What is the Required Education to Become an Addiction Therapist in Kentucky?
In the state of Louisiana, there are many definitions of an "addiction therapist," and each one will require different levels of qualification. All of them, however, will require you to possess a formal education, so that is the first and most important step to starting your career as an addiction therapist. What exactly you want to do and the environment in which you wish to work will mandate what educational path you will need to follow, so it's important to know this before you begin working toward your dream.
If you just want to work in a hospital, rehabilitation center, or other setting as a basic counselor who helps to meet the daily needs of patients suffering from addiction, then you can often do this with only a bachelor's degree. Do keep in mind, however, that a bachelor's degree alone will not allow you to work one on one with the patients or to be the head therapist in a group therapy setting. So, if that's what your aim is, you will need to seek statewide qualification and possibly licensure depending upon where you wish to work. Your best bet is to talk with a career counselor or with others working in your chosen position to determine what you will need to do to get to where you want to be.
No matter what you wish to do, however, a bachelor's degree is an excellent start. Licensure and/or certification, when necessary, can only come after you have this level of education anyway. A bachelor's degree program, which usually takes around four years to complete, can be obtained from any accredited college or university in Louisiana or even from an online school. You can major in a wide range of subjects such as psychology, clinical psychology, sociology, or even physiology. If at all possible, however, you should seek a program that has a special emphasis on addiction and substance abuse. This will give you an advantage when you go out to look for jobs.
Of course, having education beyond a bachelor's degree, while not always necessary, can help you to make a higher salary in your chosen profession. Many master's degree programs in the state can be completed in as little as two years after obtaining your undergraduate degree. Once you have a master's degree, you will also always have the option of going back to school to obtain a doctorate degree. This is the degree you'll need for the highest position in the field.
When you have completed your educational path, you can either go through the certification and licensure process, which will require experiential learning and the passing of a statewide test, or you can gain more real world experience by completing an internship in your field of interest. If the job you are interested in does not require certification and/or licensure, then an internship is definitely your next step. Internships, which can be paid or unpaid, are basically like full or part time jobs that you work with the goal of gaining real experience in your field. Not only do they look great on a resume, but they can also help you to make important professional connections in your field of interest. In fact, many individuals who do well at their internships will end up being offered jobs by the place where they completed their internship. You can find out about internships from your college or university's career center or its equivalent. Some internship can be completed while you're still in college and can even be done for school credit, while others are open to recent graduates.