Overview of Online Substance Use Counseling in Georgia
Recent statistics demonstrate the rising drug misuse crisis in Georgia. According to the state's public health department, opioid-involved overdose deaths increased by 55.9% between 2019 and 2021, rehab admissions rose by 11% between 2017 and 2019, and the number of deaths related to alcoholism increased by 26% between 2018 and 2020.
Fortunately, government officials, healthcare providers, and other stakeholders have collaborated on a number of strategies to prevent substance misuse and provide better treatment. Specifically, the Georgia Department of Public Health formed the Opioid and Substance Misuse Response Program to lead a cohesive, statewide response to these issues.
Among the state's many proactive steps taken to address substance abuse prevention are the development of programs designed to address drug and alcohol use among new mothers and people under 25 years old, the creation of a statewide prescription drug monitoring system, and the roll-out of several educational campaigns on the dangers of opioids and the benefits of a drug-free lifestyle.
Georgia has also initiated a State Targeted Response, which uses grant money to increase access to treatment, reduce unmet treatment needs, and establish prevention and recovery activities. This commitment to providing more and better treatment may explain why ProjectionsCentralis projecting a 32.2% increase in the number of jobs for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health therapists.
You can go far with a counseling bachelor's degree in Georgia. Discover your options on our lists of the best online substance abuse counseling programs, the most affordable online substance abuse counseling programs, and the best online counseling programs.
FAQs About Substance Use Counseling Degrees in Georgia
What Can You Do With a Substance Use Counselor Degree in Georgia?
Graduates who hold a substance use counselor degree and want to work in this field in Georgia will find that there is a range of possible career options available.
If you would like to work directly with individuals suffering from substance use disorders, you'll need to obtain one of the state's four levels of substance abuse certification. Each successive level requires more advanced education and training. With a bachelor's degree in substance abuse counseling, you may qualify for one of the first three levels, but you'll also need a master's degree in counseling or a similar subject to qualify for the most advanced level of certification.
Of course, working in a clinical environment is not your only employment option. You could work in state and local agencies and nonprofit organizations dedicated to preventing drug misuse and providing treatment for individuals and their families. Some of the specific roles often found in these situations are health education specialist, community health worker, and community services manager.
How Do I Become a Substance Use Counselor in Georgia?
If your career objective is to become a substance use counselor in Georgia, you will need to apply for substance abuse certification after you have completed all of your training. The certification process may also include passing a national exam on drug and alcohol counseling.
The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Certification Board of Georgia (ADACBGA) is the credentialing authority that oversees and monitors the state's four levels of certifications. The board has set distinct requirements for each level:
- Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor-Trainee (CADC-T) applicants must have a high school diploma or GED. They need to provide documentation that they have completed 50 contact hours of formal education in the core functions of alcohol and drug counselors. They also need to provide documentation that they've had 300 hours of direct work experience and 30 hours of clinical supervision. CADC-T applicants are not required to take an exam.
- Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor-I (CADC-I) applicants must have a high school diploma or GED. They need to provide documentation that they have completed 300 contact hours of formal education, 6,000 hours of direct work experience, and 300 hours of clinical supervision. Candidates for this level of certification must pass the Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) exam sponsored by the International Certification and Reciprocity Consortium (IC&RC).
- Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor-II (CADC-II) applicants must meet similar requirements, but they need to hold a bachelor's degree in substance abuse counseling or a related field. They also need to provide documentation that they have completed 300 contact hours of formal education, 4,000 hours of direct work experience, and 200 hours of clinical supervision. CADC-II applicants also take the IC&RC Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ADC) exam.
- Certified Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CAADC) applicants need to have earned a master's degree in substance abuse counseling or a related field. They also need to provide documentation that they have completed 180 contact hours of formal education, 4,000 hours of direct work experience, and 200 hours of clinical supervision. CAADC applicants must pass the Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (AADC) exam. Only CAADCs are allowed to screen for, recognize, and coordinate care for co-occurring mental disorders in addition to providing substance use counseling in Georgia.
According to the state's requirements, you can earn either traditional or online substance abuse counseling degrees. However, all degrees must be from institutionally accredited schools. If you have not yet earned an undergraduate degree, you may be interested in our ranked lists of the best online substance abuse counseling bachelor's degrees and the most affordable online substance abuse counseling bachelor's degrees. If you're interested in graduate degrees, you'll find many options on our lists of the best online substance abuse counseling master's degrees and the most affordable online substance abuse counseling master's degrees. We only list schools that have earned institutional accreditation.
Does Georgia Have Reciprocity for Substance Use Counselors?
Yes, it may be possible for credentialed substance use counselors from other states to legally practice in Georgia. You can submit an application to provide face-to-face or online substance abuse counseling, and the Certification Committee and Board of Directors will review your qualifications. Your current certification body must also approve your application.
How Much Does a Substance Use Counselor Make in Georgia?
In Georgia, a substance use counselor can earn about $50,000 a year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health therapists earn a mean annual salary of $49,480. Currently, there are approximately 6,000 professionals working in the Peach State, but ProjectionsCentral is projecting a substantial 32.2% increase in jobs by 2030.