Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors are in increased demand in Western Massachusetts. Much of the growth is expected from more people seeking treatment for mental illness and addiction. 

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors create treatment plans to help people recover from addiction or modify problem behaviors.

Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors:

  • Educate and counsel patients and their families about addiction or behavior disorders and help them develop strategies to cope with those problems
  • Connect patients with services such as housing, meal services, transportation, or hospice care for a terminally-ill patient
  • Create care plans with clients by evaluating mental and physical health and openness to treatment 

Employment opportunities can be found in:

Education and training requirements

Most substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors hold a master’s degree and have completed supervised clinical hours that allow them to become licensed. Some counselors who do not work in a private practice may have completed a certificate program a community college.

Counselors are also expected to have:

  • A deep understanding of human development and behavior
  • Strong cultural competence, including appreciation for the effects of various social, economic and cultural factors, and an understanding of how these factors interact
  • The ability to work independently and as a part of a team

Western MA Fast Facts

  • Workers in Pioneer Valley: 440
  • Education Requirements: High School + Certificate
  • Entry Level Salary:$41,540
  • Median Salary:$55,750
  • Experienced Salary: $60,400

Local Education Programs