Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors


Salary Median (2020)


Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)

+24.7% (much faster than the average)


What Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors Do

Counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, drug, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. May counsel individuals, families, or groups or engage in prevention programs.

Other Job Titles Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors May Have

Addictions Counselor, Case Manager, Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADAC), Chemical Dependency Counselor (CD Counselor), Chemical Dependency Professional, Clinical Counselor, Counselor, Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist (DATS), Prevention Specialist, Substance Abuse Counselor (SA Counselor)

How Leaders Describe a Typical Day at Work

Executive Director of Integrated Care ,

Pinnacle Peak Recovery

I start my day with a conference call with the providers and front desk staff. We review the schedule of patients coming in that day and highlight any patients that we'll need to spend more time with. I make sure providers are spending adequate time with clients throughout the day. I also see to any operational issues—usually regarding timing and the flow of our clinic. At the end of my day, I spend time on chart audits and reporting. I'll highlight issues that we need to address the next day.

Peer Support Counselor ,

The Family Support Center

My day revolves around guiding both court-mandated and private individuals. I particularly enjoy connecting with adolescent clients. I focus on teaching healthy boundaries, emphasizing respect and effective communication. Each client's uniqueness brings a variety of goals and unexpected crises, making my schedule unpredictable yet deeply rewarding. It's about adapting, problem-solving, and staying centered on treatment goals amidst the ebb and flow of each day's challenges.

Tasks & Responsibilities May Include

  • Complete and maintain accurate records or reports regarding the patients' histories and progress, services provided, or other required information.
  • Counsel clients or patients, individually or in group sessions, to assist in overcoming dependencies, adjusting to life, or making changes.
  • Assess individuals' degree of drug dependency by collecting and analyzing urine samples.
  • Follow progress of discharged patients to determine effectiveness of treatments.
  • Conduct chemical dependency program orientation sessions.

This page includes information from theO*NET 26.1 Databaseby the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under theCC BY 4.0license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA.