Substance Abuse Counselor Training in New York - NY

Substance abuse counselors in New York -- who often work in hospitals, government agencies, mental health clinics, detox facilities, halfway houses, and correctional facilities -- are responsible for treating those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol, as well as help the families of addicts cope with their loved one's condition and give them tips on how to contribute to the treatment program. The work duties of substance abuse counselors include conducting patient assessments, creating treatment plans, teaching patients how to modify their behaviors and identify things that can derail their recovery, and help patients find other services they may need, such as job placement and support groups.

In some cases, New York's substance abuse counselors work with specific kinds of patients, such as young people, veterans, people with disabilities, and convicts.

Substance abuse counselor degree programs in New York

In order to become a substance abuse counselor, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov), students usually complete at least an associate degree, and in many cases, they go on to earn a bachelor's degree or a graduate-level degree. Those who have completed a high school diploma can also enter the field, although they are likely to be required to complete job training that includes how to communicate with addicts and how to respond to an emergency situation.

The specific required courses of substance abuse counseling programs in New York vary from school to school, but generally, students can expect to study:

  • Alcohol, drugs and behavior
  • Introduction to substance abuse
  • Substance abuse treatment strategies
  • Social psychology
  • Assessments and substance abuse counseling
  • Ethics of substance abuse counseling
  • Sociology
  • Multicultural substance abuse counseling
  • Signs and symptoms of substance abuse
  • The effects of substance abuse on the family

In addition, students enrolled in a substance abuse counseling program in New York may be required to participate in an internship in order to get hands-on experience in the field.

Substance abuse counselor certifications and licensing rules in New York

Although the BLS reports that substance abuse counselors are not required to obtain a certification unless they are going into private practice, many of these professionals do earn a certification in order to sharpen their skills and advance in their careers.

Substance abuse counselors in New York can earn a certification called Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor, or CASAC, which has a number of requirements. Issued by the New York State Offices of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS), professionals who want to earn a CASAC must:

  • Earn a high school diploma
  • Work or live in New York State at least 51 percent of the time
  • Complete the state's training hours requirement, which is either 350 hours of educational training or 4,000 hours of work experience in the field plus 85 hours of education training
  • Pass the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC) examination

In addition, those who want to keep their skills current can renew their certification every three years. In order to renew a certification, New York requires that substance abuse counselors complete at least 60 hours of continuing education courses.

Career/salary overview for substance abuse counselors in New York

The BLS reports that the substance abuse counseling profession is on the rise. Between 2012 and 2022, the jobs for these professionals are expected to increase by 31 percent nationally, which is faster than the growth rate of most professions. The agency attributes the growth of the profession to several factors, including the demand for substance abuse counselors to work with drug offenders and the increase in people who now have access to health insurance. In New York, substance abuse counselors make an average of $20.48 per hour, or $43,680 annually.


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

Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counseling Program, Metropolitan College of New York, Accessed July 23, 2014, http://www.mcny.edu/human_serv/casac.php

Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) Credentialing Process, New York State Offices of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, Accessed July 23, 2014, https://www.oasas.ny.gov/sqa/credentialing/casacprocess.cfm

Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) Requirements, New York State Offices of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, Accessed July 23, 2014, https://www.oasas.ny.gov/sqa/credentialing/CASACreq.cfm

Government, Citizen Guide: New York State, Accessed July 23, 2014, http://www.nysegov.com/citguide.cfm?ques_id=398&

State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates New York, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/2013/may/oes_ny.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 Certificate Program, Mercy College, Accessed July 23, 2014, https://www.mercy.edu/academics/degrees-and-programs/certificate-programs/substance-abuse-counseling-certificate-program/

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

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