Substance abuse counselors take in mean earnings of $44,160 in the United States and C$50,179 ($37,313 USD) in Canada. The substance abuse counselor salary spans from £17,000 ($21,765 USD) to £40,000 ($51,212 USD) in the United Kingdom. For substance abuse counselors in Australia, the mean pay amounts to AU$55,835 ($41,596 USD). Salaries for substance abuse counselors in New Zealand generally start at NZD$30,000 ($21,186 USD) and climb to NZD$75,000 ($52,969 USD).
How Much Does a Substance Abuse Counselor Make?
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Substance Abuse Counselor Salary Determinant Factors
Various types of employers staff substance abuse counselors. These include outpatient clinics, hospitals, criminal justice, nonprofit agencies and for-profit companies. In the United States, one in ten Substance Abuse and Behavior Disorders Counselors work in state and local government. These may include social service agencies and drug courts. Twenty-two percent are employed by outpatient centers, while one in five is stationed in residential facilities.
Generally, for-profit entities can expect to pay higher salaries than nonprofits. Substance abuse counselors in government agencies have their salary determined by governmental budgets. Thus, funding often turns on the priority the government gives to substance abuse counseling.
1. How Much Does a Substance Abuse Counselor Make by Country?
Substance Abuse Counselor Salary in the US
Substance abuse counselors in the United States have a mean pay of $44,160, as of May 2016. The median comes in at $41,070, with counselors in the 90th percentile fetching more than $65,080.
Substance Abuse Counselor Salary in Canada
The mean pay for substance abuse counselors stands at C$50,179 in Canada. These professionals earn in total from C$34,118 to C$86,400.
Substance Abuse Counselor Salary in the UK
In the United Kingdom, earnings for “Drug and Alcohol Workers” range from £17,000 to £40,000.
Substance Abuse Counselor Salary in Australia
Mean earnings for substance abuse counselors, reported by PayScale under “Addiction Counselors,” amount to AU$55,835.
Substance Abuse Counselor Salary in New Zealand
Addiction practitioners in New Zealand, who work as the equivalent of substance abuse counselors, fetch salaries between NZD$30,000 and NZD$75,000 per year.
According to the New Zealand Government, counselors are paid from NZD$48,000 to NZD$99,000.
2. How Much Does a Substance Abuse Counselor Make According to Experience?
A substance abuse counselor in the United States starts at a median salary of $34,000. That figure increases to $38,000 for counselors with five years of experience and $41,000 for those with a decade at the job. Upon crossing the 20-year threshold, a counselor can anticipate median pay to be $44,000.
Among “Drug and Alcohol Workers,” “Starters” in the United Kingdom make from 17,000 to 19,000 annually. At the “Experienced” level, salaries can go from 21,000 to 25,000. Those professionals who achieve “Highly Experienced” status see their pay run from 26,000 to 40,000.
For beginning counselors in one of New Zealand’s District Boards of Health, pay stands at NZD$48,000. With experience, yearly salary can increase to NZD$65,000. Those in senior roles can fetch up to NZD$99,000.
3. How Much Does a Substance Abuse Counselor Make According to Work Environment?
“Outpatient Care Centers” employ the largest number of substance abuse counselors in the United States. Pay in these settings average $42,930. However, “Junior Colleges,” “Elementary and Secondary Schools” and “Colleges, Universities and Professional Schools” ranked among the top five categories in terms of salaries. Counselors make $73,050 in junior colleges. The pay in “General and Surgical Hospitals” amounts to $52,640.
In New Zealand, counselors employed by District Boards of Health earn from NZD$48,000 to as much as NZD$99,000. Self-employed substance abuse counselors can earn more, depending on the number of clients they see.
Most substance abuse counselors pull full-time hours. In outpatient facilities, family services agencies, and private offices, counselors normally will work Mondays through Fridays and keep daytime hours. In treatment facilities, evenings, nights and weekends are part of the counselor’s job description.
Counselors in the United Kingdom normally work between 37 and 40 hours per week. In Australia, nearly 48.5 percent of counselors held full-time jobs.
Bonuses and Benefits
For substance abuse counselors in the United States, bonuses range from $201.80 to $3,123. Profit-sharing adds on average $2,750 to total compensation.
SalaryExpert reports a bonus of $846 for substance abuse counselors in Canada. The figure is £465 in the United Kingdom, AU$1,255 in Australia and NZD$1,030 in New Zealand.
Depending on the employer, substance abuse counselors may receive signing bonuses or incentives for serving areas with a lack of counselors or resources for addicts.
Overall, substance abuse counselors will see a strong outlook for employment. Addiction to drugs and alcohol continues to plague many families and communities. Increased access to health insurance and other funding for substance abuse and mental health counseling may encourage those battling addiction to seek help.
Sensing a link between substance abuse and crime, judges increasingly require defendants to counseling and treatment as an alternative to incarceration. Those charged with or convicted of impaired driving may have to attend counseling as part of their sentence or as a condition to the restoration of driving privileges. In the United Kingdom, roughly one-quarter to one-third of child abuse cases in the country arise from alcohol use.
In the United States, employment of substance abuse counselors should rise by 22 percent through 2024. This means 21,200 job openings. As of 2014, the United States had 94,900 substance abuse counselors.
In some regions, the small size of the occupation may suppress hiring. “Job Outlook” Australia reports that the country had 20,700 counselors as of November 2015, with openings ranging between 5,001 and 10,000 by November 2019.
Prospects for employment in New Zealand should be poor for counselors, due to the small size of the profession there.
Accumulating work experience and assuming senior or supervisory duties can increase pay for substance abuse counselors. Whether the counselor joins a for-profit entity or a nonprofit or public sector agency also shapes the size of the paycheck.
Aspiring substance abuse counselors can find ample opportunities for work as countries grapple with substance abuse and how it contributes to crime and discord in families and the greater society.