Drug and Alcohol Counselor

Careers in Mental Health

Michael Kemp, NCAC I
Director – Peer Recovery Services

Generic Information

  • Provide primary support for the client, interacting with the individual several times a week
  • Referral patients to services within the institutional, clinical, medical, and community settings
  • Serves as a patient advocate
  • Level 1 Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counselors must have 150 hours of alcohol and drug
    related education
  • Level 2 Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counselors must earn bachelor’s degrees or pursue
    equivalent studies
  • Level 3 Drug and Alcohol Abuse Counselors must have at least a Master’s Degree in
    behavioral science
  • License issued by Addiction Counselor Certification Board of Oregon
  • Empathetic active listening skills
  • Clinical knowledge, skills and abilities in working with persons with mental illness
  • Ability to function independently and as a part of a patient-centered interdisciplinary treatment team
  • Highly attentive to detail, confidentiality, and accuracy
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Hospitals
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Substance abuse centers
  • Schools
  • Correctional Facilities


Drug and Alcohol Counselors work with patients to develop a trusting relationship. Together they explore the patient’s relationship to substance use and abuse in order to move forward with a treatment plan. The Counselor works as part of the patient-centered interdisciplinary treatment team to help set goals and develop an individualized treatment plan. They also act as an assistant to gather resources for the client to be successful after discharge. For many Addiction Counselors, this work can be personal as many have a personal history with substance abuse.

For more information on the educational pathway to this and other healthcare careers follow this Link to the Educational Resource page.

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