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Career and Education Opportunities for Substance Abuse Specialists in Amarillo, Texas

If you want to be a substance abuse specialist, the Amarillo, Texas area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 3,010 jobs for substance abuse specialists in Texas and this is projected to grow by 35% to 4,060 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.

The income of a substance abuse specialist is about $16 hourly or $33,350 per year on average in Texas. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $17 hourly or $37,030 per year on average. Compared with people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy, people working as substance abuse specialists in Texas earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy nationally. Substance abuse specialists work in a variety of jobs, including: treatment coordinator, chemical dependency professional, and certified addictions counselor.

There are six schools of higher education in the Amarillo area, including one within twenty-five miles of Amarillo 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, 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 Amarillo 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.
  • 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

Amarillo College - Amarillo, TX

Amarillo College, 2011 S. Washington, Amarillo, TX 79109. Amarillo College is a large college located in Amarillo, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 10,118 students. Amarillo College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated three and five 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, CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY

Licensing agency: Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Address: 9001 IH 35 North, Suite 105, Austin, TX 78753

Phone: (800) 832-9623
Website: Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse

LOCATION INFORMATION: Amarillo, Texas

Amarillo, Texas
Amarillo, Texas photo by Anonymous Cow

Amarillo is situated in Potter County, Texas. It has a population of over 187,236, which has grown by 7.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Amarillo, 79, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Amarillo are priced at $245,400 on average, which is far greater than the state average. In 2008, four hundred seventy-one new homes were constructed in Amarillo, down from six hundred forty-eight the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Amarillo are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and food. The average commute to work is about 17 minutes. More than 20.5% of Amarillo residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.8%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Amarillo is 5.4%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Amarillo residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 86.4%, is more than both the national and state average. Pentecostal Church of God, Pentecostal Church of God in Christ and Pentecostal Holiness Church are among the churches located in Amarillo. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Amarillo is home to the Amarillo Globe Dream House and the Wolflin Historic District as well as Martin Road Park and Will Rogers Park. Shopping malls in the area include Western Plaza Shopping Center and Westgate Shopping Center. Visitors to Amarillo can choose from 3B Machine & Custom Fabrication, Bailey's Lounge and Comfort Inn Airport for temporary stays in the area.