nursing homes, correctional facilities and parole agencies. In order to be successful in this field, these professionals must have good listening skills, written and verbal communication skills, critical thinking skills, and decision making skills.

Substance abuse counselor degree programs in Georgia

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov), people who are interested in pursuing a career in substance abuse counseling are permitted to enter the field with a high school diploma, though they will be required to undergo extensive on-the-job training. Generally, people who get hired for these jobs complete at least an associate degree, and often go on to receive higher-level degrees.

The specific curriculum of a substance abuse degree program in Georgia depends on what school a student attends. However, in general, students in these programs will study the following subjects:

  • Theories of addiction
  • Counseling methods
  • Professional ethics
  • Group therapy methods
  • Community health
  • Pharmacology
  • Trends in addiction counseling
  • Clinical evaluations
  • Treatment planning
  • Community and family education

Substance abuse counselor certifications and licensing in Georgia

Substance abuse counselors are not required to earn a certification unless they plan to open a private practice. However, a certification is a great way for substance abuse counselors in Georgia to advance in their careers and keep their knowledge and skills current. Those who want to pursue certifications can earn a Certified Addiction Counselor, Level I (CACI) certification, a Certified Addiction Counselor, Level II (CACII) certification, and a Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS) certification, which are issued by the Georgia Addiction Counselors Association Certification Board.

In order to earn a CACI certification, substance abuse counselors must complete a high school diploma or its equivalent, 6,000 work experience hours, and an examination. The requirements for a CACII are completing 4,000 hours of work experience, earning at least a bachelor's degree, and passing an examination. Those who want to pursue a CCS must have at least five years of experience as a substance abuse counselor and must complete 300 hours of supervised clinical work experience, 30 hours of classroom training, and an examination.

Career/salary overview for substance abuse counselors in Georgia

Substance abuse counselors in Georgia in May 2013 earned an average of $40,720 per year, and $18.48 per hour, according to the BLS. The agency reports that this field is growing because as more people get access to health care, more addicts will be able to get the treatment they need. In fact, between 2012 and 2022, there will be a 31 percent increase in the amount of jobs available to substance abuse counselors.


ADACBGA Certification, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board of Georgia, Accessed July 23, 2014, http://www.ultimatemedical.edu/education/medical-billing-and-coding-certification

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

Certificate in Addiction Counseling, Darton State College, Accessed July 23, 2014, http://online.darton.edu/degrees/index.php?Key=Degree&Index=41

Certification, Georgia Addiction Counselors Association, Accessed July 23, 2014, https://gaca.org/certification/

Georgia State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2013/may/oes_ga.htm

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 Counseling, Mercer University, Accessed July 23, 2014, http://penfield.mercer.edu/programs/certificate-programs/substance-abuse-counseling/

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

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