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Career and Education Opportunities for Substance Abuse Specialists in Lincoln, Nebraska

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for substance abuse specialists in the Lincoln, Nebraska area. There are currently 560 working substance abuse specialists in Nebraska; this should grow by 33% to about 750 working substance abuse specialists in the state 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. In general, substance abuse specialists 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 $17 hourly or $37,040 annually on average in Nebraska and about $17 hourly or $37,030 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Incomes for substance abuse specialists are not quite as good as in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy in Nebraska, and not quite as good as the overall Counseling and Therapy category nationally. People working as substance abuse specialists can fill a number of jobs, such as: mental health therapist, drug counselor, and domestic violence counselor.

There are twenty-five schools of higher education in the Lincoln area, including two within twenty-five miles of Lincoln 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 Lincoln 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

Southeast Community College Area - Lincoln, NE

Southeast Community College Area, 301south 68th Street Place, Lincoln, NE 68510-2449. Southeast Community College Area is a large college located in Lincoln, Nebraska. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,557 students. Southeast Community College Area has an associate's degree program in Clinical/Medical Social Work which graduated fifty-three students in 2008.

Vatterott College-Spring Valley Campus - Omaha, NE

Vatterott College-Spring Valley Campus, 11818 I Street, Omaha, NE 68137. Vatterott College-Spring Valley Campus is a small college located in Omaha, Nebraska. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 329 students. Vatterott College-Spring Valley Campus has an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated 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: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
Address: Division of Public Health - Licensure Unit, PO Box 94986, 301 Centennial Mall South, Lincoln, NE 68509-4986

Phone: (402) 471-2117
Website: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Public Health - Licensure Unit

Certified Compulsive Gambling Counselor (CCGC)

Licensing agency: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
Address: Division of Behavioral Health, PO Box 95026, 301 Centennial Mall South, Lincoln, NE 68509-5026

Phone: (402) 471-7822
Website: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Division of Behavioral Health

LOCATION INFORMATION: Lincoln, Nebraska

Lincoln, Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska photo by Stack

Lincoln is situated in Lancaster County, Nebraska. It has a population of over 251,624, which has grown by 11.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Lincoln, 80, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Lincoln cost $170,100 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, five hundred thirty-nine new homes were constructed in Lincoln, down from eight hundred twenty-nine the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Lincoln are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, educational services, and public administration. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 33.3% of Lincoln residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 11.2%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Lincoln is 4.1%, which is less than Nebraska's average of 4.5%.

The percentage of Lincoln residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 45.4%, is less than both the national and state average. Saint John Baptist Church, Calvary Baptist Church and Calvary Lutheran Church are some of the churches located in Lincoln. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Methodist Church and the Lutheran Church.

Lincoln is home to the Cedars Home and the AGP Grain Cooperative Elevator as well as Abel Stadium and 40th and Highway 2 Park. Shopping malls in the area include Gateway Mall, Sutter Place Mall and Edgewood Shopping Center. Visitors to Lincoln can choose from Comfort Suites, Ramada Limited North and Quality Inn Airport for temporary stays in the area.