Popular Careers

Career Development

Career development resources for aspiring professionals.

Career Change Center

Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

Job Search Resources

Job search resources, websites, guides and directories for job seekers.


Career and Education Opportunities for Substance Abuse Specialists in New Orleans, Louisiana

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for substance abuse specialists in the New Orleans, Louisiana area. There are currently 810 jobs for substance abuse specialists in Louisiana and this is projected to grow by 38% to about 1,120 jobs 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.

Income for substance abuse specialists is about $17 per hour or $35,960 yearly on average in Louisiana. Nationally, their income is about $17 per hour or $37,030 per year. Substance abuse specialists earn less than people working in the category of Counseling and Therapy generally in Louisiana and less than people in the Counseling and Therapy category nationally. People working as substance abuse specialists can fill a number of jobs, such as: certified substance abuse counselor, drug counselor, and certified alcohol and drug counselor.

There are thirty-two schools of higher education in the New Orleans area, including one within twenty-five miles of New Orleans where you can get a degree to start your career as a substance abuse specialist. 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 New Orleans 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.
  • Rehabilitation Counselor. Counsel individuals to maximize the independence and employability of persons coping with personal, social, and vocational difficulties that result from birth defects, illness, or the stress of daily life. Coordinate activities for residents of care and treatment facilities. Assess client needs and design and implement rehabilitation programs that may include personal and vocational counseling, training, and job placement.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Substance Abuse Specialist Training

Southern University at New Orleans - New Orleans, LA

Southern University at New Orleans, 6801 Press Drive, New Orleans, LA 70126. Southern University at New Orleans is a small university located in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 3,105 students. Southern University at New Orleans has an associate's degree and a bachelor's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated sixteen and four 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.

LICENSES

Counselor, Substance Abuse

Licensing agency: LA State Board of Cert. for Substance Abuse Couns.
Address: 8738 Quarters Lake Rd., Baton Rouge, LA 70809-2194

Phone: (225) 922-7700
Website: LA State Board of Cert. for Substance Abuse Couns.

LOCATION INFORMATION: New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans, Louisiana photo by Krakers

New Orleans is located in Orleans Parish County, Louisiana. It has a population of over 311,853, which has shrunk by 35.7% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in New Orleans, 94, is below the national average. New single-family homes in New Orleans cost $139,700 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, eight hundred eighty-two new homes were built in New Orleans, down from 1,026 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in New Orleans are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 26 minutes. More than 25.8% of New Orleans residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.7%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in New Orleans is 9.8%, which is greater than Louisiana's average of 7.1%.

The percentage of New Orleans residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 44.1%, is less than both the national and state average. All Saints Catholic Church, Iglesia Bautista Getsemani and Mars Hill Missionary Baptist Church are among the churches located in New Orleans. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

New Orleans is home to the Keller Market and the New Orleans Country Club as well as Harris Playground and Hardin Playground. Shopping malls in the area include Carrollton Shopping Center, Read Boulevard Shopping Center and Read Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to New Orleans can choose from Rampart Street Connection, Lafitte Guest House and HAMPTON INN & SUITES CONV CTR for temporary stays in the area.