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Career and Education Opportunities for Substance Abuse Specialists in Boise, Idaho

Boise, Idaho provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for substance abuse specialists. About 350 people are currently employed as substance abuse specialists in Idaho. By 2016, this is expected to grow 40% to 490 people employed. This is better than the national trend for substance abuse specialists, which sees this job pool growing by about 21.0% over the next eight years. Substance abuse specialists generally counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders.

A person working as a substance abuse specialist can expect to earn about $16 hourly or $35,140 yearly on average in Idaho and about $17 per hour or $37,030 annually on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy, people working as substance abuse specialists in Idaho 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: addiction counselor, behavioral specialist, and drug abuse technician.

There are eleven schools of higher education in the Boise area, including one within twenty-five miles of Boise where you can get a degree to start your career as a substance abuse specialist. The most common level of education for substance abuse specialists is a Master's degree. 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 Boise 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

Boise State University - Boise, ID

Boise State University, 1910 University Dr, Boise, ID 83725. Boise State University is a large university located in Boise, Idaho. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 19,667 students and an admission rate of 81%. Boise State University has a postbaccalaureate certificate program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated two students in 2008.


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.


Boise, Idaho
Boise, Idaho photo by Dmharris26

Boise is situated in Ada County, Idaho. It has a population of over 205,314, which has grown by 10.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Boise, 90, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Boise are priced at $245,800 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred eighty-three new homes were built in Boise, down from four hundred twenty-six the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Boise are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is computer and electronic products, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 18 minutes. More than 33.6% of Boise residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.6%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Boise is 9.2%, which is greater than Idaho's average of 8.3%.

The percentage of Boise residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.5%, is less than both the national and state average. The most common religious groups are the LDS (Mormon) Church, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.