3 Things That Make Addictions Worker Training Worth Pursuing
Communities across the nation need caring people who have the compassion, skill, and generosity to help fellow Canadians in the grip of addiction. Without such professionals, countless individuals would lose the support necessary for recovering and reaching their fullest potential. That's what makes workers who specialize in helping people through chemical dependencies, behavioral excesses, and personal crises such bona fide heroes.
Just consider what the country faces: Addiction or mental health problems affect one in five people throughout Canada. And mental disorders are number two on the list of the nation's leading causes of disability and premature death.* Those are particularly sobering statistics given the fact that substance abuse and other addictions—which frequently go hand in hand with anxiety and depression—often go unreported.
Under the influence of an addiction, a person's decision-making can become irrational. It becomes impossible, without treatment and support, to control your actions. Your brain gets altered to the point that the systems governing reward and motivation cease to function properly. But, thankfully, through a lot of research and trial-and-error, addictions professionals have gotten a lot better at being able to safely intervene, treat addicts, and prevent relapses.
That's where being a support worker in this field comes into play. You get to be one of the people directly involved in improving the quality of life for those who need help getting back to a functional state of well-being. And the work comes with some possible upsides you might not expect.
1. High Demand and Compelling Income Potential
Social services, which include addictions intervention, treatment, and counselling, collectively represent one of the fastest-growing career sectors in Canada. As awareness about the effectiveness of such services increases, so does the demand for them. In fact, the community and social service workers, as a group, has been projected to grow by an average rate of 35 percent between 2015 to 2024.**
Plus, it's possible to make a comfortable living by working in this field. Canadians who are employed full-time performing community and social service work have the chance to earn a median wage of $21.00 per hour (about $43.680 per year) or up to $32.50 or more per hour (about $67,600 per year) with experience.**
2. Great Variety in Who You Can Help and What You Can Specialize In
All kinds of people can be affected by addiction. And the types of potentially addictive substances and behaviors are truly wide-ranging. As a result, having a career as an addictions support worker, counsellor, or outreach specialist can lead to interacting with a stunning diversity of people who are each battling something a little different. But it also allows for the possibility of specializing in a particular type of addiction or group of people.
For example, some workers deal primarily with people who are addicted to substances such as street drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or prescription drugs. Other workers might interact mostly with those suffering from addiction to habits like gambling, overeating, shopping, stealing, having sex, playing video games, surfing the Web, or overworking.
Many professionals in this field also eventually decide to specialize in helping a particular subset of people such as:
- Youth and families
- Ethnic minorities
- Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people
3. Lots of Workplace Possibilities
As this field grows, so does the variety of employment settings. Today, addiction support specialists can find work with:
- Group homes and therapy clinics
- Residential care facilities
- Intervention services
- Homeless relief shelters
- Mental health agencies
- Outpatient centres
- Medical detox clinics
- Community outreach agencies
- Social advocacy organizations
- Grant-making services
* Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), website last visited on July 19, 2016.
** Government of Canada, Job Bank, website last visited on January 17, 2017.
RehabPathway, website last visited on July 19, 2016.