Career & salary outlook

Local employers have identified a significant shortage in chemical dependency professionals, as well as a significant lack in cross-training between mental health and chemical dependency.

In Whatcom county, the average wage for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors is $21.96 per hour* and local demand is projected to grow by 21.9% over the next ten years.**

Regarding the national outlook, WOIS (wois.org) notes:

Demand is expected to be strong for addictions counselors. New health care laws require that insurance providers cover more mental health services. This will lead to more jobs for addictions counselors.

Several states have passed laws that require counseling instead of jail for people caught with drugs. This shift requires more addictions counselors in those states. Treatment centers are also believed to be more cost effective than prisons to run.

Sources: *Employment Security Department, Washington State, August 2017. **WOIS/The Career Information System.