A substance abuse and behavioral counselor will advise those who are suffering from eating disorders, drug addiction, alcoholism and other behavioral problems. They support their client, helping to get them the right treatment so they can modify their behavioral problem or recover from their addiction. These types of counselors can work in a range of settings, including private practices, prisons and community or mental health centers.

Iowa Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselor Schools

In order to be eligible for a role as a substance abuse counselor, the majority of employers will require you to have a bachelor's or master's degree whilst others may accept high school diplomas and certifications. There are a number of substance abuse counselor schools in Iowa, including:

  • Kaplan University: Established in 1937, Kaplan University is an institute that provides education to undergraduates, graduates and professionals. They offer a vast range of programs including the Bachelor's degree in psychology in addictions. Approved by the National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC) this program is available at Kaplan University's Des Moines, Cedar Falls, Davenport, Cedar Rapids and Mason City campuses.

  • Southeastern Community College: Located in West Burlington, Iowa, SCC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers a vast range of different courses, including four-year degrees. One of their programs is the Chemical Dependency Counselor Associate of Applied Science Program. This has been established to provide students with the necessary skills needed to become a certified alcohol and drug counselor with the Iowa Board of Substance Abuse.

  • Iowa Lakes Community College: This institute boasts five campus locations - Algona, Emmetsburg, Estherville, Spencer and Spirit Lake, with a plethora of courses on offer. Their Associate of Applied Science Degree in Substance Abuse Counseling is typically a two-year course and is based at their Estherville campus.

Coursework for Iowa Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselor Programs

Substance abuse counseling programs in Iowa will cover a wide range of topics, teaching you the necessary skills that are required to go on and become a professional counselor. Many of the courses will combine classroom-based study with hands-on experiences in an alcohol and drug treatment center. During your course, you can expect to learn things such as:

  • Chemical dependency counseling
  • Counseling theories
  • Techniques for group counseling
  • Social work
  • Counseling women
  • Working with families of drug and alcohol abuse
  • Social problems
  • Counseling adolescents
  • Public speaking

Iowa Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselor License

In order to practice as a substance abuse counselor in Iowa, you will need to be licensed, especially if you're working in a private practice. This will require you to gain the Alcohol and Drug Counselor Certification from the Iowa Board of Certification, which can be a temporary certification (tCADC), a permanent certification (CADC) or an international certification (iCADC).

To obtain one of these certificates, you will have to meet the certain criteria laid out by the Iowa Board of Certification. For example, to achieve the CADC certificate you will need a high school or general education diploma with 150 hours of relevant education included and six months full-time experience of working under supervision in substance abuse counseling in the past three years. You'll also need to pass the Supervisor's Counselor Evaluation and the IC&RD ADC exam.

Resources for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Counselor in Iowa

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More Iowa Substance Abuse Counselors Schools

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

School Name
Highest Award
Sioux City
Storm Lake
Cedar Rapids
Mount Vernon
Sioux Center
Des Moines
Des Moines
Doctorate & First Professional
Mount Pleasant
Sioux City
Cedar Rapids
West Burlington
Doctorate & First Professional
Iowa City
Doctorate & First Professional
Cedar Falls
Forest City

Job Popularity in Metro Areas for Substance Abuse Counselors

The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for Iowa. 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, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, BLS.gov

Metro Area
Annual Median Salary
Iowa City 140 $51,740
Des Moines-West Des Moines 300 $43,280


  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 31, 2016
  2. O*NET OnLine Summary Report for Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/21-1011.00, accessed October 31, 2016

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