In order to become credentialed as a substance abuse counselor, you will need to be supervised for a number of hours. This is an area where the requirements can vary significantly from state to state. You will have your supervisor on the job, which means that you will have to be an employee, intern or volunteer. You will also have a supervisor, who is your trainer that guides you through the certification process. In some situations this will be the same person and in those situations, you may not have much choice who supervises you through this process. In many cases, however you will have a separate supervisor that may not be your boss or even work for the same organization. This often is the case because your boss may not have the right qualifications to be your supervisor.
For example, let’s say that you are trying to become a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor, and your boss is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). In some states this may be okay, but some require that your supervisor have the credential that you are trying to get and many now require that your supervisor be a Certified Clinical Supervisor (CCS) or have another supervisor credential. Check with your local board to find out the requirements. Let’s assume that you are responsible for finding your supervisor. Here are some things to consider.
- Get recommendations. Ask people you work with or take classes with who they recommend. Supervisors will get a reputation. Find out who has a good reputation.
- Make sure that you have a good “connection” with your supervisor. It is similar to finding a sponsor in AA. It is going to work better if you have someone you can relate to.
- Be sure that they have the time to supervise you. If you find that they are very difficult to get in touch with, that may be an indication that they are too busy to fit you in to their schedule every week.
- Remember that it is your career, so you have to take responsibility for fulfilling all of the requirements. Hopefully you will have a supervisor who does a good job of guiding you through this process, but don’t depend on them to remind you of everything that needs to be done.
- Make their job as easy as possible. Have all of the forms that they need already printed up. You can’t complete forms for them, but you can have your name and any other identifying information already filled in.
- Supervisors need to be compensated. Maybe you will be fortunate and have an employer that helps with this, but again this is your career and your responsibility. The fees will vary according to the area you live. I have heard of fees as low as $25 an hour and as high as $125 an hour. I have known some to supervise 2 or 3 together for a discounted rate.
This is my perspective based off of my experiences. What are yours? What obstacles have you faced? What suggestions do you have? Please leave a reply.