It would be ideal for people with substance use disorders to admit that they have a problem and need help; however, most addicts do not realize they have a problem. This is where intervention specialists - or interventionists - come in. Interventionists are specialists who lead interventions, which are meetings in which friends, family members, and spouses outline the problem in loving terms and try to encourage the individual to get professional help. If you are interested in helping people take that first step toward sobriety, below is a guide on how to become an interventionist.
A professional interventionist is an expert on addiction who works with an addict’s loved ones to get them all together to discuss treatment options and encourage the individual to get help. While they do not necessarily act as addiction counselors, they do educate families and addicts on the dangers of addiction.
Interventionists should be hired several days or weeks before the intervention is scheduled to take place, so they have time to cope with a guide or schedule for the meeting. Going through this planning process is important to ensure the intervention goes smoothly and is led by a professional, which can increase the likelihood of the addict accepting treatment.
An addiction intervention specialist can play a huge role in an addict's recovery. If you want to help people get sober and change their lives for the better, below is a guide on how to become an interventionist, including education requirements, salary, and more.
Intervention specialist education requirements may vary from state to state, though most interventionists obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology or social work. A bachelor’s is a four-year program and is considered a common requirement for most entry-level job positions, especially in the substance abuse career field.
Some organizations also require their interventionists to hold higher education, such as a master’s degree in social work or mental health counseling, so they can be better prepared to educate addicts and their loved ones on disorders and treatment options. Obtaining a higher degree not only allows you to specialize in your education but also increases your chances of being hired as well as obtaining a higher salary.
To become a certified interventionist, potential specialists need to take certification exams following the completion of their education. The Association of Intervention Specialists (AIS) offers a voluntary interventionist certification system that lists the skills, responsibilities, and duties that every interventionist should perform.
Board-certified interventionists must have a license or certification in counseling or a related field, two years of experience in the field (training hours), and insurance. The interventionist must have also signed the AISCB's code of ethics.
Getting certified as an intervention specialist requires the completion of a peer-reviewed portfolio that demonstrates an understanding of the eight competencies of early intervention work, proof of undergraduate and/or graduate training, and proof of mentorship with a professional specialist (shadowing or training hours.) Although there is no state or national certification required to become an interventionist, it is good to be board certified by the AISCB because it offers proof of the specialist’s qualifications and experience.
So how much do addiction interventionists get paid? According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), jobs for special education teachers – which include intervention specialists – were predicted to grow by 8% from 2020 to 2030.1 The BLS also reports that a median addiction interventionist salary is $61,820 as of 2021.1
However, job growth is more promising for Mental Health Counselors and Marriage and Family Therapists, which will increase by 23% by 2030. Over the decade, an estimated 41,000 mental health counselor jobs will open every year, on average. The median mental health intervention specialist salary was $48,520 annually in 2021.2
In addition to California addiction treatment, our Banyan Palm Springs rehab also offers various substance abuse treatment jobs, including interventionist positions. While these positions continually change with availability and demands, we encourage you to check out our openings and consider becoming a part of the Banyan team.