Substance Abuse Counselor Schools in Maryland

Substance abuse and behavioral counselors help people suffering from addictions to drugs and alcohol and other behavioral problems such as gambling or anorexia. Substance abuse counselors provide counseling to individuals and to groups in treatment centers and rehabilitation institutes. Many counselors also work with families of addicts to help provide a strong support system once addicts leave treatment centers.

Substance abuse counselor training in Maryland

Several Maryland universities and community colleges offer courses in chemical dependency counseling. Degree options range from associate to doctoral degrees. Typical coursework may include study in:

  • Effects of alcohol and other drugs
  • Individual counseling techniques
  • Family counseling
  • Theories of counseling
  • Ethics in chemical dependency counseling
  • Principles of human growth and development

Coursework varies by institution but typically focuses on these and similar principles. Degree programs are designed to prepare students to work in a wide range of chemical dependency counseling settings, including residential and outpatient programs. Many programs also have an internship component where students spend time working in facilities and providing chemical dependency counseling to patients.

Maryland substance abuse counselor certification and licensure

The Maryland Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists, a division of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, is responsible for licensing professional substance abuse counselors in the state.

Requirements to practice as a certified associate counselor -- alcohol and drug are as follows:

  • A bachelor's degree
  • No less than three years of work experience, with 2,000 hours minimum experience working under direct supervision of a licensed substance abuse supervisor
  • More than three-quarters of that work history must be completed after earning a college degree

Requirements to work as a certified supervised counselor -- alcohol and drug, include:

  • An associate degree
  • Minimum 2,000 hours of supervised clinical work experience, including 1,000 hours completed after earning a college degree.

Substance abuse counselors working in private practice must have a minimum of a master's degree and between 2,000 and 4,000 hours of supervised clinical work history, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) reports. Private-practice substance abuse counselors also must pass a state licensure exam and complete yearly continuing education classes.

Students can learn more about substance abuse counselor licensing requirements in Maryland by contacting the Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists.

Maryland substance abuse counselor salaries and career outlook

According to the BLS, there were 2,040 substance abuse counselors working in Maryland in May of 2013. The national median annual wage for the profession was $38,620, while substance abuse counselors in Maryland earned more with a mean annual wage of $42,380. The majority of Maryland substance abuse counselors work in the Baltimore-Towson metropolitan area and earn wages of $41,100 per year, the BLS reports.

National job growth in the field is expected to increase by 31 percent, or 117,700 new jobs, from 2012 through 2022, the BLS says. According to Projections Central, state occupation in the field should grow by 170 new positions in that same time frame, with a projected 60 average annual job openings.

Demand for addiction treatment services is expected to be spurred by more insurers covering treatment costs. Many substance abuse counselors work in outpatient treatment centers, but a large portion also are employed at private and state-run substance abuse and mental health facilities.


Chemical Dependency Counseling, The Community College of Baltimore County, Associate of Applied Science (AAS), 2009-2010, http://www.ccbcmd.edu/catalog10/programs/cmdp_degree.html

Substance Abuse Counselors, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wages, 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 Counselors, Projections Central, Long Term Occupational Projections, Maryland, 2011-2022, http://www.projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm

Supervision Requirements for Licensed Graduate Alcohol and Drug Counselors and Graduate-Level Trainees, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Board of Professional Counselors and Therapists, November 1, 2013, http://dhmh.maryland.gov/bopc/pdfs/SupervisonRequirementsLGADCandMastersLevelTrainees2013.pdf

Substance Abuse Counselor Schools

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