substance abuse prevention specialist

The Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Designation

A Prevention Specialist is another international credential that you can obtain in the substance abuse field, and it’s an important one.  As you know, the Affordable Care Act has gotten a lot of attention recently, and this Act along with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) and the National Drug Control’s 2011 Strategy have placed prevention in the forefront of health care reform.  Local, state and national organizations are struggling to keep up with the rising demand for prevention professionals.

Adopted in 1994, the Prevention Specialist (PS) is one of the fastest growing credentials in the field of addiction-related behavioral healthcare.  If you become credentialed as a PS, you are not just limited to your tiny corner of the world, either.  There are now more than 50 U.S. States, territories and countries that offer as reciprocal PS credential.

Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Requirements

Again, this depends partly on where you live as States and Countries each have their own licensing boards.  However, one a typical requirement may look something like this:

  • Experience:  2000 hours of alcohol or drug (or other) prevention work experienceprevention specialist
  • Education: 100 hours of prevention-specific education, with some specific requirements for courses.
  • Supervision: 120 hours of supervisory experience in specific areas, such as Planning & Evaluation, Community Organization, Education & Skill Development
  • Examination: Pass a written Prevention Specialist Examination
  • Code of Ethics: Sign a prevention specific code of ethics and affirmation statement
  • Recertification: 40 hours of continuing education every 2 years

Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Jobs

There are many different areas that a person can work in with this designation.  One is in treatment centers.  Another important area, however, is in the public arena.  The substance abuse prevention specialist may work in schools, community groups or other public agencies to help transmit the message of substance abuse prevention.  They may also volunteer in various areas or write grants for public and private organizations.  Salaries for these positions vary depending on several factors.  One of these is the location as certain parts of the country will pay higher salaries.  another factor is the type of employer.  According to Career Builder, a substance abuse prevention specialist could earn over $45,000 per year, although I think these numbers are bit high.

Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Outlook

The outlook for these jobs is excellent based on the state of the industry, our health care system and the need in the market. currently has over 1,600 listings for these types of positions on their site and you can find the same through searches on the front page of our website as well.  If getting the message of prevention is something that appeals to you, check out a career as a substance abuse prevention specialist.

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