Drug and alcohol counsellor

What they do

Drug and alcohol counsellors provide support and treatment for individuals and families that are experiencing drug and alcohol issues. They provide confidential counselling and help to develop strategies to assist people living with drug and alcohol problems to set goals and create a positive change in their life. They may also educate the wider community about alcohol and drug abuse and promote healthy living.

Drug and alcohol counsellors may provide counselling face to face with individuals or groups, or over the phone via a telephone support line.

Working conditions

Drug and alcohol counsellors may work for rehabilitation clinics, counselling services or community health clinics.

They may work from an office to provide individual or group counselling, or may be required to travel to visit clients. They may work within the community, in outreach vans or drop in centres where they deliver services and provide education. They may be required to work at night or on weekends.

Tools and technologies

Drug and alcohol counsellors may regularly use computers and office equipment to document and maintain records of their interactions with clients. They may also use a range of tests to assess their clients and determine their needs and progress. They may require a driver’s licence to travel to clients and groups within the community.

How do I become one?

Education and training

It is possible to work as a drug and alcohol counsellor without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in counselling, community work, mental health, psychology, social work or a related area.

The Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs, Certificate IV in Mental Health, the Diploma of Alcohol and Other Drugs, Diploma of Counselling, Diploma of Mental Health and Diploma of Community Services are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. Browse the Jobs and Skills WA and My Skills websites to find a training provider near you.

You can also complete a degree in counselling, psychology or a related area.

All universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.

Required registration and licensing

To work as a drug and alcohol counsellor in WA, you will need to obtain a Working with Children Check from the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Communities.