With drug and alcohol abuse on the rise there is a great need for trained substance abuse counselors. These addictions are so prevalent in modern society that popular T.V. shows like Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew continue to captivate audiences every week. A&E has produced 13 seasons of Intervention which has spun off Intervention Canada and Teen Trouble. HBO even produced The Addiction Project which is a 14-part series that shows how society is struggling with addiction.
The popularity of these productions has spurred interest, for many people, to work in the substance abuse counseling field. Many substance abuse counselors find work in drug or alcohol rehab centers, rehabilitation programs, halfway houses, community health centers, businesses and even schools. A few professions such as social work, clergy, school counselors and health care professionals will combine substance abuse counseling to make them more effective in their jobs.
Substance abuse counselors help people who struggle with addictive behavior. Most people they counsel have issues dealing with alcohol, drugs and gambling. To a lesser extent they will work with people who have problems with eating disorders or sexual addictions. Counseling is most often done in a group setting with the best results occurring when family members participate in the sessions. There are five Chicago community colleges that offer 2 year degrees or certificates in substance abuse counseling.
Oakton Community College
Oakton’s Substance Abuse Counseling program meets the requirements to sit for the ICRC examination. Certification means that the student has demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary to provide quality care to individuals seeking treatment. Students that complete this program are eligible to take the certification exam offered by the Illinois Alcohol & Other Drug Abuse Professionals Certification Association Incorporated (IAODAPCA).
Chicago City Colleges
Both Kennedy King and Harold Washington colleges offer an Associate in Applied Science degree in Addiction Studies. This Addictions Studies program is ideal for students looking to work in drug rehab or other mental health fields. Chicago City Colleges has arrangements with many universities for an easy transfer into a 4 year program. Accredited by the IAODAPCA.
College of DuPage
College of DuPage offers an A.A.S. Degree and Certificate training program for Domestic Violence and Addictions Counseling. It’s one of very few colleges in Illinois to offer these approved programs. Accredited by the IAODAPCA.
College of Lake County
The College of Lake County offers an A.A. or A.A.S. program for Alcohol, Substance Abuse, and Addictive Disorders. These programs are accredited by the IAODAPCA.
Is the Profession Appealing?
Any one of these programs is a good start to becoming a substance abuse counselor. The most important consideration before enrolling is if you are really interested in counseling people struggling with addictions. Regardless of where they work a substance abuse counselor must be empathetic, understanding and patient. Counselors deal with people from all walks of life many of whom, because of their circumstances, can be challenging to deal with. If this profession sounds interesting more information can be found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.