Working with individuals who suffer from alcohol and substance abuse problems, as well as a number of other mental illnesses, may be a challenging yet rewarding career. The patients these professionals work with may be facing the lowest points in their lives, and may truly be in need of help. In this way, a behavioral and substance abuse counselor may very well end up saving a number of lives throughout their career. In Kansas, counselors can begin their professional career as Licensed Addiction Counselors, and eventually toward becoming Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselors.
Kansas Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselor Schools
There are a number of substance abuse counselor schools in Kansas for students to choose from. Students can also attend online programs, if they so choose, as well.
- Allen Community College: Allen Community College offers three different pathways for students looking to become addiction counselors. Students can choose to either enter the school's Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science programs, which last a standard four semesters. Alternatively, students can opt to attend the school's certificate program, which lasts two semester.
- Kansas City Kansas Community College: KCKCC offers an Associate of Applied Science program in Addiction Counseling. The 64-credit program features 34 credits specifically focused on addiction counseling, and acts as a bridge to a bachelor program from a four-year school.
- Kansas Wesleyan University: Kansas Wesleyan University's Bachelor of Psychological Services prepares students for entry-level positions in substance abuse counseling. The school and program have recently been voted as one of 30 Great Small Colleges for a Counseling Degree and Top 25 Colleges for a Counseling Degree by Best Psychology Degrees and Best Counseling Degrees, respectively.
- Washburn University: Washburn University provides students with an opportunity to earn a certificate in Addiction Counseling. The 33-credit hour program meets state requirements regarding licensing for addiction counselors when combined with a Bachelor's degree in a service-related field.
- Argosy University (Online): Argosy University offers a bachelor's in the art of psychology program, with a concentration in Substance Abuse Counseling. Throughout the program, students will be trained in assessment and treatment of substance abuse issues, as well as dealing with the familial issues involved with counseling.
Coursework for Kansas Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselor Programs
The expectations and experience students should have depend on the program they decide to enter. Some of the above-listed substance abuse counselor programs in Kansas only prepare students to enter further studies through completion of prerequisite courses, while others provide the full preparatory coursework needed to begin a career as a behavioral counselor.
That being said, the programs provide varying levels of intensity and practice. Ultimately, though, students should be prepared to, at the very least, perform the following duties relating to substance abuse counseling:
- Assessment of abuse and risk levels
- Creating of individualized treatment plans
- On-going assessment of plan's effectiveness
Perhaps most important is the understanding that each patient a counselor works with deserves individual attention. Professionals should anticipate having to approach each case from an objective and understanding perspective.
Kansas Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselor License
In the state of Kansas, substance abuse counselors can become licensed on two levels.
- Licensed Addiction Counselors must complete the above-mentioned coursework (specifically, a bachelor's degree program), including six semester hours of practicum, both in individual and group sessions. Once they earn their license, they must renew it every two years, during which time they also must complete 30 hours of continuing education.
- Licensed Clinical Addiction Counselors must earn a master's degree in behavioral services, which includes a number of clinical hours and experiences.
Both levels of licensure require counselors to pass a national standardized exam.
Resources for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselors in Kansas