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Career and Education Opportunities for Substance Abuse Specialists in Irvine, California

Irvine, California provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for substance abuse specialists. Currently, 9,600 people work as substance abuse specialists in California. This is expected to grow by 35% to 13,000 people by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for substance abuse specialists are expected to grow by about 21.0%. In general, substance abuse specialists counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders.

Substance abuse specialists earn approximately $15 per hour or $32,660 per year on average in California. Nationally they average about $17 per hour or $37,030 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy, people working as substance abuse specialists in California earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy nationally. Substance abuse specialists work in a variety of jobs, including: behavioral specialist, group counselor, and certified abuse and drug addiction counselor.

There are seven schools within twenty-five miles of Irvine where you can study to be a substance abuse specialist, among 112 schools of higher education total in the Irvine area. Given that the most common education level for substance abuse specialists is a Master's degree, you can expect to spend about six years studying to be a substance abuse specialist if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years starting with a Bachelor's degree.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Substance Abuse Specialist

Substance Abuse Specialist video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, substance abuse specialists counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. They also may counsel individuals, families, or groups or engage in prevention programs.

Substance abuse specialists attend training sessions to increase knowledge and skills. They also participate in case conferences and staff meetings. Equally important, substance abuse specialists have to furnish clients or family members with data related to addiction issues and about available services and programs, making appropriate referrals when needed. They are often called upon to counsel clients and patients, individually and in group sessions, to help in overcoming dependencies, adjusting to life, and making changes. They are expected to intervene as an advocate for clients or patients to deal with emergency problems in crisis situations. Finally, substance abuse specialists direct efforts with courts, probation officers, community services and other post-treatment agencies.

Every day, substance abuse specialists are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

It is important for substance abuse specialists to act as liaisons between clients and medical staff. They are often called upon to conduct chemical dependency program orientation sessions. They also formulate and implement follow-up and aftercare programs for clients to be discharged from treatment programs. They are sometimes expected to instruct others in program methods and functions. Somewhat less frequently, substance abuse specialists are also expected to participate in case conferences and staff meetings.

and complete and maintain accurate records and reports regarding the patients' histories and progress and other required data. And finally, they sometimes have to direct efforts with courts, probation officers, community services and other post-treatment agencies.

Like many other jobs, substance abuse specialists must have exceptional integrity and have a strong concern for others.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Irvine include:

  • Career Advisor. Counsel individuals and provide group educational and vocational guidance services.
  • Child and Family Services Worker. Provide social services and assistance to improve the social and psychological functioning of children and their families and to maximize the family well-being and the academic functioning of children. May assist single parents, arrange adoptions, and find foster homes for abandoned or abused children. In schools, they address such problems as teenage pregnancy, misbehavior, and truancy. May also advise teachers on how to deal with problem children.
  • Marriage and Family Therapist. Diagnose and treat mental and emotional disorders, whether cognitive, or behavioral, within the context of marriage and family systems. Apply psychotherapeutic and family systems theories and techniques in the delivery of professional services to individuals, couples, and families for the purpose of treating such diagnosed nervous and mental disorders.
  • Mental Health Counselor. Counsel with emphasis on prevention. Work with individuals and groups to promote optimum mental health. May help individuals deal with addictions and substance abuse; family, parenting, and marital problems; suicide; stress management; problems with self-esteem; and issues associated with aging and mental and emotional health.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Substance Abuse Specialist Training

Intercoast Colleges - Carson, CA

Intercoast Colleges, One Civic Plaza-Ste 110, Carson, CA 90745. Intercoast Colleges is a small college located in Carson, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 143 students. Intercoast Colleges has a one to two year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated fifty-four students in 2008.

Long Beach City College - Long Beach, CA

Long Beach City College, 4901 E. Carson St., Long Beach, CA 90808-1706. Long Beach City College is a large college located in Long Beach, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,097 students. Long Beach City College has less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated twenty-three, twenty-eight, two, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Intercoast Colleges - Orange, CA

Intercoast Colleges, 3745 W. Chapman Avenue #100, Orange, CA 92868. Intercoast Colleges is a small college located in Orange, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 93 students. Intercoast Colleges has a one to two year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated forty-six students in 2008.

Cypress College - Cypress, CA

Cypress College, 9200 Valley View, Cypress, CA 90630-5897. Cypress College is a large college located in Cypress, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,990 students. Cypress College has a one to two year and a two to four year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated twenty-one and zero students respectively in 2008.

Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science - Los Angeles, CA

Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, 1731 E 120th St, Los Angeles, CA 90059. Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science is a small university located in Los Angeles, California. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 249 students. Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated one and one students respectively in 2008.

Saddleback College - Mission Viejo, CA

Saddleback College, 28000 Marguerite Pky, Mission Viejo, CA 92692-3635. Saddleback College is a large college located in Mission Viejo, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,706 students. Saddleback College has one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated seventeen, two, and zero students respectively in 2008.

Rio Hondo College - Whittier, CA

Rio Hondo College, 3600 Workman Mill Rd, Whittier, CA 90601-1616. Rio Hondo College is a large college located in Whittier, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,505 students. Rio Hondo College has less than one year, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year programs in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated nine, nine, four, and zero students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Distance Credentialed counselor: A Distance Credentialed Counselor (DCC) will be nationally recognized as a professional with training in best practices in Distance Counseling.

For more information, see the Center for Credentialing & Education, Inc. website.

Certified AODA Counselor: Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse Counselor is one of the five reciprocal certifications offered through IC&RC.

For more information, see the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse, Inc. website.

ServSafe Alcohol: The ServSafe Alcohol program outlines effective responsible alcohol service practices for all front-of-the-house staff, including bartenders, waiters, hosts, busers, security and valets.

For more information, see the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Irvine, California

Irvine, California
Irvine, California photo by SoCal L.A.

Irvine is situated in Orange County, California. It has a population of over 207,500, which has grown by 45.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Irvine, 136, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Irvine are valued at $283,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, one hundred twenty-five new homes were built in Irvine, down from two hundred twenty-nine the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Irvine are educational services, professional, scientific, and technical services, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and computer and electronic products. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 58.4% of Irvine residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 24.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Irvine is 7.3%, which is less than California's average of 12.3%.

The percentage of Irvine residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.8%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Charismatic Churches Independent.

Irvine is home to the International Raceway and the Heritage Park Library as well as Heritage Park and Alderwood Park. Shopping centers in the area include Heritage Plaza Shopping Center, Alton Square Shopping Center and Arbor Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Irvine can choose from Atrium Hotel At Orange County Airport and Amerilodge Electronics for temporary stays in the area.