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Career and Education Opportunities for Substance Abuse Specialists in Cary, North Carolina

There are many career and education opportunities for substance abuse specialists in the Cary, North Carolina area. There are currently 1,160 jobs for substance abuse specialists in North Carolina and this is projected to grow 48% to 1,720 jobs 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.

Income for substance abuse specialists is about $18 hourly or $39,210 per year on average in North Carolina. Nationally, their income is about $17 hourly or $37,030 annually. Earnings for substance abuse specialists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Counseling and Therapy in North Carolina and not quite as good as general Counseling and Therapy category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: behavior therapist, domestic violence advocate, and psychiatric social worker.

There are twenty-seven schools of higher education in the Cary area, including one within twenty-five miles of Cary 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. 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 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 Cary 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

Wake Technical Community College - Raleigh, NC

Wake Technical Community College, 9101 Fayetteville Road, Raleigh, NC 27603-5696. Wake Technical Community College is a large college located in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,839 students. Wake Technical Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated two and six 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.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Cary, North Carolina

Cary, North Carolina
Cary, North Carolina photo by Erich_Fabricius

Cary is situated in Wake County, North Carolina. It has a population of over 129,545, which has grown by 37.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Cary, 86, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Cary are priced at $204,400 on average, which is well above the state average. In 2008, 1,313 new homes were built in Cary, down from 2,326 the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Cary are professional, scientific, and technical services, educational services, and health care. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, computer and electronic products, and construction. The average commute to work is about 23 minutes. More than 60.7% of Cary residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 23.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Cary is 6.2%, which is less than North Carolina's average of 10.6%.

The percentage of Cary residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 43.8%, is less than both the national and state average. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Cary is home to Hemlock Bluffs State Natural Area and Regency Park. Visitors to Cary can choose from Hampton Inn Cary, Embassy Suites Hotel Raleigh-Durham and Hampton Inn & Suites for temporary stays in the area.