Hospitals, outpatient centers, schools and government agencies rely on drug abuse interventionists to evaluate why clients abuse drugs and help them get into treatment programs. If you care about people and would get satisfaction out of helping them overcome drug addictions, you may enjoy working as a drug abuse interventionist. In return, you can expect to earn a salary averaging more than $40,000 annually.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics includes drug abuse interventionists in its "substance abuse counselors" job category. These professionals earned average annual salaries of $40,920 as of May 2012. The top 10 percent made more than $60,000 a year, while the bottom 10 percent earned $25,140 or less. Educational requirements vary by the job type, employer and your own professional experience, and can range from a high school diploma to a master’s degree. Many drug abuse counselors and interventionists hold at least a bachelor's degree in behavioral science, substance abuse counseling, social work or a related major. Essential qualities include compassion and patience as well as listening, speaking and people skills.
Salaries by Employer
The BLS reports that the biggest employers of drug abuse counselors in 2012 were outpatient care centers, which paid an average of $39,240 a year. Mental health, substance abuse and similar facilities ranked second in employment and paid $36,580 a year on average. The highest average salaries, $55,320 a year, were paid by colleges, universities and professional schools, though employment in this field was low. Drug abuse interventionists in an elementary, middle or high school averaged $51,300 a year. Those who worked for general medical and surgical hospitals averaged $49,450, while those at psychiatric and abuse hospitals averaged $44,630.
Average by Location
Among the states, drug abuse interventionists and counselors earned the highest annual salaries of $51,290 in Michigan, according to 2012 BLS data. Those in Alaska and Connecticut also enjoyed above-average salaries of $50,270 and $47,180 per year, respectively. Drug abuse interventionists in New York averaged $44,510 a year, while those in Florida averaged $42,010. On the low end of the scale, drug abuse counselors in West Virginia averaged $26,550 a year.
Excellent Job Growth
The BLS predicts a 27 percent increase in employment for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors from 2010 to 2020, which is nearly double the 14 percent national rate for all occupations. More people are expected to enter substance abuse treatment centers during this decade, which should create more jobs for drug abuse interventionists. In addition, the U.S. Justice Department reports that people who commit crimes while under the influence of drugs are less likely to commit additional crimes if they get treatment. This should drive an increase in the number of drug abuse interventionist jobs with local police departments.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors: Summary
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: What Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors Do
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: How to Become a Substance Abuse or Behavioral Disorder Counselor
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors: Job Outlook
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselor:
- U.S. News & World Report: Money: Substance Abuse Counselor