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How to Get Certified to Be an Addiction Therapist in Hawaii

If you live in the state of Hawaii and plan on becoming an addiction therapist, you should know that you will have to seek certification in order to work in the field. Before you can do that, however, you will need to possess some kind of formal education in addiction therapy or in a related area. In order to do that, all you will require is a high school diploma. With your high school diploma, you can apply for various therapies undergraduate programs at local or online colleges and universities. Many working professionals in the field majored in psychology, physiology, and sociology as undergraduates, some with a concentration in addiction therapy or substance abuse counseling.

After you have an undergraduate degree, you might think about going on to get a master's degree in your area of interest. This is not necessary for all jobs, but it is for many of the higher up positions in the field. However, you can work your way up in the profession for a while and seek your graduate degree later if it is required for what you want to do. If, however, you already possess a bachelor's degree in an unrelated field, getting your master's in a related one is a great way to break into the profession without having to complete another four year degree. The good news is that most master's degree programs accept students from a wide variety of professional and educational backgrounds, so finding a good school – even if your major was something like mathematics or chemistry – should not prove too difficult.

Once you have your formal education, then it is time to begin thinking about certification. For almost all of the jobs in the addiction therapy or substance abuse counseling fields, you will need to have a certification. The exact type of certification you will need will depend heavily upon the exact job you want to do. Certifications include Chemical Dependency Professional certifications, Chemical Dependency Counselor certifications, and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor certifications. A chemical dependency professional might work in a substance abuse facility, such as a drug rehabilitation center or at a hospital, but will not be able to directly counsel individuals. That falls to actual chemical dependency counselors, who work one on one or in groups with patients to help them to work through and understand their problems with addiction. Licensed professionals do much of the same, but make more money because they are licensed to practice by the state of Hawaii. These individuals also have the option of opening up their own practices.

Certification requires you to complete a certain number of supervised experiential learning hours, arranged through the state certifying board. Licensure requires you to take it a step further and to complete supervised experiential learning hours in addition to more formal training and taking and passing a statewide licensing exam. It is up to you to sit down and think about what you really want to do and then find the correct career path you'll need to take to get there.