Alcoholism Interventionist: Job Duties & Career Requirements

Oct 20, 2021

Job Description for an Alcoholism Interventionist

Alcoholism intervention, or alcohol abuse intervention, is a specialization within the field of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counseling. The key duty of an alcoholism interventionist is to help an alcoholic's family and friends convince their loved one to seek treatment. The interventionist acts as an objective third party during an intervention, supporting the family as it confronts the person suffering from alcoholism in a firm, but loving manner. The alcoholism interventionist's role is two-fold: helping the friends and family to clarify and express their concerns, and helping overcome the alcoholic's sense of denial. Typical duties for an alcoholism interventionist include preparing friends and family for interventions, conducting interventions and making treatment referrals.

Required Education Varies by location and employer; a bachelor's degree or equivalent professional experience in a relevant field often required
Job Duties Preparing friends and family members, facilitating the intervention, making treatment referrals
Median Salary (2019)* $46,240 (all substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors)
Job Outlook (2019-2029)* 25% growth (all substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

The educational requirements to become an alcoholism interventionist vary by location and place of employment. A bachelor's degree or equivalent professional experience in a field such as counseling, family therapy or substance abuse therapy is often necessary to become an alcoholism interventionist. Coursework in a 4-year degree program includes individual therapy approaches, social and behavioral science, theory of substance abuse and counseling education.

Licensing Requirements

Many alcoholism interventionists are certified as drug and alcohol assessors or licensed as substance abuse counselors or family therapists; requirements for these certifications and licenses vary. A variety of certifications are also offered by the National Association of Drug and Alcohol Interventionists (NADAI) and include titles such as Certified National Drug and Alcohol Interventionist, 12-Step Recovery Facilitator and Certified Addictions Counselor. The NADAI takes into account life experience for those lacking informal education.

Required Skills

To have a successful career in alcoholism intervention, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that workers should hold the following qualities:

  • Ability to handle awkward and stressful situations gracefully
  • Good communication skills
  • Compassion and patience
  • Active listening skills, including the ability to hear subtext (hurt through anger)

Employment and Salary Outlook

According to the BLS (, the employment outlook for substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors was excellent, with job growth in the field expected to be 25% from 2019-2029. Median annual wages for substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors in May 2019 were reported as $46,240.

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