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Behind the best addiction treatment facilities are multidisciplinary teams of medical professionals and support staff. These people help individuals struggling with substance addiction begin the path toward lifelong recovery. Each one plays an essential role in the treatment process and beyond.
Educational requirements can vary widely within these careers, ranging from high school diplomas to medical degrees that can require more than a decade to receive. At the core of each staff member is a caring individual who wishes to help others lead healthier lives.
America has a high demand for workers in addiction treatment and behavioral health careers. In 2018, around 21.2 million Americans aged 12 or older needed substance use treatment, but only 3.7 million received it. Many areas of the U.S. lack mental health professionals, but an increase in recovery-focused roles could help close this treatment gap.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is projected to increase by 22% through 2028. Additionally, the need for social workers is expected to increase by 11% within the same time frame.
Technology has also made it easier to provide treatment to people with reduced access to professional support. Known as “telehealth,” it has become the next frontier in addiction treatment and recovery support.
Potential and current rehab clients have shown interest in telehealth services, but many centers do not offer it or fail to offer it in a meaningful capacity. However, the benefits of telehealth are numerous.
Telehealth increases access to life-changing health care for patients with transportation, scheduling or financial barriers. Its flexibility allows for continuous support outside the facility and it can improve the quality of care for remote patients. More and more facilities are working on expanding their telehealth services due to increased demand.
Working remotely as a therapist or counselor does not typically require additional credentials, which allows professionals to transition into telehealth roles without further training.
Roles in behavioral health and addiction treatment range from doctors to social workers to administrative staff. They often work in residential facilities, outpatient programs, therapist’s offices, and online telehealth platforms.
The job requirements and essential duties vary widely, but the following review can give you a better understanding of the typical roles found in treatment facilities.
These professionals create a plan for the patient’s treatment and oversee the process of recovery. Many roles require a master’s degree as well as medical licensing. Roles include:
Detox specialists help clients through the detoxification process, which is typically the first step of treatment. Throughout the uncomfortable detox period, these specialists create and follow plans that allow clients to manage withdrawal symptoms safely.
Nurses specialize in monitoring and treating patients for substance use disorders within the facility. They are also able to give support for mental health conditions. Nurses help provide pain management throughout a client’s stay and important information about substance abuse and its dangers. The role requires a nursing degree.
Doctors in rehab facilities require support for hands-on care, which is where behavioral health technicians step in. These technicians assist clients with daily tasks and help carry out the doctor’s orders.
These roles require a bachelor’s degree, but most states do not require licensing. Behavioral health technicians are also known as paraprofessionals, psychiatric technicians and mental health technicians.
Social workers help clients in a variety of ways during the treatment process and beyond. These social workers help uncover underlying issues behind substance abuse and address them, which helps clients have a better chance at long-term recovery. Among their many duties, social workers facilitate resources and support for clients as they leave treatment. They also act as case managers to help individuals navigate life situations.
Social workers require a master’s degree and state licensing in most situations.
There are a variety of other roles that do not require higher education or degrees related to medicine. These include:
The Recovery Village has several facilities throughout the United States, and we are always looking to add new professionals to our team of industry-leading experts. In addition to positions at one of our facilities, jobs are also available nationally through our telehealth platform. Our evidence-based approach to addiction treatment has made us one of the first organizations to be designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Substance Use Treatment. We are accredited by The Joint Commission, and our staff collectively holds over 3,000 professional credentials.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “2018 NSDUH Annual National Report.” August 20, 2019. Accessed April 9, 2020.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors.” September 4, 2019. Accessed April 9, 2020.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Social Workers.” September 4, 2019. Accessed April 9, 2020.