Indiana Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselors: Schools and Careers

Career Information for Substance Abuse And Behavioral Counselors in Indiana

Substance abuse counselors in Indiana provide a wide range of mental health services that improve client's lives. After they complete their training, they use researched methods and listening skills to help others with issues regarding interpersonal relations, diagnosed conditions, and substance abuse. Although the circumstances in each case can vary, substance abuse counselors in Indiana spend most of their time helping clients cope with addition to drugs, alcohol, food, and harmful behaviors. Some other common job duties include:

  • Listening to clients and their problems, and helping them through their issues
  • Helping clients formulate goals that will improve their lives
  • Helping clients recognize triggers that bring on harmful behavior
  • Referring clients to other mental health professionals
  • Helping clients replace addictions with positive behaviors

According to the State of Indiana website, certification and licensing requirements for Indiana substance abuse counselors hired by the state may vary. However, one can choose to become certified as either a licensed addiction counselor or a licensed clinical addiction counselor, depending on their level of education. Both credentials require experience in the field. However, licensed clinical addiction counselors must have a master's degree or doctoral degree, whereas licensed addiction counselors only need a bachelor's degree.

Fast Facts for Indiana Substance Abuse Counselors

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates show that approximately 1,070 substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors were employed in Indiana in 2014. Together, they earned an annual mean wage of $40,240, which works out to approximately $19.35 per hour. While these workers were spread out all over the state that year, the following regions employed the bulk of them:

  • Indianapolis - Carmel: 190
  • Gary: 120
  • Anderson: 70
  • Muncie: 60
  • Fort Wayne: 60
  • Northern Indiana Nonmetropolitan Area: 60
  • Bloomington: 60
  • Southern Indiana Nonmetropolitan Area: 60
  • Elkhart - Goshen: 50

Although quite a few of these professionals are already employed in Indiana, plenty more jobs may be on the way. According to U.S. Department of Labor estimates, employment for substance abuse counselors in Indiana is expected to increase 31.4 percent from 2012 to 2022.

Indiana Substance Abuse Counselor Salaries

As noted above, substance abuse counselors in Indiana earned an annual mean wage of $40,240 in 2014. That figure compares favorably to the national average wage for this occupation, which was $41,870 in 2014.

However, some industries paid higher wages in 2014 across the board on a national level. The following industries paid the most that year:

  • Junior Colleges: $63,860
  • Educational Support Services: $56,150
  • Elementary and Secondary Schools: $53,920
  • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools: $53,110
  • Insurance Carriers: $52,090

Metro Areas Rated for Salary and Popularity


Employment per 1,000 Residents

Annual Mean Wage in 2014

Indianapolis - Carmel












Fort Wayne



Northern Indiana Nonmetropolitan Area






Elkhart - Goshen



Southern Indiana Nonmetropolitan Area



Expert Q&A

To find out more about substance abuse counseling as a career choice, we reached out to someone working in the field. The following expert commentary comes courtesy of Brad Lander, PhD and Clinical Director of Addiction Medicine at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

How do you think the role of a substance abuse counselor has changed the past ten years? How will it change in the next ten years?

I have been in the chemical dependency treatment field for 32 years. I have watched the counseling field become more professional with higher levels of education and advanced licensure. When I started, I was the only one with a college degree. Now we higher primarily masters level candidates with at least some substance abuse education or experience. An independent license is preferred (LICSW, PCC, LICDC-CS, etc.). As the substance abuse counseling field progresses, this trend will continue. That is not to say that someone with an associate's degree and a relevant credential could not find a job in the field, there will probably always be a place for that person.

Is a career in substance abuse counseling worth pursuing? Why or why not?

I think substance abuse counseling as a career is worth pursuing. There is a real movement for parity with mental health and medicine that may create more, and better, jobs in the field.

What technologies can help these workers do their jobs?

The movement in the field is toward electronic medical records. Most larger providers have moved to EMR already. We are also doing more now with phone/tablet apps and video counseling.

What should future substance abuse counselors look for in a degree or career preparation program?

I would recommend looking for programs that (1) prepares you for certification/licensure and (2) prepares you to advance to higher levels of education if you so choose. Also, when I am looking to hire a counselor, I look for someone who has an understanding of mental health and related physical issues. I would look at taking classes in related healthcare fields.

What advice would you give someone who wants to work in this industry?

Get as much education and experience as you can. Even volunteer experience can be helpful in finding a job.

How is your school specifically preparing substance abuse counselors for the challenges they will face once they graduate?

I am on the treatment side and not the academia side, but I would suggest taking almost any counselor job in the field to gain experience. After a year or two you will be in a better position to get a higher level job.


  1. Addiction Counselor Licensing, IN.gov, http://www.in.gov/pla/3050.htm
  2. Interview with Brad Lander, PhD and Clinical Director of Addiction Medicine at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, December 11, 2015, Contact: brad.lander@osumc.edu
  3. Long Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
  4. May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Indiana, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_in.htm
  5. Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211011.htm
  6. Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm

Schools for Substance Abuse Counselors in Indiana are listed below.

Selected Schools in Indiana

quickinfoThese schools offer particularly quick info upon request, and we have written detailed profiles for each (click school names to see the profiles).

Request info from multiple schools, by clicking the Request Info links.

This list also contains online schools that accept students from Indiana.

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Regent University prepares students with the knowledge to excel and the faith to live with purpose.

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More Indiana Schools

School Name Campus Highest Award Enrolled
Anderson University Anderson Doctorate & First Professional 2,707
Ball State University Muncie Doctorate 19,849
Bethel College Mishawaka Mishawaka Masters 2,097
Butler University Indianapolis Masters & First Professional 4,479
Calumet College of Saint Joseph Whiting Masters 1,238
Christian Theological Seminary Indianapolis Doctorate & First Professional 304
DePauw University Greencastle Bachelor 2,398
Earlham College Richmond Masters & First Professional 1,365
Franklin College Franklin Bachelor 1,130
Goshen College Goshen Masters 971
Grace College and Theological Seminary Winona Lake Doctorate 1,404
Hanover College Hanover Bachelor 929
Huntington University Huntington Masters 1,148
Indiana Institute of Technology Fort Wayne Masters 3,294
Indiana State University Terre Haute Doctorate 10,543
Indiana University-Bloomington Bloomington Doctorate & First Professional 38,990
Indiana University-East Richmond Masters 2,266
Indiana University-Kokomo Kokomo Masters 2,835
Indiana University-Northwest Gary Masters 4,790
Indiana University-Purdue University-Fort Wayne Fort Wayne Masters 11,943
Indiana University-Purdue University-Indianapolis Indianapolis Doctorate & First Professional 29,854
Indiana University-South Bend South Bend Masters 7,517
Indiana University-Southeast New Albany Masters 6,241
Manchester College North Manchester Bachelor 1,036
Marian College Indianapolis Masters 2,043
Martin University Indianapolis Masters 618
Purdue University-Calumet Campus Hammond Masters 9,607
Purdue University-Main Campus West Lafayette Doctorate & First Professional 40,534
Saint Josephs College Rensselaer Masters 1,070
Saint Mary's College Notre Dame Bachelor 1,604
Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Saint Mary-Of-The-Woods Masters 1,677
Taylor University Upland Bachelor 1,879
Taylor University Fort Wayne Fort Wayne Bachelor 964
Trine University Angola Masters 1,337
Trine University-Fort Wayne Fort Wayne Masters 171
University of Evansville Evansville Doctorate 2,852
University of Indianapolis Indianapolis Doctorate 4,706
University of Notre Dame Notre Dame Doctorate & First Professional 11,733
University of Saint Francis-Ft Wayne Fort Wayne Masters 2,135
University of Southern Indiana Evansville Doctorate 9,939
Valparaiso University Valparaiso Doctorate 3,872
Vincennes University Vincennes Bachelor 10,750
Wabash College Crawfordsville Bachelor 917

Job Popularity in Metro Areas for Substance Abuse Counselors

The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for Indiana. A table below the map shows job popularity and salaries across the state.

Metro Areas Rated for Popularity for:
Substance Abuse Counselors

Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Substance Abuse Counselors relative to the population of the city, as of 2008. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A Relative Popularity of 1.0 means that the city has an average number of the particular job, for its population, compared to the rest of the US. Higher numbers mean proportionally more jobs of that type.

Metro Area Jobs Salary


Fort Wayne 60 $40920 0.45
Bloomington 50 $45470 1.25
Indianapolis 280 $37060 0.45
Carmel 280 $37060 0.45
Anderson 280 $37060 0.45
Elkhart 50 $33640 0.63
Goshen 50 $33640 0.63
Muncie 50 $30400 1.9
Employment For:

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