When it comes to getting a job after their release from prison, felons find it challenging. Jobs they once had are lost and careers may be gone.
Felons may think no one will hire them, but there are resources available.
They will have to be willing to start a different career.
This blog post will address the issue of whether a felon can become an addiction counselor.
- What is an Addiction Counselor?
- What Education/Training Does an Addiction Counselor Need?
- How Much Does an Addiction Counselor Earn?
- An Opportunity for Felons?
- Supporting a Felon in Becoming an Addiction Counselor
What is an Addiction Counselor?
An addiction counselor is a person trained to give advice to people who suffer from alcoholism drug addiction, or eating disorders. They provide treatment in support to help the person recover from an addiction.
An addiction counselor works in a variety of settings such as mental health centers, community health centers, hospitals, and other outpatient clinics.
The duties of an addiction counselor includes the following:
- Evaluation of a person’s addiction, mental and physical health, and readiness for treatment
- Assists a person in developing treatment goals and plans
- Reviews and recommends treatment options
- Health acres and develop skills in behavior is essential in recovering from their addiction
- Works with a person to identify behaviors or situations that may prevent their recovery
- Teaches a person and their family about addiction and helps them develop coping strategies
- Refers a person to other resources for additional services
There are certain skills important to be successful as an addiction counselor:
- Compassion and caring to help people deal with the stress of their addiction
- Listening skills to allow a person to share the difficulties they face in their addiction
- Patience to deal with the emotions of a person with a severe addiction
- Communication skills to be able to share vital information with a person and their family
- Knowledge of various conditions and effective treatment options
- Organizational skills to be able to keep up with the necessary paperwork created in working with addictions
- Effective time management skills important in operating on a hectic schedule in a stressful environment
What Education/Training Does an Addiction Counselor Need?
The basic educational requirements for an addiction counselor consists of a high school diploma or a GED.
Typically, a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree is required for most work in the field of addiction.
For anyone interested in becoming an addiction counselor, it is recommended they contact the state in which they intend to live for exact requirements.
In order to become a licensed addiction counselor, all states require a master’s degree and 2000 to 4000 hours of supervised clinical experience.
Not all states require a degree that typically applicants will have to pass the state exam to become licensed.
Anyone wanting to become an addiction counselor but who does not hold a degree is required to complete 270 hours of appropriate coursework.
An applicant must also complete 300 hours of supervised experience at an accredited school or college.
Training must be provided by a qualified credentialed counselor.
In order to become a licensed chemical dependency counselor (LCDC), they will need at least an associate’s degree and all of the necessary supervised clinical hours.
How Much Does an Addiction Counselor Earn?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there are approximately 91,000 addiction counselors. This occupation is expected to show a 22% growth by 2024.
The average salary for an addiction counselor in 2015 was $45,000 annually.
Geographic location, certification, experience, and specialization could have a significant impact on these earnings. An addiction counselor on the East or West coast as well as in the Southwest region of the U.S. typically receives a higher salary than for one in other areas.
An Opportunity for Felons?
While the requirements for felons becoming an addiction counselor differ somewhat depending on the state, typically, there are certain important factors.
These criteria will be considered as to whether a crime relates the occupation of an addiction counselor:
- Nature and seriousness of the crime
- Relationship of the crime to the purposes of an addiction counselor
- Extent to which an addiction counselor license might offer for further criminal activity
- Relationship of the crime to the duties and responsibilities of an addiction counselor
- Extent and nature of past criminal activity
- Age when the felony was committed
- Amount of time since last criminal activity
- Amount of time since release from incarceration
- Conduct and work history before and after the conviction
- Evidence of rehabilitation
- Other evidence of fitness, including letters of recommendation from law enforcement officials and employers
In order to be successful in their pursuit of becoming an addiction counselor, it is essential for felons to be honest about their background. Lying about their conviction will prevent them from becoming an addiction counselor.
It is important to be honest in filling out an application for certification. If a felony isn’t disclosed but found on doing a background check, this constitutes fraud and is a punishable crime which would require an attorney and could result in their being sent back to prison.
They are already working with the often negative perceptions of being dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures.
Having their felony expunged can give them the chance they need to begin with a clean record and succeed in becoming an addiction counselor.
Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that they have not been convicted of a crime.
Supporting a Felon in Becoming an Addiction Counselor
Families of felons who want to pursue a goal of becoming an addiction counselor, encourage your loved one and support their efforts to live an honest life, change their lifestyle, and keep their dreams alive.
They have made mistakes and have served time, but they have paid the consequences for their past actions. They are not defined by their crime.
It is time for them to move forward and live an honest life. They can make a good employee.
Your family member is worth the effort, if they are sincere in their desire to become an addiction counselor.
Help them realize their ambition no matter how difficult the road might be.
What do you think about this blog post? Are you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become an addiction counselor with a felony? What was that like for them, and how did they achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.