A person who has a natural tendency to help people might enjoy taking one of several substance abuse jobs. There are many jobs to take in this field, but the two most common ones are substance abuse counselor and substance abuse psychologist.
Becoming a counselor in this area is easier than getting a college degree. To get your certificate and license to practice, you must present your case to the Certification Board for Addiction Professionals. They usually require you to have some time working with those who have abused drugs or alcohol before they let you take the written exam. Once you have completed the test, they will evaluate it and decide whether or not to give you your certificate. These counselors are needed by schools, universities and colleges, state and government institutions, and more. The starting pay may be low, but many counselors employed by the government and the bigger schools and colleges can have an hourly income of 20-30 dollars. It all depends on who is willing to hire you.
Psychologists are different from counselors in the sense that they have a far more extensive knowledge of whatever it is they are treating. They also have a lot more authority over their subjects and usually have better resources with which to treat them. In the case of substance abuse, more serious cases are treated by a professional psychologist rather than a counselor. Becoming a psychologist is no walk in the park. You will spend a good portion of your life just preparing for it. It takes many years of education at a college or university and/or a medical school to get started. If you want a practice of your own and not just assist another psychologist, you must spend additional time working towards a Ph.D. Once you have completed the necessary educational process, you must apply with a state certification and licensing program. They may require you to take a written or oral exam but there are those that will give you the license and certificate if you have a degree in the field. Be advised that anyone who seeks this as a career will have to start out as an intern and they will be subjected to strict supervision and psychoanalysis.
Other jobs in the area of substance abuse include the substance abuse clinician, behavioral technician and instructor. The clinician usually works with younger children who may have been exposed to drugs and/or alcohol by someone older and now needs treatment. The behavioral technician administers treatment and supervises the patients. The instructor is rarely a starting job. They are usually former psychologists who have moved on to another career. They teach other people how to do the work of a psychologist or counselor. They are often college professors, though private practitioners are not unheard of.
People who work with substance abusers get a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that they are helping somebody. If you’re someone who likes to help people, this may be the field for you.