The primary role of substance abuse and behavioral counselors is advising sufferers of addiction. They can specialize in a variety of topics such as alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, or other behavioral problems. Also known as addiction counselors, substance abuse counselors may work with clients individually as well as in groups in a variety of settings. Areas of specialty might include working with teenagers, veterans, or disabled individuals. Counselors may also serve as non-crisis intervention experts.

Kentucky Substance Abuse Counselor Schools

Below is a list of schools in Kentucky that offer substance abuse counselor programs. Included with the school name is also a few notable facts relating to topics such as campus history, student population, faculty.

  • Brescia University: A Catholic liberal arts institution founded in 1950, Brescia University offers a range of flexibly scheduled classes including online accelerated courses. A small student population contributes to more desirable class sizes and a student-focused atmosphere.

  • Union College: Founded in 1879, Union College has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since inception. It offers 35 different majors with a 13:1 student-to-faculty ratio as well as a strong financial aid program with 100% of the student body receiving some kind of aid.

What to Expect from Kentucky Substance Abuse Counselor Programs

Most substance abuse counselors will need to attain at least a bachelor's degree to gain employment. Some positions may require a master's degree. The more education a prospective substance abuse counselor has attained, the more opportunities they will likely have for employment.

Substance abuse counselor programs may include studying the specific effects and causes of different kinds of substance addiction or behavioral disorders. Additionally, they will likely teach individuals how to perform a variety of duties such as evaluating a client's mental and physical health, helping develop treatment plans, discussing and educating family members and friends about the issues affecting the client, and working with the client to maintain healthy habits.

A few important qualities that may be enhanced during substance abuse counselor programs are:

  • Compassion
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Listening skills
  • Patience
  • Speaking skills

These skills could prove quite beneficial to a prospective substance abuse counselor's career.

Kentucky Substance Abuse Counselor License

Substance abuse counselors must be licensed and certified by the Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselors (ADC) of Kentucky. Once certified, the individual will be officially licensed as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), a Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LCADC), or a Registered Alcohol and Drug Peer Support Specialist.

The candidates must have varying amounts of work experience depending on their education level. For those without a degree, 6000 hours is the minimum required hours. Candidates with a bachelor degree must have at least 4000 hours, those with a master's degree in a related field require 3000, and candidates with a master's in a related field with a specialization in addiction or drug and alcohol counseling only require 2000 hours.

At least 300 of the above hours must be performed under the direct supervision of a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor who was maintained certification for at least two years.

The requirements for Registered Alcohol and Drug Peer Support Specialists are having attained at least a high school diploma or the equivalent, attesting to being in recovery for a minimum of 2 years from a substance related disorder, being ready to take the Peer Support Specialist exam and having already met the requirements for work experience, supervision, and training.

The CADC requires candidates to have at least a bachelor's degree, be ready to take the Alcohol and Drug Counselor written exam, and have already met the required work experience, supervision, and training stipulations.

The requirements for the LCADC are having at least a master's degree, being ready to take the licensure exam, and having already met the required work experience, supervision, and training.

Candidates who are still obtaining the work experience and supervision required for the LCADC but have already met the classroom training requirements are eligible for the Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor Associate (LCADCA) certification.

Resources for Substance Abuse Counselors in Kentucky

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More Kentucky Substance Abuse Counselors Schools

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

School Name
Highest Award
Doctorate & First Professional
Highland Heights
Doctorate & First Professional
Saint Catharine
Doctorate & First Professional
Doctorate & First Professional
Bowling Green

Job Popularity in Metro Areas for Substance Abuse Counselors

The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for Kentucky. 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. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Metro Area
Annual Median Salary
Bowling Green 40 $41,280
Lexington N/A $30,300
Fayette N/A $30,300


  1. Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, Occupational Outlook Handbook 2016-17 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/substance-abuse-and-behavioral-disorder-counselors.htm, accessed October 30, 2016
  2. Kentucky Board of Alcohol and Drug Counselors, http://adc.ky.gov/Pages/default.aspx, accessed October 30, 2016

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