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Career and Education Opportunities for Substance Abuse Specialists in Overland Park, Kansas

Substance abuse specialists can find many career and educational opportunities in the Overland Park, Kansas area. The national trend for substance abuse specialists sees this job pool growing by about 21.0% over the next eight years. 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 about $15 hourly or $31,880 per year on average in Kansas and about $17 hourly or $37,030 per year on average nationally. Incomes for substance abuse specialists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy in Kansas, and not quite as good as the overall Counseling and Therapy category nationally. Jobs in this field include: drug abuse counselor, mental health therapist, and social worker.

There are sixty-one schools of higher education in the Overland Park area, including one within twenty-five miles of Overland Park 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 it will take about six years to learn to be 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 Overland Park 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.
  • Health Education Specialist. Promote, maintain, and improve individual and community health by assisting individuals and communities to adopt healthy behaviors. Collect and analyze data to identify community needs prior to planning, implementing, and evaluating programs designed to encourage healthy lifestyles, policies and environments. May also serve as a resource to assist individuals, other professionals, or the community, and may administer fiscal resources for health education programs.
  • 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

Kansas City Kansas Community College - Kansas City, KS

Kansas City Kansas Community College, 7250 State Ave, Kansas City, KS 66112. Kansas City Kansas Community College is a medium sized college located in Kansas City, Kansas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,800 students. Kansas City Kansas Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated zero and five students respectively 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.


Overland Park, Kansas
Overland Park, Kansas photo by Americasroof

Overland Park is located in Johnson County, Kansas. It has a population of over 171,231, which has grown by 14.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Overland Park, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Overland Park are valued at $408,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, one hundred sixty-four new homes were constructed in Overland Park, down from three hundred fifty-four the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Overland Park are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, finance and insurance, and broadcasting and telecommunications. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 52.1% of Overland Park residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Overland Park is 6.7%, which is greater than Kansas's average of 6.3%.

The percentage of Overland Park residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Christ Church, Adventist Church and Atonement Church are among the churches located in Overland Park. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Overland Park is home to the Windmill Square and the Westbrook Country Club. Shopping centers in the area include Cherokee Hills Shopping Center, Cherokee South Shopping Center and Trail West Shopping Center. Visitors to Overland Park can choose from Hampton Inn Overland Park- KS, Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites and Pear Tree Inn by Drury for temporary stays in the area.