Did you know that around 21 million Americans are dealing with a substance abuse disorder? If you have struggled with addiction before or know someone close to you that has, then you might be considering helping others struggling with addiction. We have put together this guide to share the top reasons to become a counselor.

Read on to learn more about taking on a counselor job.

1. Help Others

A major reason of becoming a counselor is that it can be a fulfilling career because you can truly make a difference in someone’s life and help them turn things around for the better. When you are helping people that are trying to overcome addiction, they are dealing with one of the hardest things they will ever have to deal with in their lives.

Your guidance is going to make a genuine difference to multiple people throughout your career. Not only will you make a difference in the person’s life, but also their entire circle of relationships will be affected by your help. Many times, a counselor that participates in drug and alcohol counseling programs is able to speak from experience, which makes it easier for people to relate to.

2. Pay

Although having a fulfilling career is a dream, we all have bills to pay and when you take a job as a counselor the pay tends to be reasonably well. The pay amount varies based on where you work and how much experience you have.

Thanks to the current demand, there is a lot of room for growth. You can eventually work towards working at a residential treatment center, where you can receive more pay and benefits due to the higher responsibilities.

3. Personal Experience

Usually, when you have a negative situation in your life, it impacts your future career and jobs. Counselor careers are one of the rare ones that you can use a negative point in your life and turn it into something positive. People suffering from addiction have a much higher response to someone that has similar life experiences to them.

As a counselor, this puts you in a position where you will be listened to and will have more influence in someone’s life. People with a past of alcohol and drugs that overcame it are still able to launch their career with this record. In a way, using this personal experience will also stop you from relapsing and using again because you will be focused on helping others by sharing your own experiences.

4. In Demand Field

Drug and alcohol counselors are in demand right now, so it is a good time to make the career move. Because of the pandemic, many people have been dealing with more mental health issues. This has caused many former addicts to relapse, and it has also caused some people to become addicted to something new due to too much extra downtime.

Many parts of the country are also dealing with an opioid epidemic, which means that in certain areas there are not enough centers and counselors to keep up with the high demand. Although, it is sad that so many people are dealing with these issues, from a career perspective this is a good thing because you are very likely to find employment in the field with the right education.

You might even be able to negotiate a higher salary or better benefits, depending on where you apply. If you have nothing holding you down, you might even want to consider moving to somewhere that has a high demand to ensure you receive the pay you want along with the career of your dreams.

5. Improve Your Life

Not only will you be improving the life of others, but you will also improve your own life in the process. Whenever you are giving people advice on their own lives, it will have you think and reflect on your own life decisions.

Giving to others is going to allow you to see how you turned around your own struggles (if you have personal experience with overcoming addiction) and it will put you in a place of gratitude. This gratitude will naturally increase your own emotional intelligence, which is going to help you in the long run with tackling future situations and issues that life throws at you.

You will become better at making “delicious lemonade when life throws lemons” your way. For example, because you have a better understanding of how to work through life’s stresses, you will be able to communicate this with others much more effectively. In turn, this skill is going to help you in your own personal relationships.

6. Nonstop Learning

As a counselor, you are never going to stop learning about human behavior. Counselors need to stay on top of continuous education to always stay ahead in the field. In certain states, you will also need to renew certifications and licenses every year in order to continue practicing.

Some facilities will also include trainings and workshops as part of your position that will expand your knowledge even more.

Ready to Become a Counselor?

Now that you learned the top reasons to become a counselor and start a new job, you can make an informed decision whether this is the right career move for you or not. If you choose to move forward – congrats!

Did our article help you out? Please continue browsing the rest of this section for our latest career guides.