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How to Become an Addiction Counselor in Alabama

Addiction is a serious issue for many people. Whether you or someone you know is addicted to cigarettes, ice-cream or something much more detrimental to their bodies such as drinking or using drugs, the ramifications both physically, psychologically and mentally can be great and unless they get treated by a licensed addiction therapist, often fatal. The truth is, some people are more prone to an addictive personality than others and if they are, it is hard to stop a behavior or habit on their own. Addiction therapy can be very beneficial and if you have always wanted to become one, it is a career that is both professionally and personally rewarding. In the state of Alabama, here's how to become one..

The Role of the Addiction Therapist

Addiction therapists have many roles, each of which is as important as the rest. If you're just toying with the idea of becoming an Alabama addiction therapist, it's important to know what daily or regular task the job requires in order to determine if you are the right fit for this profession. An addiction therapist diagnoses clients after meeting with them and discussing their concerns and difficulties; counseling patients both individually and/or in groups; work as a team player; multitask and give therapeutic recommendations to patients and stay up to date on the latest addiction research and technology. A strong addiction counselor makes sure that they remain open-minded to any and all patients that come their way. A good counselor knows that there is no "typical" patient and that everyone will be a bit different from the next, with different needs.

How to Begin

As you begin on the pathway to becoming a licensed addiction counselor in Alabama, the first step to consider is getting a more advanced education. If you're a high school graduate, apply for a four year college. Whether you decide to earn your associate's degree or bachelor's degree, you are opening yourself up to set the foundation of your career path and creating an opportunity for yourself as an addiction counselor. While in college, take the time to learn about the addiction counselor career. Take advantage of volunteer opportunities in that field. For example, are there ways to help out at the local community center or homeless shelter? The more you can become exposed to different people's addictions, the more equipped you will be as a future licensed addiction counselor.

After graduating from your four year college and have earned your associate's or bachelor's degree, it's important to determine how much more of an education you want to pursue. For example, do you want to earn a certificate or becoming a licensed counselor? An Associates Addictions Professional Certificate (AAP) for example will qualify you to practice with a high school diploma and education and training through an accredited school. With a more advanced education, you can earn a Alabama Certified Addiction Counselor (AACC) certification which will give you more opportunity in the addiction community. Depending on the level of commitment and the number of hours you put into your education and training, will determine what level of certification you will qualify for. Whether you begin taking the AAP upon graduating with your associates and later in life progress to a more advanced certification, the state of Alabama is filled with opportunity for the eager addiction counselor who not only has the motivation to continue their training but wants to make a difference.

Many people decide that the best route for them in becoming a addiction therapist in Alabama is to earn their master's degree. It offers not only an extensive knowledge of addiction therapist topics during your study but can offer the most opportunity and freedom in your career. Alabama will require you to pass a state certified test no matter what level of certification you are going after. If you want to pursue a master's level certification to be an addiction counselor in Alabama, you must pass an ICRC written exam, submit a written case presentation and pass their oral exam. The exam will be a collaboration of all that you have learned in your studies, research and training and although a bit extensive, the key to your future career upon passing. While getting any degree to become a licensed addiction counselor will take time, its career path is worth it and a rewarding one in which you will help many people overcome their addictive tendencies.