Those who practice in the field of psychology are concerned with how and why people think and behave, and what contexts influence these functions. Factors like genetics, social impulses, learned behavior, and thought processes greatly impact the psychological health of the individual. Substance abuse psychologists are most concerned with the psychological, emotional, and social effects of chemical dependency on the individual.
Students who decide to pursue the bachelor's in substance abuse psychology will receive an introduction to the integral theories and concepts behind psychology, in addition to the fundamentals of chemical addiction. However, the educational process does not end there; throughout their career, substance abuse psychologists will undergo continuing education in order to develop practical skills, collaborate with other professionals, and help clients. Key competencies for this profession include interviewing clients, conducting assessments, and monitoring and evaluating clients' progress.
Why a Bachelor’s Degree?
The bachelor’s degree is a gateway to advanced education. Students who earn upper-level degrees in this field may decide to seek work as licensed counselors, clinical psychologists, and other occupations that require extensive knowledge and expertise to diagnose patients and treat their psychological conditions. It is important to note that graduate degrees are unnecessary for many positions in the field. For instance, many substance abuse psychology degree holders obtain entry-level positions at vocational rehabilitation centers, where they work one-on-one with clients to help them return to work.
Inside a Substance Abuse Psychology Bachelor’s Degree Program
Graduates will have the expertise necessary to enter entry-level positions in addictions centers, correctional programs, outpatient care centers, and counseling clinics. However, not all students will enter the field upon graduation. Some degree holders will find success in sales, administration, human resources, or other occupations where expert knowledge of psychology and human behavior will serve them well.
What's Next for Substance Abuse Psychology Bachelor's Degree Holders?
For students who wish to continue their education, the master’s degree in psychology with a concentration in substance abuse will prepare students to work as licensed substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors, or mental health and substance abuse social workers. For the latter position, a master’s degree in social work can prove beneficial. According to the BLS, these professionals earned an annual median salary of $39,270 in 2014.