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What Income Can You Expect for an Addiction Therapist in Virginia?

In the state of Virginia, the average expected salary for an addiction therapist actively working full time in the field is approximately $43,520 per year. This is slightly more than the annual national average of $40,420, so Virginia professionals are doing quite well. However, there is always room for improvement, and if you are not happy with your current salary or would like to know how to make more once you start working in the field, we've provided a few tips that can help you to boost your salary.

  1. Education is Key: No matter what profession you're in, you will make more money if you have a higher level of education, even if that education doesn't pertain completely to the field in which you work. The same is true for addiction therapists. Those who possess associate's degrees alone tend to make the least amount of money. Workers in the field with at least a bachelor's degree are the average and, as such, tend to make about the average amount per year. With a master's degree or a doctoral degree, however, you can make well above and beyond the average salary, especially if you work in an atmosphere like a hospital or a private clinical practice where salary amounts are already well above the norm.
  2. Licensure and Certification: Another big way to boost your salary without doing too much additional work is to seek licensure or certification. Often times, if you already possess some level of a degree and are already working in the field, you may have completed almost all of the requirements for licensure or certification without even knowing it. Most certifications only require a set number of hours of direct supervised experience with patients, a related educational background, and the passing of a oral or written exam. If you want to make a little more money, then this is definitely something to look into.
  3. Make Your Resume Shine: One of the reasons many people end up earning smaller salaries than they actually should is because their resumes lack experience. You can gain experience and pad your resume, however, without ever having an actual job in the field. Taking on a paid or even an unpaid internship in the field is an excellent way to get experience. You can also volunteer your time with related organizations or causes and add that to your resume as well. Plus, both of these things are great ways to meet professionals working in the field and to make important connections that can lead to jobs later on down the road. In fact, some workers even end up being employed by the company or organization where they completed their internships.
  4. Make Yourself Invaluable: Hands down, the simplest and most effective way to start making more money at your job is to be a better employee. As a rule, always come to work with a smile on your face and a positive attitude in place, even if you don't particularly like your current job. Always do what is asked of you without complaining and, if you're new to the field, ask questions and show an interest in different topics that come up at work. When a boss or supervisor takes notice – and they definitely will – you'll likely be remembered at promotion and raise time. It may sound too easy to work, but it really does. The best employees are the ones who end up getting the best salaries in the long run, so make a few little changes to make yourself invaluable to your boss.

These, of course, are just a few basic suggestions for boosting your salary as an addiction therapist. You can also choose to take more drastic measures, such as moving to a new and larger town in the state where pay is higher, looking for work in a new type of environment, or even trying to open your own practice. Before you try one of these severe measures, however, make sure that you've given all of the tips on our list a fair try. Sometimes, salaries just won't budge at a particular job, and it is okay to go for a change.