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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

Source: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) 2016-17, National Center for Education Statistics, http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/

School Name
Campus
Highest Award
Total Enrollment
Seattle
Doctorate
46,166
Pullman
Doctorate
30,614
Bellingham
Masters
15,915
Bellevue
Bachelors
13,322
Ellensburg
Masters
12,901
Cheney
Doctorate
12,607
Vancouver
Bachelors
10,000
Lynnwood
Bachelors
8,100
Spokane
Doctorate
7,506
Seattle
Doctorate
7,278
Seattle
Bachelors
6,928
Des Moines
Bachelors
6,824
Bremerton
Bachelors
6,476
Lakewood
Bachelors
6,048
Spokane
Bachelors
5,589
Tacoma
Doctorate
5,162
Mount Vernon
Bachelors
4,670
Yakima
Bachelors
4,007
Seattle
Doctorate
3,783
Wenatchee
Bachelors
3,556
Centralia
Bachelors
3,122
Tacoma
Doctorate
3,122
Longview
Associates
2,935
Tacoma
Doctorate
2,701
Spokane
Masters
2,627
Port Angeles
Bachelors
2,094
Aberdeen
Bachelors
1,971
College Place
Masters
1,825
Lacey
Masters
1,565
Walla Walla
Bachelors
1,510
Kirkland
Doctorate
1,250
Kirkland
Masters
1,116
Toppenish
Masters
1,044
Seattle
Doctorate
614
Bellingham
Bachelors
544
Seattle
Doctorate
22

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.

2017 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2016-26 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; O*NET® 23.1 Database, O*NET OnLine, National Center for O*NET Development, Employment & Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor, onetonline.org

Metro Area
Jobs
Annual Median Salary
Bremerton-SilverdaleN/A N/A
BellinghamN/A N/A
LongviewN/A N/A
Kennewick-RichlandN/A N/A
Mount Vernon-AnacortesN/A N/A
Olympia-TumwaterN/A N/A
Seattle-Tacoma-BellevueN/A N/A
Spokane-Spokane ValleyN/A N/A
YakimaN/A N/A

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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