Mississippi Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselors: Schools and Careers

Career Information for Substance Abuse And Behavioral Counselors in Mississippi

After they complete their training, Mississippi substance abuse counselors use their listening skills and medical expertise to help others. Through counseling and assessment, they evaluate the mental state and condition of their clients and guide them towards a lifestyle that is free from destructive behaviors. Depending on the situation, substance abuse counselors may be called upon to help clients with an addition to drugs, alcohol, or even food. Some of the common tasks of Mississippi substance abuse counselors include:

  • Listening to clients and assessing their mental health
  • Helping clients come up with goals, and formulating plans to achieve them
  • Teaching clients positive behaviors and coping strategies
  • Referring clients to other professionals, as needed
  • Helping clients deal with the consequences of addiction

According to the Mississippi Department of Mental Health, substance abuse counselors hired by the state of Mississippi may be required to be licensed and certified. These certifications require a master's degree or better. With that being said, Mississippi substance abuse counselors who do not work for state agencies may not need to meet such strenuous requirements. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that some substance counselors may only need a high school diploma and some on-the-job experience.

Fast Facts for Mississippi Substance Abuse Counselors

According to the BLS, only 700 substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors were employed in Mississippi in 2014. Together, they earned an annual mean wage of $31,860, which works out to approximately $15.32 per hour. While these workers were spread out all over the state that year, the following regions employed the bulk of them:

  • Jackson: 160
  • Northeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area: 130
  • Gulfport - Biloxi: 110
  • Northwest Mississippi nonmetropolitan area: 100
  • Southeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area: 80
  • Southwest Mississippi nonmetropolitan area: 50

That being said, this occupation is expected to grow in the state of Mississippi. According to U.S. Department of Labor estimates, employment for Mississippi substance abuse counselors is expected to increase 20.3 percent from 2012 to 2022, which is almost twice the national average job growth.

Mississippi Substance Abuse Counselor Salaries

As noted above, Mississippi substance abuse counselors earned an annual mean wage of $31,860 in 2014. That figure is considerably less than the national average wage for this occupation, which was $41,870 in 2014.

Some industries paid higher wages for these workers in 2014 on a national level. The following list includes the industries that paid these workers the most:

  • 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




Gulfport - Biloxi



Northeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area



Northwest Mississippi nonmetropolitan area



Southeast Mississippi nonmetropolitan area



Southwest Mississippi nonmetropolitan area



Expert Q&A

In order to learn as much as we could about addiction counseling in Mississippi, we reached out to Dr. Damien Thomas, Director of the Addiction Counseling program at Mississippi College. As an expert in his field and college instructor, Dr. Thomas offers an insider's view on the role of Mississippi substance abuse counselors, and how it could change in the future.

What are some of the unique issues that substance abuse and behavioral counselors face in the state of Mississippi?

Managed care can be challenging for clinicians as they often times have problems approving clients for services due to them not meeting specified criteria (as outlined by the insurance company).

What is the greatest benefit of practicing this field within the state of Mississippi?

The greatest benefit of practicing this field within the state of MS is having a close network of individuals (e.g. counselors, social workers, advocacy groups, etc.) that care about the clients and their families. This makes working in the field worthwhile as it becomes obvious that we are working for something greater than ourselves.

How will the job of a substance abuse counselor change in the next 10 to 20 years?

I see technology being more of an influence with regard to service delivery. Web-enhanced technologies will give client's more options for selecting counselors as travel would be less of a factor.

How is your school preparing the counselors of the future for the changing face of this profession?

MS College prepares counselors by offering courses that are in accordance with the latest research and accreditation standards. We also have instructors that are active within the areas of research, training, and practice.


  1. College Navigator, National Center for Education Statistics, https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/
  2. Interview with Dr. Damien Thomas of Mississippi College, September 8, 2015
  3. Long Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
  4. May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Mississippi, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ms.htm
  5. Professional Licensure and Certification, Mississippi Department of Mental Health, http://www.dmh.ms.gov/providers/professional-licensure-and-certification-place/
  6. Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211011.htm
  7. 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 Mississippi are listed below.

Selected Schools in Mississippi

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 Mississippi.

Matching School Ads

Kaplan University is focused on recognizing the achievements of military and veteran students and offers the flexibility of an online education.

  • Programs: MS in Psychology - Addictions, BS in Psychology - Industrial/Organizational Psychology, MS in Psychology - General Psychology, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Bachelor

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

  • Programs: Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling, Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies - Psychology, more...
  • Degrees: Master, Bachelor

A degree from CTU connects you to what matters most: powerful professional network, real-world professional faculty and innovative technology. Once you earn your degree you hit the ground running.

  • Programs: Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Consumer Behavior, Bachelor of Science in Psychology - Organizational Behavior
  • Degrees: Bachelor

Liberty University provides a world-class education with a solid Christian foundation, equipping men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential for success in every aspect of life.

  • Programs: MA in Professional Counseling - 60 Hour, AA in Psychology
  • Degrees: Master, Associate

Earn Your Diploma from Home!

  • Programs: Drug & Alcohol Treatment Specialist
  • Degrees: Diploma

Earn your graduate degree online with Northcentral University.

  • Programs: Mental Health Policy and Practice - Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology, Psychology - BA, General Psychology - PhD of Psychology, more...
  • Degrees: Doctorate, Bachelor

Welcome to Argosy University

Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges:  College of Behavioral Sciences, Graduate School of Business and Management, College of Education,  College of Health Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Creative Arts and Design, College of Clinical Psychology and Western State College of Law at Argosy University as well as certificate programs in many areas.

  • Programs: Psychology (BA) (Online)
  • Degrees: Bachelor

Sacred Heart University Online 

  • Programs: Master of Science in Applied Psychology
  • Degrees: Master

One of the world's leading private research institutions, the University of Southern California (USC) was founded in 1880.

  • Programs: Online Master of Science in Applied Psychology
  • Degrees: Master

Give your career a boost with an education from Southern New Hampshire University.

  • Programs: MS Psychology, Master of Science in Psychology - Forensic Psychology, MS Political Science, more...
  • Degrees: Master
Matching School Ads

More Mississippi Schools

School Name Campus Highest Award Enrolled
Alcorn State University Alcorn State Masters 3,668
Belhaven College Jackson Masters 2,485
Blue Mountain College Blue Mountain Masters 457
Coahoma Community College Clarksdale Associate 2,216
Copiah-Lincoln Community College Wesson Associate 2,382
Delta State University Cleveland Doctorate 4,091
East Central Community College Decatur Associate 2,281
Hinds Community College Raymond Associate 9,941
Holmes Community College Goodman Associate 5,107
Itawamba Community College Fulton Associate 5,871
Jackson State University Jackson Doctorate 8,698
Millsaps College Jackson Masters 1,151
Mississippi College Clinton Doctorate 4,467
Mississippi State University Mississippi State Doctorate & First Professional 17,039
Mississippi University for Women Columbus Masters 2,379
Northeast Mississippi Community College Booneville Associate 3,339
Northwest Mississippi Community College Senatobia Associate 7,097
Tougaloo College Tougaloo Bachelor 856
University of Mississippi Main Campus Oxford Doctorate 15,129
University of Southern Mississippi Hattiesburg Doctorate 14,592
William Carey University Hattiesburg Masters 2,678

Job Popularity in Metro Areas for Substance Abuse Counselors

The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for Mississippi. 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


Gulfport 100 $27180 1.11
Biloxi 100 $27180 1.11
Pascagoula 100 $27180 1.11
Hattiesburg 50 $24810 1.41
Jackson 110 $28320 0.67
Employment For:

Find a school near you

Career and College Resources on CityTownInfo

Real-World Career Reports

Career Stories from workers: daily activities, job tips, best/worst job aspects, training, etc.
Daily Career & Education News from our staff. We're an approved Google News provider!

Career References and Original Articles

Resource Center. A starting point for all CityTownInfo career and college resources.
Career Overviews of hundreds of careers: descriptions, salaries, forecasts, schools, more.
Best Careers Not Requiring Degrees: Good pay, job growth, low need for degrees.
Helpful Articles, many in "how-to" format; e.g., "How to Become a Chef".
Infographics covering employment and educational trends.

College Directories and Lists

These lists link to thousands of detailed school profiles.

Colleges by State. Nearly every college and trade school in the country.
Colleges Listed Alphabetically. About 7,000 colleges & trade schools, including online schools.
Colleges by Major City. Browse cities with multiple college options.
Online Colleges. Colleges with online degree programs.
Graduate Schools by State. Colleges offering graduate degree programs.
Graduate Schools by Major City. Find cities with multiple graduate school options.