Drug and Alcohol Counsellors provide support and treatment for people with drug and alcohol dependency problems, develop strategies which assist them to set goals and affect and maintain change, and provide community education. They may work in call centres.

    A formal qualification in counselling (alcohol and drugs), mental health, psychology, social work or a related field is needed to work as a Drug and Alcohol Counsellor. VET (Vocational Education and Training) and university are both common study pathways for Drug and Alcohol Counsellors.

    Tasks

    • Assesses client needs in relation to treatment for drug and alcohol abuse.
    • Conducts counselling interviews with individuals, couples and family groups.
    • Assists people in the understanding and adjustment of attitudes, expectations and behaviour.
    • Presents alternative approaches and discusses potential for attitude and behavioural change.
    • Consults with clients to develop rehabilitation plans taking account of vocational and social needs.
    • May work in a call centre.

    All Counsellors

    • $1,584 Weekly Pay
    • Very strong Future Growth
    • Lower unemployment Unemployment

    Drug and Alcohol Counsellors

    • 1,600 workers Employment Size
    • Very high skill Skill level rating
    • 64% Full-Time Full-Time Share
    • 41 hours Average full-time
    • 45 years Average age
    • 63% female Gender Share

    The number of people working as Drug and Alcohol Counsellors (in their main job) stayed about the same over 5 years:
    from 1,500 in 2011 to 1,600 in 2016.

    • Size: This is a very small occupation.
    • Location: Drug and Alcohol Counsellors work in many parts of Australia. Victoria has a large share of workers.
    • Industries: Most work in Health Care and Social Assistance; Other Services; and Public Administration and Safety.
    • Full-time: Many work full-time (64%, similar to the average of 66%).
    • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 41 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
    • Age: The average age is 45 years (compared to the average of 40 years).
    • Gender: 63% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

    Employment Outlook

    Number of Workers

    No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

    Weekly Earnings

    Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

    No data is available for the selected graph for this Occupation.

    Main Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
    Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
    Health Care and Social Assistance87.4
    Other Services5.1
    Public Administration and Safety5.0
    Administrative and Support Services1.2
    Other Industries1.3

    States and Territories

    • NSW

    • VIC

    • QLD

    • SA

    • TAS

    • NT

    • ACT

    Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

    Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    StateDrug and Alcohol CounsellorsAll Jobs Average
    NSW24.431.6
    VIC33.525.6
    QLD11.820.0
    SA6.27.0
    WA14.110.8
    TAS2.92.0
    NT4.51.0
    ACT2.61.9

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% Share)

    Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    Age BracketDrug and Alcohol CounsellorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    15-190.0-5.05.0
    20-242.7-9.39.3
    25-3422.7-22.922.9
    35-4424.0-22.022.0
    45-5424.5-21.621.6
    55-5912.8-9.09.0
    60-648.9-6.06.0
    65 and Over4.4-4.24.2

    Education Level

    Highest Level of Education (% Share)

    Source: ABS, ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
    Type of QualificationDrug and Alcohol CounsellorsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate20.5-10.110.1
    Bachelor degree29.4-21.821.8
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma26.6-11.611.6
    Certificate III/IV13.3-21.121.1
    Year 124.3-18.118.1
    Year 112.1-4.84.8
    Year 10 and below3.8-12.512.5

    A formal qualification in counselling (alcohol and drugs), mental health, psychology, social work or a related field is needed to work as a Drug and Alcohol Counsellor. VET (Vocational Education and Training) and university are both common study pathways for Drug and Alcohol Counsellors.

    Membership with The Australian Counselling Association may be useful.

    Checks, licences and tickets

    You may need:

    • national police check
    • working with vulnerable people and children check

    Thinking about study or training?

    Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

    • Search and compare thousands of higher education courses, and their entry requirements from different institutions across Australia at Course Seeker website.
    • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.
    • Compare Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses, providers and student outcomes on the My Skills website.
    • You might be interested in Community Services VET training pathways on the AAPathways website.

    Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

    Useful links and resources


    The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

    Employers look for Counsellors who can communicate clearly and are caring and compassionate.

    Filter Skills & Knowledge

    Knowledge

    These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

    1. Therapy and Counseling

      95% Skill level

      Diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and career counselling and guidance.

    2. Psychology

      89% Skill level

      Human behaviour; differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; research methods; assessing and treating disorders.

    3. Customer and Personal Service

      76% Skill level

      Understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

    4. Education and Training

      71% Skill level

      Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

    5. Clerical

      67% Skill level

      Word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office work.

    Occupational Information Network
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 21-1011.00 - Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors.

    Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

    Filter Work Environment

    Demands

    The physical and social demands workers face most often are shown below.

    1. Face-to-Face Discussions

      98% Important

      How often do you talk with people face-to-face?

    2. Indoors, Heat Controlled

      95% Important

      How often do you work indoors with access to heating or cooling?

    3. Contact With Others

      94% Important

      How much do you have contact with people (face-to-face, by telephone, or any other way)?

    4. Work With Work Group or Team

      91% Important

      How important is it to work with others in a group or team?

    5. Freedom to Make Decisions

      90% Important

      How much freedom do you have to make decision on your own?

    Occupational Information Network
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 21-1011.00 - Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors.

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