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Substance abuse and behavioral counselors work closely with individuals or groups to help people overcome addiction, eating disorders, or other behavioral disorders. In Washington, schools across the state are increasingly offering chemical dependency programs to certify future counselors, particularly as health insurance coverage for mental health care is on the rise.

Washington Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselor Schools

There are many substance abuse counselor schools in Washington offering various levels of degrees and certifications for prospective counselors. Below are just a few of the larger institutions in the state:

  • Bellevue College: Located outside of Seattle, Bellevue is among the largest community colleges in Washington, offering transfer Associate and Bachelor's degrees, as well as professional degrees and certificate programs including Alcohol and Drug Counseling and Psychology.

  • Central Washington University: Central Washington University offers certification programs, Bachelor's, Master's and doctoral degrees. Both undergraduate and graduate studies are available through the school's Psychology and Mental Health Counseling programs.

  • University of Washington Seattle: The University of Washington Seattle is the largest university in the nation's northwest, and offers degree and certificate programs at all levels. Programs across Health Service Psychology, Psychology, Behavioral Health, and more prepare students for careers in Substance Abuse and Behavioral counseling.

  • Washington State University: Washington State University offers programs from undergraduate degrees through its Department of Psychology to graduate-level Counseling Psychology programs through its College of Education.

  • Western Washington University: Western Washington University is a state-funded school that offers pre-professional, professional, undergraduate, and graduate programs from Psychology to Behavioral Neuroscience.

Coursework for Washington Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselor Programs

The two major substance abuse counseling programs in Washington prepare candidates with the following skills and completed coursework:

  • Understanding addiction
  • General psychology
  • Cultural diversity
  • Chemical dependency clinical evaluation
  • HIV/AIDS intervention for the chemically dependent
  • Individual, group, and family counseling
  • Adolescent development
  • Group dynamics
  • Developmental psychology
  • Abnormal psychology
  • Addiction pharmacology
  • Case management
  • Ethics, professionalism, and crisis management
  • Patient confidentiality
  • Clinical documentation
  • Relapse prevention

Washington Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselors License

Two major tiers of substance abuse counseling exist in Washington State. The first level is the Chemical Dependency Professional Trainee program (CDPT), and the Chemical Dependency Program (CDP) program. To enter a CDPT program, a candidate needs only a high school diploma or GED. However, the candidate must be enrolled in a Chemical Dependency Counseling Bachelor's program, have completed required AIDS transmission training, and pass a criminal background check.

The full CDP title requires completion of the Chemical Dependency Counseling Bachelor's degree, as well as required coursework as described above, field experience, and professional training. A candidate must also pass either the IC&RC or the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) exam. The complete CDP program also requires 2,000 hours of supervised work, which can be lowered to 1,500 with the completion of a Master's degree.

Resources for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselors in Washington

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More Washington 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
Campus
Highest Award
Enrolled
Seattle
Doctorate
916
Kenmore
Doctorate & First Professional
1,103
Bellevue
Bachelor
12,305
Ellensburg
Masters
10,505
Bellevue
Masters
3,566
Vancouver
Associate
9,705
Lakewood
Associate
9,829
Pasco
Associate
6,393
Cheney
Doctorate
10,686
Lynnwood
Associate
8,435
Spokane
Doctorate & First Professional
6,873
Toppenish
Masters
1,198
Des Moines
Associate
5,859
Longview
Associate
3,348
Seattle
Masters
323
Bellingham
Bachelor
584
Kirkland
Masters
1,259
Bremerton
Bachelor
6,623
Tacoma
Masters
3,661
Port Angeles
Bachelor
3,180
Lakewood
Associate
7,504
Lacey
Masters
1,605
Seattle
Associate
6,810
Seattle
Doctorate
3,842
Seattle
Doctorate
7,529
Mount Vernon
Associate
5,727
Spokane
Associate
9,623
Tacoma
Masters
2,772
Seattle
Doctorate
40,218
College Place
Masters
1,829
Pullman
Doctorate & First Professional
24,396
Wenatchee
Associate
3,150
Bellingham
Masters
14,276
Walla Walla
Bachelor
1,489
Spokane
Masters
2,607
Yakima
Associate
4,354

Job Popularity in Metro Areas for Substance Abuse Counselors

The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for Washington. 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
Jobs
Annual Median Salary
Bremerton N/A $40,170
Silverdale N/A $40,170
Bellingham 40 $42,130
Longview 40 $36,050
Kennewick N/A $29,300
Richland N/A $29,300
Mount Vernon 110 $46,150
Anacortes 110 $46,150
Olympia 70 $43,850
Tumwater 70 $43,850
Seattle 1590 $36,510
Tacoma 1590 $36,510
Bellevue 1590 $36,510
Spokane N/A $36,560
Spokane Valley N/A $36,560
Yakima 140 $39,500

Sources:

  1. Chemical Dependency Professional, Chemical Dependency Professional Trainee, License Requirements, Washington State Department of Health, http://www.doh.wa.gov/LicensesPermitsandCertificates/ProfessionsNewReneworUpdate/ChemicalDependencyProfessional/LicenseRequirements, accessed October 29, 2016.
  2. Chemical Dependency Specialist Program Overview, Programs, Seattle Central College, http://seattlecentral.edu/programs/chemicaldep/, accessed October 29, 2016.
  3. Substance Abuse Counseling, HumanServicesUdu.org, http://www.humanservicesedu.org/washington-substance-abuse-counselor.html#context/api/listings/prefilter, accessed October 29, 2016.

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