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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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
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.
Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/
Doctorate & First Professional
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.
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 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 22.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org
Annual Median Salary