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Career and Education Opportunities for Substance Abuse Specialists in Columbia, Maryland

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for substance abuse specialists in the Columbia, Maryland area. Currently, 1,970 people work as substance abuse specialists in Maryland. This is expected to grow 29% to about 2,540 people by 2016. 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.

Substance abuse specialists earn approximately $18 hourly or $38,630 yearly on average in Maryland. Nationally they average about $17 per hour or $37,030 yearly. Earnings for substance abuse specialists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Counseling and Therapy in Maryland and not quite as good as general Counseling and Therapy category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: clinical director, addiction therapist, and therapist.

There are nine schools within twenty-five miles of Columbia where you can study to be a substance abuse specialist, among 109 schools of higher education total in the Columbia area. The most common level of education 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 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 Columbia 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.
  • 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

The Community College of Baltimore County - Baltimore, MD

The Community College of Baltimore County, 7201 Rossville Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21237. The Community College of Baltimore County is a large college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 20,673 students. The Community College of Baltimore County has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated four and fifteen students respectively in 2008.

Columbia Union College - Takoma Park, MD

Columbia Union College, 7600 Flower Ave, Takoma Park, MD 20912. Columbia Union College is a small college located in Takoma Park, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 974 students. Columbia Union College has a two to four year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling.

Baltimore City Community College - Baltimore, MD

Baltimore City Community College, 2901 Liberty Hts Ave, Baltimore, MD 21215-7893. Baltimore City Community College is a medium sized college located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,884 students. Baltimore City Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties which graduated twenty-five and thirty-five students respectively in 2008.

Johns Hopkins University - Baltimore, MD

Johns Hopkins University, 3400 N Charles St, Mason Hall, Baltimore, MD 21218-2688. Johns Hopkins University is a large university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,049 students and an admission rate of 26%. Johns Hopkins University has a master's degree and a doctor's degree program in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties which graduated seventeen and four students respectively in 2008.

Coppin State University - Baltimore, MD

Coppin State University, 2500 West North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21216-3698. Coppin State University is a small university located in Baltimore, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 4,051 students and an admission rate of 36%. Coppin State University has a master's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated four students in 2008.

Marymount University - Arlington, VA

Marymount University, 2807 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22207-4299. Marymount University is a small university located in Arlington, Virginia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 3,541 students and an admission rate of 84%. Marymount University has a bachelor's degree program in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties which graduated one student in 2008.

Carroll Community College - Westminster, MD

Carroll Community College, 1601 Washington Rd, Westminster, MD 21157. Carroll Community College is a small college located in Westminster, Maryland. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,453 students. Carroll Community College has a one to two year program in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties.

Northern Virginia Community College - Annandale, VA

Northern Virginia Community College, 4001 Wakefield Chapel Rd, Annandale, VA 22003-3796. Northern Virginia Community College is a large college located in Annandale, Virginia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 41,870 students. Northern Virginia Community College has 2 areas of study related to Substance Abuse Specialist. They are:

  • Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling, one to two year which graduated 1 student in 2008.
  • Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated 225 and one students respectively in 2008.

Gallaudet University - Washington, DC

Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave, NE, Washington, DC 20002-3695. Gallaudet University is a small university located in Washington, District of Columbia. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 1,389 students and an admission rate of 64%. Gallaudet University has a master's degree program in Mental & Social Health Services & Allied Professions, Other Specialties.

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

CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY COUNSELOR

Licensing agency: Maryland State Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene
Address: Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors, 4201 Patterson Ave, Baltimore, MD 21215

Phone: (410) 764-4732
Website: Maryland State Dept. of Health & Mental Hygiene Board of Examiners of Professional Counselors

LOCATION INFORMATION: Columbia, Maryland

Columbia, Maryland
Columbia, Maryland photo by Jeff Kubina

Columbia is located in Howard County, Maryland. It has a population of over 96,421. The cost of living index in Columbia, 100, is near the national average.

The three most popular industries for women in Columbia are educational services, health care, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, public administration, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 30 minutes. More than 59.0% of Columbia residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 28.7%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of Columbia residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 49.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Atholton Seventh Day Adventist Church and Long Reach Interfaith Center are all churches located in Columbia. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Southern Baptist Convention.

Columbia is home to the Symphony Woods Office Center and the Rivers Corporate Park as well as Middle Patuxent Environmental Area and Clarksville Environmental Area. Shopping centers in the area include Governor Century Plaza Shopping Center, Atholton Shopping Center and Owen Brown Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Columbia can choose from PFMG, Courtyard by Marriott and Hilton Inn Columbia for temporary stays in the area.