Employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is expected to grow by 27 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than the average for all occupations. Growth is expected as more people seek treatment for their addictions or other behaviors and drug offenders are increasingly sentenced to treatment rather than jail time.
In recent years, the criminal justice system has recognized that people committing crimes related to drugs are less likely to offend again if they get treatment for addiction. As a result, sentences for drug offenders often include treatment programs. This practice is expected to increase the use of substance abuse treatment programs and the demand for addiction counselors.
Also, over the projections period, more people are expected to seek treatment for problems with addiction or other problems. As the population grows, the number of individuals entering therapy is expected to increase as well. This is expected to cause a continued demand for counselors in mental health centers, halfway houses, and detox centers.
Employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors in residential mental health and substance abuse facilities is expected to grow by 44 percent from 2010 to 2020. As more individuals seek treatment, there will be an increase in demand for counseling services in residential facilities.
Employment growth from 2010 to 2020 for the industries employing the most substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is as follows:
|Individual and family services||49%|
|Residential mental health and substance abuse facilities||44|
|Hospitals; state, local, and private||17|
|Outpatient mental health and substance abuse centers||16|
|State and local government, excluding education and hospitals||7|
Job prospects are excellent for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, particularly for those with specialized training or education. Employers often have difficulty recruiting workers with the proper educational requirements and experience in working with addiction. In addition, many workers leave the field after a few years and need to be replaced. As result, those interested in entering this field should find favorable prospects.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition