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

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for substance abuse specialists in the McAllen, Texas area. Currently, 3,010 people work as substance abuse specialists in Texas. This is expected to grow 35% to 4,060 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.

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. Earnings for substance abuse specialists are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Counseling and Therapy in Texas and not quite as good as general Counseling and Therapy category earnings nationally. Jobs in this field include: adolescent substance abuse program coordinator, group counselor, and certified alcohol counselor.

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

The University of Texas-Pan American - Edinburg, TX

The University of Texas-Pan American, 1201 W University Dr, Edinburg, TX 78539-2999. The University of Texas-Pan American is a large university located in Edinburg, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 17,584 students and an admission rate of 64%. The University of Texas-Pan American has a bachelor's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling.

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: McAllen, Texas

McAllen, Texas
McAllen, Texas photo by L1CENSET0K1LL

Mcallen is located in Hidalgo County, Texas. It has a population of over 129,776, which has grown by 22.0% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Mcallen, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Mcallen cost $174,400 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, five hundred seventy-three new homes were constructed in Mcallen, down from seven hundred fifty-four the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Mcallen are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 23.6% of Mcallen residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.7%, is higher than the state average.

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

The percentage of Mcallen residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. Emmanuel Baptist Church, Family of Faith Fellowship Church and First Missionary Baptist Church are some of the churches located in Mcallen. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.

Mcallen is home to the Sam and Marjorie Miller House and the McAllen Memorial Library as well as Schupp Park and Archer Park. Shopping centers in the area include Las Tiendas Plaza Shopping Center and La Plaza Shopping Center.