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Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors

Counsel and advise individuals with alcohol, tobacco, drug, or other problems, such as gambling and eating disorders. May counsel individuals, families, or groups or engage in prevention programs.

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    Work Activities

    Work Activities

    • Complete and maintain accurate records or reports regarding the patients' histories and progress, services provided, or other required information.
    • Counsel clients or patients, individually or in group sessions, to assist in overcoming dependencies, adjusting to life, or making changes.
    • Assess individuals' degree of drug dependency by collecting and analyzing urine samples.
    • Follow progress of discharged patients to determine effectiveness of treatments.
    • Review and evaluate clients' progress in relation to measurable goals described in treatment and care plans.
    • Coordinate activities with courts, probation officers, community services, or other post-treatment agencies.
    • Modify treatment plans to comply with changes in client status.
    • Develop client treatment plans based on research, clinical experience, and client histories.
    • Coordinate counseling efforts with mental health professionals or other health professionals, such as doctors, nurses, or social workers.
    • Plan or implement follow-up or aftercare programs for clients to be discharged from treatment programs.
    • Intervene as an advocate for clients or patients to resolve emergency problems in crisis situations.
    • Attend training sessions to increase knowledge and skills.
    • Interview clients, review records, and confer with other professionals to evaluate individuals' mental and physical condition and to determine their suitability for participation in a specific program.
    • Instruct others in program methods, procedures, or functions.
    • Participate in case conferences or staff meetings.
    • Provide clients or family members with information about addiction issues and about available services or programs, making appropriate referrals when necessary.
    • Act as liaisons between clients and medical staff.
    • Train or supervise student interns or new staff members.
    • Counsel family members to assist them in understanding, dealing with, and supporting clients or patients.
    • Confer with family members or others close to clients to keep them informed of treatment planning and progress.
    • Supervise or direct other workers providing services to clients or patients.
    • Develop, implement, or evaluate public education, prevention, or health promotion programs, working in collaboration with organizations, institutions, or communities.


    • Active Listening

      Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

    • Speaking

      Talking to others to convey information effectively.

    • Critical Thinking

      Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.


    Applied Math
    Workplace Documents
    Graphic Literacy


    • Oral Expression

      The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

    • Problem Sensitivity

      The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.

    • Speech Clarity

      The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.


    • Therapy and Counseling

      Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.

    • Psychology

      Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

    • Education and Training

      Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

    Career Video

    Additional videos and more information available on CareerOneStop

    Ohio Employment Trends

    • Currently Employed 8,760
    • Yearly Projected Openings 1,130

    Typical Education


    Social: People interested in this work like activities that include helping people, teaching, and talking.They do well at jobs that need:
    • Concern for Others
    • Integrity
    • Dependability
    • Stress Tolerance
    • Self Control
    • Social Orientation


    • Personal digital assistant PDAs or organizers
    • Personal computers
    • Notebook computers
    • Desktop computers
    • Alcohol analyzers


    • Spreadsheet software
    • Presentation software
    • Medical software
    • Electronic mail software
    • Data base user interface and query software


    • Bright Outlook occupations will grow rapidly in the next few years, have a large number of openings, or are new and emerging careers.
    • Apprenticeships are available for this occupation. These programs can help you get hands-on experience and build your skills.

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    Workforce Supply Tool

    Workforce Supply Tool

    The Workforce Supply Tool provides statistics for the occupations in highest demand throughout Ohio.

    You can view statewide statistics as well as more region specific information.

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