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Career and Education Opportunities for Substance Abuse Specialists in Aurora, Colorado

For those living in the Aurora, Colorado area, there are many career and education opportunities for substance abuse specialists. Currently, 890 people work as substance abuse specialists in Colorado. This is expected to grow 39% to 1,240 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%. Substance abuse specialists generally counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders.

Substance abuse specialists earn approximately $15 hourly or $32,750 yearly on average in Colorado. Nationally they average about $17 per hour or $37,030 per year. Earnings for substance abuse specialists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Counseling and Therapy in Colorado and not quite as good as general Counseling and Therapy category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: alcoholic counselor, outreach worker, and domestic violence advocate.

There are sixty-two schools of higher education in the Aurora area, including one within twenty-five miles of Aurora where you can get a degree to start your career as a substance abuse specialist. Substance abuse specialists usually hold a Master's degree, so you can expect to spend about six years training to become a substance abuse specialist if you already have a high school diploma, or just 2 years if you have 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 Aurora 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.
  • Social Services Assistant. Assist professionals from a wide variety of fields, such as psychology, rehabilitation, or social work, to provide client services, as well as support for families. May assist clients in identifying available benefits and social and community services and help clients obtain them. May assist social workers with developing, organizing, and conducting programs to prevent and resolve problems relevant to substance abuse, human relationships, or adult daycare.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Substance Abuse Specialist Training

University of Phoenix-Denver Campus - Lone Tree, CO

University of Phoenix-Denver Campus, 10004 Park Meadows Drive, Lone Tree, CO 80124-5453. University of Phoenix-Denver Campus is a small university located in Lone Tree, Colorado. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,957 students. University of Phoenix-Denver Campus has a master's degree program in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties which graduated twenty-seven students 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.

LICENSES

Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor

Licensing agency: Mental Health Board
Address: 1560 Broadway, Suite 1370, Denver, CO 80202

Phone: (303) 894-7748
Website: Mental Health Board

Certified Addiction Counselor 1

Licensing agency: Mental Health Licensing Section
Address: 1560 Broadway Suite 880, Denver, CO 80202

Phone: (303) 894-7766
Website: Mental Health Licensing Section

Certified Addiction Counselor 2

Licensing agency: Mental Health Licensing Section
Address: 1560 Broadway Suite 880, Denver, CO 80202

Phone: (303) 894-7766
Website: Mental Health Licensing Section

Certified Addiction Counselor 3

Licensing agency: Mental Health Licensing Section
Address: 1560 Broadway Suite 880, Denver, CO 80202

Phone: (303) 894-7766
Website: Mental Health Licensing Section

Licensed Professional Counselor

Licensing agency: Colorado State Board of Licensed Professional Counselors
Address: 1560 Broadway Ste 1370, Denver, CO 80202

Phone: (303) 894-7766
Website: Colorado State Board of Licensed Professional Counselors

LOCATION INFORMATION: Aurora, Colorado

Aurora, Colorado
Aurora, Colorado photo by Tom

Aurora is located in Adams County, Colorado. It has a population of over 319,057, which has grown by 15.4% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Aurora, 97, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Aurora are priced at $238,200 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, five hundred ten new homes were built in Aurora, down from 1,202 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Aurora are health care, finance and insurance, and educational services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 24.6% of Aurora residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Aurora is 8.2%, which is greater than Colorado's average of 6.6%.

The percentage of Aurora residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 30.4%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Lutheran Church.

Aurora is home to the Victory Grange and the Magee as well as Montview Park and Del Mar Park. Visitors to Aurora can choose from Corporate Housing Solutions, Comfort Inn-Airport and Denver Airport Marriott at Gateway Park for temporary stays in the area.