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Career and Education Opportunities for Substance Abuse Specialists in Essex, Vermont

Essex, Vermont provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for substance abuse specialists. Currently, 300 people work as substance abuse specialists in Vermont. This is expected to grow 33% to about 400 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. In general, substance abuse specialists counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders.

A person working as a substance abuse specialist can expect to earn about $18 per hour or $37,440 annually on average in Vermont and about $17 per hour or $37,030 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy, people working as substance abuse specialists in Vermont earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Counseling and Therapy nationally. Jobs in this field include: clinical director, treatment coordinator, and chemical dependency counselor .

The Essex area is home to fourteen schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Essex where you can get a degree as a substance abuse specialist. Given that the most common education level for substance abuse specialists is a Master's degree, 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 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 Essex 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

Community College of Vermont - Waterbury, VT

Community College of Vermont, 103 South Main Street, Waterbury, VT 05676-0120. Community College of Vermont is a medium sized college located in Waterbury, Vermont. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,550 students. Community College of Vermont has a one to two year program in Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling which graduated four students 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.


Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor

Licensing agency: Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor Licensing
Address: Division of Alcohol & Drug Abuse Programs, Vermont Department of Health, 108 Cherry Street, P.O. Box 70, Burlington, VT 05402-0070

Phone: (802) 651-1550
Website: Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor Licensing Division of Alcohol & Drug Abuse Programs Vermont Department of Health

Social Worker, Clinical

Licensing agency: Clinical Social Workers
Address: Office of Professional Regulation, Office of Secretary of State, National Life Building, North FL2, Montpelier, VT 05620-3402

Phone: (802) 828-2390
Website: Clinical Social Workers Office of Professional Regulation Office of Secretary of State


Essex, Vermont
Essex, Vermont photo by Fancy-cats-are-happy-cats

Essex is situated in Chittenden County, Vermont. It has a population of over 19,649, which has grown by 5.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Essex, 95, is below the national average. New single-family homes in Essex cost $228,000 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, six new homes were built in Essex, down from thirteen the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Essex are educational services, health care, and computer and electronic products. For men, it is computer and electronic products, educational services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 45.6% of Essex residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.1%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Essex is 4.8%, which is less than Vermont's average of 5.9%. About 2.6% of Essex's residents are below the poverty line, which is better than the state average.

The percentage of Essex residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 39.8%, is less than both the national and state average. Federated Church, Covenant Community Church and Essex Alliance Church are among the churches located in Essex. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the United Church of Christ and the United Methodist Church.

Essex is home to the Essex Free Library and the Essex Town Hall.