Substance Abuse Counselor Training in Virginia

Substance abuse counselors work with individuals who suffer from alcoholism, drug addiction and other maladaptive relationships with intoxicating substances. Although the steps on the road to each effective treatment may vary, there are some general tasks that substance abuse counselors perform:

  • Conducting assessments of clients' health, well-being and treatment readiness
  • Educating clients and families about treatment goals and coping strategies
  • Helping clients identify environments or patterns of behavior that might inhibit recovery
  • Introducing clients to community resources like support groups and job placement services

Numerous options for specialization exist at Virginia substance abuse counseling schools. The duties of substance abuse counselors can also depend on whether or not they've chosen to guide their training toward a certain at-risk population, like teenagers or military veterans, or a particular high-demand industry such as criminal justice.

Subjects studied during substance abuse counselor training in Virginia

Depending on the position, prospective substance abuse counselors may need anywhere from a high school diploma all the way up to a master's degree. Positions that require more education typically provide a wider range of services and require less supervision. Substance abuse counselor schools in Virginia each set their own curriculum, but there are some core concepts that most students will study:

  • Counseling psychology
  • Treatment systems
  • Psychoactive pharmacology
  • Intervention techniques
  • Counseling techniques
  • Group dynamics
  • Addiction and prevention
  • Case management

Students with busy family lives or professional schedules may also be able to undergo much of their substance abuse counselor training online. It may be difficult to find fully online substance abuse counselor training in Virginia, since internships or other fieldwork components are typically required.

Licensing and certification for Virginia substance abuse counselors

The Virginia Board of Counseling oversees licensure and certification of substance abuse counselors in Virginia. All counselors with a private practice must be licensed, and those who work within an organization can also benefit from state-sanctioned professional certification.

Here's a list of the credentials that the Virginia Board of Counseling provides for qualified candidates:

  • Certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CSAC)
  • Certified Substance Abuse Counselor Assistant (CSAC-A)
  • Licensed Substance Abuse Treatment Practitioner (LSATP)
  • Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC)
  • Certified Rehabilitation Provider (CRP)

Each individual license or certification comes with its own prerequisite amounts of education and experience, and most candidates must pass the appropriate exam and pay all associated fees before the credential can be awarded. Some licenses also come with a continuing education requirement, which may include such activities as attending workshops and conferences, publishing books or research and completing additional academic work at the university level.

Virginia substance abuse counselor salary information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS.gov) projects much faster than average job growth among substance abuse counselors between 2012 and 2022, with a 31 percent employment increase expected nationwide. An earlier survey conducted by the Virginia Employment Commission and released through the U.S. Department of Labor's CareerOneStop information portal predicted 25 percent in-state job growth between 2010 and 2020.

BLS figures indicate a mean annual wage of $46,650 among substance abuse counselors in Virginia in 2013, which is substantially higher than the same year's national mean annual salary of $41,090. The metropolitan area around Arlington County, which includes neighboring Alexandria and Washington, D.C, paid substance abuse counselors a mean annual wage of $52,460 in 2013.


Applications and Instructions, Virginia Board of Counseling, http://www.dhp.virginia.gov/counseling/counseling_forms.htm

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

Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2014-15 Edition, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm#tab-6

Substance Abuse Certificate Program, Northern Virginia Community College, http://www.nvcc.edu/campuses-and-centers/alexandria/academic-divisions/libarts/substance.html

Substance Abuse Counseling Education, Career Studies Certificate, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, http://www.reynolds.edu/curriculum/Substance_Abuse_Counseling_EducationCSC_480-30.aspx

Substance Abuse Counselor Schools

Refine School Matches
Hide filters

    See More


    See More



    Please enter valid US or Canada Zip.
            Results open in new window

            Searching Searching ...

            Matching School Ads
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            5 Program(s) Found
            • 95% alumni satisfaction rate.
            • Currently holds more than 500 professional alliances, including 19 of the top Fortune 100 companies.
            • Courses are taught by expert faculty, with 86% of professors possessing a doctoral degree.
            • Offers credit for prior experience and learning, as well as scholarships, accelerated programs, and several other ways to help reduce tuition costs.
            • Regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA).
            Show more [+]
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Designated a 2015 Military Friendly School by Victory Media for the 4th consecutive year.
            • Listed on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll in 2013, for the sixth consecutive year
            • Links students to hundreds of training opportunities (beyond their traditional internships and practicum) at their many “partner agencies” in each of their local communities.
            • Accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WUSCUC).
            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            3 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among top Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Ranked 37th among the Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News and World Report in 2015.
            • Stands as the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation with 100,000+ students.
            • Offers over 230 programs online, from the certificate to the doctoral level.
            • Has a student-faculty ratio of 25:1, and 42.3% of its classes have fewer than 20 students.
            Show more [+]
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Why Earn Your Degree from GCU?
            • Options: Choose from a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Business, Nursing, Psychology, Education & more!
            • Convenience: Complete courses online, on campus, or a combination of both!
            • Earlier Graduation: Our 4-credit courses allow you to complete your degree program in less time.
            • Transfer Friendly: We will request your transcripts, evaluate your graduate coursework, and determine your anticipated graduation date within 24 hours.
            • Quality: Grand Canyon University was founded in 1949 and is regionally accredited. Learn more today!
            Good for Working Adults
            • Accredited
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Accelerated Programs
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits