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New York Health Careers

Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors

What Do Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors Do?

Substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors advise people who have alcoholism or other types of addiction (drugs, gambling, etc.), eating disorders, mental health issues or other mental or behavioral problems. They provide support and treatments to help the client recover from addiction or modify problem behaviors by helping them identify behaviors and issues related to their addiction. They may also teach clients how to cope with stress and life’s problems in ways that help them recover. Many times, they help clients rebuild professional relationships and reestablish their careers. They may also help clients improve their personal relationships and find ways to discuss their addiction or other problems with family and friends.

Many substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors work with other health and mental health professionals, such as psychiatrists, social workers, doctors, and nurses. Counseling sessions may be one-on-one, with families, or with groups of people.

For more information about substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors, click here.

Where Do Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors Work?

Substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors are most likely to work in outpatient care centers; they also work in individual and family service agencies and residential treatment facilities, mental health centers, community health centers, prisons, and private practice. Some work in a private practice alone or with other mental health professionals, and they may also work in hospitals or for public health programs.

What Do Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors Earn?

In 2017, the New York median annual income for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors was $44,390, slightly higher than the national median annual income for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors of $43,300.

Supply and Demand

Between 2016 and 2026, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors jobs nationwide will increase by 23.2%, and increase in New York by 29.5% during the same time period. The number of mental health counselors in New York will increase by 24.7%, slightly higher than the 23.1% increase nationwide for the same time period. For more information on the need for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors by New York labor regions, 2014-2024, click here.

New York Educational/Licensure Requirements

New York substance abuse counselors are credentialed by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS). The official title is Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC).The Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) is a state certification that requires both academic and work experience and is for individuals who wish to provide alcoholism and substance abuse and behavioral disorder counseling services in approved work settings in New York. In order to apply to become a CASAC in New York, applicants must be at least 18 years of age, reside or work in New York State at least 51 percent of the time, and must have earned at least a high school diploma or GED. CASAC applicants must meet specific competency and ethical conduct requirements, meet specific work experience requirements, meet minimum education and training requirements, and pass the credentialing exam.

For more information about CASACs in New York, go to: https://www.oasas.ny.gov/sqa/credentialing/CASACCover.cfm

New York State requires all mental health counselors to be licensed. For more information, click here.

Financial Support

Contact the financial aid offices of the education programs listed below to learn about financial support available at that school. Also, check the OASAS Resources page for additional support ideas and opportunities.

Education Programs in New York (subject to change)

The College at Brockport-SUNY
Substance Abuse Counselors
Mental Health Counselor
350 New Campus Drive
Brockport, NY 14420
(585) 395-2258
Plattsburgh State University of New York
Clinical Mental Health Counselor
101 Broad Street
Plattsburgh, NY 12901
(518) 564-2000
Cazenovia College
CASAC 350 Hour Certificate
22 Sullivan Street
Cazenovia, NY 13035
(800) 654-3210
Syracuse University
Clinical Mental Health Counselor
259 Huntington Hall
Syracuse, NY 13244
(315) 443-4752
University of Rochester
Mental Health Counselors
Warner School of Education
500 Joseph C. Wilson Blvd
Rochester, NY 14627
(585) 275-3950
Canisius College
Clinical Mental Health Counselor
2001 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14208
(716) 888-7000
Orange County Community College
Substance Abuse Counselor Training Program
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940
(845) 341-4890
Lehman College-CUNY
Substance Abuse Counselor
250 Bedford Park Blvd. West
Bronx, NY 10468
(718) 960-8000
Long Island University
C.W. Post Campus
Clinical Mental Health Counselor &
(OASAS) Substance Abuse Counselor Training
720 Northern Blvd.
Brookville, NY 11548-1300
(516) 299-2183
St. Bonaventure University
Clinical Mental Health Counselor
3261 West State Road
St. Bonaventure, NY 14778
(716) 375-2000
Iona College
715 North Avenue
New Rochelle, NY   10801
(914) 637-2770
(914) 633-2528
Clinton Community College
State University of New York
136 Clinton Point Drive
Plattsburgh, NY 12901
(518) 562-4192
Kingsborough Community College
2001 Oriental Boulevard
Brooklyn, NY 11235-2398
(718) 368-6547
(718) 368-5235
College of Staten Island
Office of Continuing Education
2800 Victory Boulevard
Staten Island, New York  10314
(718) 982-2182

Additional Web Links

For more information on substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, go to:

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