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California Health Occupations Directory

Alcohol and Controlled Substances

Drug andAlcohol CounselorDrug and alcohol counselors provide addiction prevention services and treatment.  Their duties include but are not limited to screening, intake, orientation, assessment, treatment planning, individual and group counseling, case management, crisis intervention, client education, referrals, reports, recordkeeping, and consultation with other professionals regarding client treatment and services.


Drug and alcohol counselors assist clients with developing treatment plans and provide support and feedback that ensures clients' successful development of positive behavior modification through an understanding of why they are compelled to abuse substances.  The end goal is for clients to abstain from substances and live happy and productive lives free of their addiction.



Substance abuse counselors need a certificate from an approved school and a credentialing organization.  Upon completion of the certificate, drug and alcohol counselors must pass a State examination. 


While drug and alcohol counselors may be hired prior to completion of their certificate/degree, they are usually required to obtain full certification within five years. 


Additional Qualifications:

Drug and alcohol counselors have thorough knowledge of causes and treatments for addiction and are trained to make decisions based on ethical and professional standards. Drug and alcohol counselors are expected to have completed an academic program from an accredited institution to earn certification from the California Certification Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselors.


Links to additional career links:


California Certification Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselors


National Organization for Competency Assurance

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