Addiction and Substance Abuse Social Work

One of the many specializations in social work is addiction and substance abuse. This is a field that requires specific training in order to provide clients with the care and treatment services they need to become healthier. This area of social work requires a strong passion for helping others who struggle with issues around substance abuse disorders.

Distance learning has become more mainstream as technology improves and the need for a more convenient format of education grows. More and more accredited schools now make online delivery of curriculum an options to working professionals or students with family or personal commitments. These schools include Ashford University, Capella University, Purdue University, the University of Southern California, and Walden University.

Job Duties of an Addiction and Substance Abuse Social Worker

Many degree programs will train you to offer emotional support, provide individual and group counseling, and help people find the services needed to recover from alcohol and drug addictions. These services are often provided in private practice, hospitals, and in- and out-patient clinics. See the job description below, provided by The Bureau of Labor Statistics, for more information about the role of a substance abuse counselor:

  • Assess and evaluate clients’ mental and physical health, addiction or problem behavior, and readiness to treatment
  • Help clients develop treatment goals and plans
  • Review and recommend treatment options with clients and their families
  • Help clients develop skills and behaviors necessary to recover from their addiction or modify their behavior
  • Work with clients to identify behaviors or situations that interfere with their recovery
  • Teach families about addiction or behavior disorders and help them develop strategies to cope with those problems
  • Refer clients to other resources and services, such as job placement services and support groups
  • Conduct outreach programs to help people identify the signs of addiction and other destructive behavior, as well as steps to take to avoid such behavior

Degree Requirements for an Addiction and Substance Abuse Social Worker

In order to work in this area of social work, you’ll need to become certified in addition to earning a degree in social work. Many schools offer the certification necessary to qualify for employment. However, the setting and state in which you want to practice will determine the education and training requirements you’ll need.

It’s important when researching programs to find a school that will prepare you for any certification exams needed to work in this field. The list below includes accredited degree programs designed to prepare students to enter this field with the training they need to qualify for employment.

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