When you become a certified addiction counselor (CAC), this enables you to help people abstain from addiction and other destructive behaviors. Whether you have experienced addiction in your own life, you must be aware that individuals who struggle with substance abuse need the assistance of a caring, compassionate professional. It is also important to create an environment free of judgment and be able to assert yourself when necessary.
If you are interested in becoming an addiction counselor, this article will detail the benefits of this profession and the path you must pursue licensure and certification.
Benefits Of Being An Addiction Counselor
Being a CAC is a rewarding job, as you will help people overcome their addiction and break free of their destructive habits. It will be easy to find work, as addiction counselors are currently in high demand. Additionally, if you are certified in one state, it will still be easy to find work in another state. If you are looking for an exciting opportunity and not another desk job, your days at work will never be predictable, as each client will bring their own problems and personalities to the table. Counseling gives you an opportunity to learn every day, from your clients and from your training programs, and it will help you grow as an individual.
As a counselor, you will have a broad range of responsibilities, from one-on-one counseling where you explore your client’s behaviors and triggers to relapse prevention where you teach your client new strategies to overcome challenges and prevent relapse. If you wish to pursue this career path, you will be successful if you have the following traits:
- An open mind that is always willing to learn new things
- Kindness, compassion, and a non-judgmental personality
- Problem-solving skills
- Time management skills
- Strong communication skills
- Strong, assertive personality
- Ability to work in a fast-paced environment
In Colorado, there are four levels of certification. Three are at the certification level and one is at the licensed level. These are:
- Colorado Addiction Counselor I (CAC-I)
- Colorado Addiction Counselor II (CAC-II)
- Colorado Addiction Counselor III (CAC-I)
- Licensed Addiction Counselor (LAC)
Before becoming a counselor, you will need to undergo specialized training, which varies depending on the level of certification you wish to achieve. At Colorado Counselor Training, we offer the required courses to become a certified addiction technician (CAT), certified addiction specialist (CAS), and licensed addiction counselor. Many individuals who receive the first level of training enjoy studying human behavior and go on to pursue additional certifications. Oftentimes, they receive licensure.
To become certified for Colorado addiction counselor I, you will undergo the most minimum requirements of all levels. In Colorado, certification for the first level involves:
- 21 hours of addiction treatment principles
- 21 hours of addiction counseling skills
- 14 hours in each of the following:
- Client record management
- Infectious diseases in addiction treatment
- Culturally informed treatment
- Professional ethics I
- Pharmacology I
You must also have 1,000 hours of relevant work experience completed in at least six months. To acquire this experience, you should complete three of the following:
- Service coordination
- Administrative intake
- Administrative discharge/ discharge planning
- Record keeping
- Education (client, family, community)
To begin the first level of this rewarding career, you do not need a degree to become a counselor, but you will need a high school diploma or GED. Additionally, you must undergo the necessary training, supervision, and relevant work experience for licensure and certification.
This is a fulfilling career with a lot of potential for growth. Again, many individuals who pursue the first level continue their education because they are passionate about the work involved. Addiction counselor training can be demanding, but the good news is you will quickly obtain certification.
Contact Colorado Counselor Training
At Colorado Counselor Training, it is our mission to help you grow and develop as an addiction counselor. We provide effective, affordable, and accessible training that can be completed online or in person. By the end of your course, you will have the necessary skills to interact with and help clients who struggle with addiction and substance abuse. To become a certified addiction counselor, contact us today. Call 970.409.4542 for more information.