So you’ve decided to become a substance abuse counselor. Great! I just want to help make you aware of certain things in regards to the employment you’ll be seeking. Many times, people sign up for their substance abuse counseling certificates with an online program because let’s face it. It’s a lot easier to do a lot of this work from home if given the chance. We’d all prefer it.
Discrimination against Online Certification
But let’s look at the reality of the situation. Discrimination still exists. It may be politically incorrect or even illegal, but people will still hold the fact that your certificate was obtained online against you. Regardless of the fact that you went and spent tons of time under supervision and management. Regardless that you got tons of real in-the-field experience. They will hold it against you. Not everyone will, but just realize that the possibility is there.
Never accept a lower salary because someone is discriminating against you. If you just want to take a lower paying job so you can get more experience under your belt and on your resume, then by all means go for it. But don’t take a cut because someone else is being a jerk.
The Need for Prior, Unavailable Experience
I’d like for you to also realize a second thing. Many employers expect for you to have had some experience before they want to hire you for a position in their company, and this is especially true as a substance abuse counselor. They want to see that you know how to work with this special population. So what the heck? If they won’t hire you, how can you get experience?
Well, if it really boils down to it, make the sacrifices to go work in all kinds of “social work” careers. Work at a nursing home for half a year. Volunteer with children with mental disabilities for half a year. Become a frontline counselor at a residential treatment facility. There are lot’s of ways to fluff up your resume in regards to this kind of work. Be a therapist’s intern for a while. Get clever and you’ll figure out your options.
Also consider making yourself more valuable by getting trained in First Aid, CPR, Defibrillator use, and more. The more you show that you have health knowledge, the better. Any psychological training, any health training, etc. All of this will serve you in the long run.
Best of Luck!
Think about what it may take and get it done! Never give up. It is your dream and wish to help other people, so help yourself first so you can obtain the position you want. You can do it!