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

Substance abuse specialists can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Waco, 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 nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for substance abuse specialists are expected to grow by about 21.0%. 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 yearly on average in Texas. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $17 per hour or $37,030 annually 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: certified abuse and drug addiction counselor, case manager, and alcoholic counselor.

There is one school within twenty-five miles of Waco where you can study to be a substance abuse specialist, among seven schools of higher education total in the Waco area. 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 Waco include:

  • 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

McLennan Community College - Waco, TX

McLennan Community College, 1400 College Dr, Waco, TX 76708. McLennan Community College is a medium sized college located in Waco, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,887 students. McLennan Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated two and four 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: Waco, Texas

Waco, Texas
Waco, Texas photo by Aboxorocks

Waco is situated in Mclennan County, Texas. It has a population of over 124,009, which has grown by 9.0% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Waco, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Waco are valued at $144,900 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-eight new homes were built in Waco, down from five hundred fifty the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Waco are educational services, health care, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, educational services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 18 minutes. More than 18.6% of Waco residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is higher than the state average.

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

The percentage of Waco residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 60.5%, is more than both the national and state average. El Calvario Presbyterian Church, Abundant New Life Assembly of God Church and Adams Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church are among the churches located in Waco. The most prominent religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Waco is home to the Helen Marie Taylor Museum and the Potts Interchange as well as Heart O Texas Coliseum and Kathy Ball Park. Shopping malls in the area include Lake Air Shopping Center and Richland Shopping Center. Visitors to Waco can choose from Budget Inn, America's Best Inns and Best Western Old Main Lodge for temporary stays in the area.