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

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for substance abuse specialists in the Killeen, Texas area. About 3,010 people are currently employed as substance abuse specialists in Texas. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 35% to about 4,060 people employed. 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.

Substance abuse specialists earn approximately $16 hourly or $33,350 per year on average in Texas. Nationally they average about $17 hourly or $37,030 yearly. Substance abuse specialists earn less than people working in the category of Counseling and Therapy generally in Texas and less than people in the Counseling and Therapy category nationally. Substance abuse specialists work in a variety of jobs, including: chemical dependency counselor , quitline counselor, and alcohol and drug counselor.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Killeen where you can study to be a substance abuse specialist, among six schools of higher education total in the Killeen area. Substance abuse specialists usually hold a Master's degree, so 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 Killeen 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

Central Texas College - Killeen, TX

Central Texas College, 6200 West Central Texas Expressway, Killeen, TX 76540-1800. Central Texas College is a large college located in Killeen, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 23,736 students. Central Texas College has 2 areas of study related to Substance Abuse Specialist. They are:

  • Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling, less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree.
  • Clinical/Medical Social Work, less than one year and associate's degree which graduated four and sixteen students respectively in 2008.


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.



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


Killeen, Texas
Killeen, Texas photo by Ed Schipul

Killeen is situated in Bell County, Texas. It has a population of over 116,934, which has grown by 34.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Killeen, 80, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Killeen are valued at $121,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, eight hundred fifty-five new homes were built in Killeen, down from 1,278 the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Killeen are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is public administration, construction, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 22 minutes. More than 15.7% of Killeen residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 3.4%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Killeen is 7.4%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.

The percentage of Killeen residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 47.9%, is less than both the national and state average. Abiding Savior Lutheran Church, Power House Church of God in Christ and Primera Iglesia Bautista Church are all churches located in Killeen. The most common religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Killeen is home to Long Branch Park and Long Branch Park. Visitors to Killeen can choose from Best Western Killeen, Comfort Inn and Best Value Inn & Suites for temporary stays in the area.