What You Should Know About This Degree
Working with individuals who are dealing with substance abuse disorders or other addictions is a rewarding but often challenging field. Addictions and recovery counselors work with vulnerable populations who may be coping with other issues besides addiction. Counselors must be compassionate, patient, and empathetic. They must also be prepared to deal with mental, emotional, and sometimes physical demands on the job. Before pursuing a career in addictions and recovery, consider your natural aptitudes and personality to determine if you have the right qualities for the job.
There are two types of professional credentialing available to addictions and recovery counselors – the Licensed Alcohol Drug Abuse Counselor (LADC) and the Certified Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor (CADC). The LADC is regulated and awarded at the state level, while the CADC is a nationally transferable credential. The two types of credentials also have different education requirements. An advanced degree is required to be eligible for the CADC, while the educational requirements for the LADC tend to be less stringent, although they do vary by state.
It’s important to review your state’s requirements for credentialing, so you can be sure to select a program that will lead to licensure or certification. Most addictions and recovery jobs seek employees who have their credentials, or are eligible for credentials.
You can ask the following questions when reviewing online master’s in addiction and recovery programs:
- Are there in-person requirements for this program? As a human services field, part of learning how to be an addictions and recovery counselor involves working with people. Most master’s programs have clinical requirements in which students gain hands-on experience in an addictions and recovery setting. When researching programs, find out what these requirements are, and when you are expected to complete them, so you can plan to accommodate them in your schedule.
- Does this program offer training in additional types of counseling? Some programs focus specifically on addictions and recovery counseling, while others include coursework related to mental health or rehabilitation counseling. You’re personal and professional interests will guide what type of program you are seeking. Individuals who have educational experience in mental health or rehabilitation counseling may have a wider range of job opportunities post-graduation.
During the research process, you should also review the program’s admissions deadlines, and start collecting your application materials.
Now is also a good time to research options for funding your graduate degree, including loans, institutional and private scholarships, assistantships, and employer tuition benefits, if you are currently employed.