Question About work in the chemical dependency field:
I am planning to start school in the winter in the Chemical Dependency program. Can you tell me in simple terms , what I will be able to do with a two year AA degree? What is the potential income
and job availability? I am 56 years old and trying to start a new career. I love to help people, however I do not want to
make a choice that will not allow me to earn a living. I live in the tri-cities area.
Any information positive or negative about this would be greatly appreciated.
Chemical Dependency Professional Trainee (CDPT)
Your two year Associate
of Arts Degree in Chemical Dependency is part of the requirement to
be a "CDP" or Chemical Dependency Professional in a Washington State
licensed outpatient or inpatient Chemical Dependency Treatment
Facility. However, the AA degree is just part of the qualification.
To become a CDP you must also serve as an intern and do 3,000 hours
of supervised counseling. Generally the first half of the hours are
unpaid. If you are a promising intern and the work is available, you
may then begin to receive a salary while you complete the final half
of your internship.
Since drug and alcohol
counselors in the past were most often in recovery themselves and
academic requirements were extremely low, the new requirement for an
AA degree are creating a shortage of applicants. Salaries tend to be
lower than for other counselor specialties that require a Masters
Drug and Alcohol
Counselor layoffs occur frequently as the number of clients
at inpatient and outpatient facilities varies up and down with the season. It
seems that no one wants to start alcohol or drug treatment during
the holiday season. Before Thanksgiving, the number of new clients
drops off until after Christmas and New Year's Day. (In
my first job as a CD counselor--years ago--I was laid off just before the staff
Christmas party on the day before Christmas.)
The 2008 counselor law
provides for the category of "Chemical Dependency
Professional Trainee" (CDPT) means an individual working toward the
education and experience requirements for certification as a
chemical dependency professional. You may renew this category four
(4) times as you work to complete the requirements. That means you
have a total of five years to finish your requirements.
I strongly recommend
that you visit at least two chemical dependency treatment facilities
in your area and talk to the director or treatment supervisor about
your possible career as a CDP. Ask them about the advantages and
disadvantages of work as a Chemical Dependency Professional.
For some reason, people often don't think of consulting with those
who are in the best position to know.
Also see: More information on Chemical Dependency