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Addictions Counsellor

Addictions counsellors help individuals, families and communities identify and deal with addictions through treatment and prevention programs.

  • Avg. Salary $61,978.00
  • Avg. Wage $33.93
  • Minimum Education 2 years post-secondary
  • Outlook above avg
  • Employed 6,100
  • In Demand Medium
Also Known As

Counsellor/Advisor, Drug and Alcohol Addiction Counsellor, Rehabilitation Services Practitioner, Substance Abuse Counsellor

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Family, Marriage and Other Related Counsellors (4153) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Family, Marriage and Other Related Counsellors (E023) 
  • 2011 NOC: Family, marriage and other related counsellors (4153) 
  • 2016 NOC: Family, marriage and other related counsellors (4153) 
Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

Average Wage
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Interest Codes
The Addictions Counsellor is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Family, Marriage and Other Related Counsellors

Interest in mentoring in order to counsel clients, and provide therapy and mediation services; and in assisting individuals and groups of clients to identify, understand and overcome personal problems and achieve personal objectives


Interest in co-ordinating information to develop and implement counselling and intervention programs to assist clients in determining goals and the means of attaining them; may conduct research, publish research papers, educational texts and articles


Interest in following up results of counselling programs and clients' adjustments; and in conducting vocational testing and psychometric assessment; may supervise other counsellors, social service staff and assistants

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 
It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Updated Dec 15, 2016

In general, addictions counsellors:

  • work with clients from diverse cultures and lifestyles who have eating disorders or are addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, sex or tobacco
  • assess client strengths, problem areas, severity of dependence and readiness to change
  • develop client treatment plans that are based on research, clinical experience and client history
  • provide information about addiction issues and about available services and programs and make appropriate referrals where necessary
  • conduct information sessions and therapy groups as required
  • counsel affected individuals and family members through all stages of recovery using appropriate intervention strategies and treatment approaches
  • review, evaluate and document client progress
  • provide aftercare and follow up as appropriate
  • develop public education, prevention and health promotion programs
  • work with organizations, institutions and communities to develop, implement and evaluate health and wellness programs.
Working Conditions
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Addictions counsellors may work in residential treatment centres, detox centres, group homes, overnight shelters, hospitals, outpatient centres, schools or community based agencies. Depending on the agency, they may work standard weekday office hours or work shifts that include evenings and weekends. Some travel may be required.

This work can be both emotionally rewarding and emotionally draining.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Addictions counsellors need the following personal characteristics:

  • emotional maturity and a balanced, healthy lifestyle
  • patience
  • tolerance for beliefs and values that are not their own
  • belief that individuals, families and communities have the ability to make changes with support
  • excellent communication and presentation skills
  • the ability to manage time effectively.

They should enjoy working with people, synthesizing information to find innovative solutions to problems, and helping others.

Educational Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

A related university degree is the preferred credential for addictions counsellors. Depending on the place of employment, a related two year post-secondary diploma plus related work experience or training also may be acceptable.

Post-secondary schools throughout Alberta offer related degree programs. For more information, see the Psychologist and Social Worker occupation profiles.

Although certification is not required to work in Alberta, individuals may seek certification from the Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certification Federation (CACCF).

Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Academy of Learning - Brooks

Academy of Learning - Calgary NE

Academy of Learning - Calgary South

Academy of Learning - Edmonton Downtown

Academy of Learning - Edmonton South

Academy of Learning - Edmonton West

Academy of Learning - High River

Academy of Learning - Medicine Hat

Academy of Learning - Red Deer

Academy of Learning Airdrie

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary City Centre

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary North

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Calgary South

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton North

CDI College of Business, Technology and Health Care - Edmonton West

Lakeland College

Mount Royal University

Northern Lakes College

Reeves College - Calgary City Centre

Reeves College - Calgary North

Reeves College - Edmonton

Reeves College - Lethbridge

Reeves College - Lloydminster

Sundance College - Edmonton

Vancouver College of Counsellor Training

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Dec 15, 2016

There is currently no provincial legislation regulating this occupation in Alberta.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Addictions counsellors are employed by agencies that offer prevention, health promotion, early intervention or treatment programs. They may work with dependent clients or in addiction programs, women's shelters, the criminal justice system, health services, schools or community programs.

Advancement opportunities depend on the counsellor's qualifications and the size and nature of the organization.

Addictions counsellors are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4153: Family, marriage and other related counsellors. In Alberta, 81% of people employed in this classification work in the Health Care and Social Assistance (PDF) industry.

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

In Alberta, the E023: Family, Marriage and Other Related Counsellors occupational group is expected to have an above-average annual growth of 3.3% from 2016 to 2020. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 205 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Family, marriage and other related counsellors

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $18.00 $37.42 $28.50 $28.41
Overall $20.07 $51.60 $33.93 $30.19
Top $20.90 $56.21 $38.76 $35.72

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

B: Good Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Good Reliability, represents a CV of between 6.01% and 15.00% and/or fewer than 30 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 50% of all estimated employment for the occupation.

Industry Information
Educational Services
Public Administration
Health Care & Social Assistance

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years


Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties


Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months


Vacancy Rate

Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
  • Social, Community and Protective Services
Other Sources of Information
Updated Dec 15, 2016

Canadian Addiction Counsellors Certificaton Federation (CACCF) website:

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 03, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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