Get Started in the Addictions Field

As a young adult, or someone changing careers, it can be intimidating trying to determine if a certain career is right for you. The more information you have, the better equipped you will be in making an informed decision. Below is an action plan which may assist you in determining if a career in addictions treatment and recovery services is right for you.

1. First, reference SAMHSA’s Substance Abuse Treatment Facility Locator to locate contact information on substance abuse treatment facilities in your area. Then, contact a variety of these facilities and offer to volunteer. Ask if you can work in different areas of each facility in order to gain knowledge and insight on several facets of the organization, such as case management, intake and assessment, child care services, administration, group education or counseling. Each organization will differ in what they offer, but observing a an agency's various components will help you determine where your skills and interests would be best suited.

2. Shadow an addictions professional or a few days. Ask questions and take notes. This will give you the unique perspective of observing someone who has already made the decision to become an addictions professional.

3. Conduct interviews with addictions professionals. Interview a variety of individuals to get a broad sense of the field. If you are interested in becoming a counselor, interview counselors at different types of agencies and compare how their jobs are similar or different. Below are some sample questions you might ask:

4. Find the Directory of Addiction Study Programs or use the College and Navigation Comparison Tool on the ATTC Network Web site to identify educational institutions in your area offering degrees and courses in addictions. Note the requirements for each program.

5. Review Certification Info to determine your state's certification and licensing requirements. Contact the agency in your state directly to learn more.

6. Listen to testimonials and watch the Imagine Who You Could Save video highlighted on this Web site.

7. Take the Career Finder Assessment offered by the Office of Science Education’s LifeWorks Web site or look at NAADAC's Career Center for job postings and more.

8. Look for education opportunties and discover ways to finance your education:
CareerShip - matching interests with careers
CollegeView - locate resources to way for your education - learn how to apply for college and financial aid
Mapping Your Future - resource on career, college, financial aid, and money management
Tuition Coach - Learn how to finance the college of your dreams - Online resource amoung 18 accredited private colleges and universities in Kansas.

9. Build your resume. Visit the following links for assistance:
MSN's Career Builder
Resume Basics

10. Review the various resources found in

Plus! Talk to established leaders in the field. Visit the Ask a Professional section of the ATTC Network Web site.



Produced by the Northeast ATTC, NAADAC, Central East ATTC, and the ATTC National Office.
Funded in part by a grant from SAMHSA/CSAT and a variety of other sponsors.