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Position Classification Description

Position Class Code / Title: S1002 / Substance Abuse Counselor
Recruitment Tier: Tier 1
FLSA: Exempt
Grade: 10

This is a description of a Staff Position Classification. It is not an announcement of a position opening. To view descriptions of current openings, please go to UNMJobs and Search Postings to view positions that are currently accepting applications.

The following statements are intended to describe, in broad terms, the general functions and responsibility levels characteristic of positions assigned to this classification. They should not be viewed as an exhaustive list of the specific duties and prerequisites applicable to individual positions that have been so classified.


Counsels and aids individuals and families requiring assistance dealing with substance abuse problems, such as alcohol or drug abuse. Refers client to other support services as needed. Monitors condition of client to evaluate success of therapy and adapts treatment program as needed.

Duties and Responsibilities

  1. Obtains information about patients through interview, case history, and observational techniques; evaluates data to identify causes of problems and to determine advisability of counseling or referral to other specialists.
  2. Formulates program for treatment and rehabilitation of client, using knowledge of alcohol and drug abuse problems and counseling and treatment techniques.
  3. Provides and/or arranges for therapeutic interventions as appropriate for patients or clients in a crisis condition and for those with serious disturbance problems.
  4. Counsels family members to assist family in dealing with and providing support for client.
  5. Follows up to determine reliability and validity of treatment used; makes recommendations regarding modification to services and service delivery.
  6. Refers client to other support services as needed, such as medical evaluation and treatment, social services, and employment services.
  7. Consults with other legal and treatment agencies and individuals in relation to patient/client records, rights, and responsibilities.
  8. Prepares and maintains reports and case histories.
  9. Participates in the review of clinical issues and program policies and procedures.
  10. Prepares documents for presentation in court and accompanies client to court as needed.
  11. Attends staff meetings and team conferences.
  12. Maintains current knowledge base on counseling issues regarding substance abuse through conferences, educational requirements for licensure, and applicable current literature.
  13. Performs miscellaneous job-related duties as assigned.

Minimum Job Requirements

  • High school diploma or GED; at least 5 years of experience directly related to the duties and responsibilities specified.
  • Completed degree(s) from an accredited institution that are above the minimum education requirement may be substituted for experience on a year for year basis.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required

  • Ability to observe, assess, and record symptoms, reactions, and progress.
  • Knowledge of crisis intervention techniques.
  • Interviewing and psychological/developmental evaluation skills.
  • Knowledge and understanding of clinical counseling principles, programs and methodology.
  • Ability to evaluate the progress of therapeutic programs and to make individual modifications.
  • Knowledge of a range of counseling and therapeutic techniques in area of specialty.
  • Ability to write reports containing technical information.
  • Ability to maintain emotional stability to cope with human suffering, emergencies, and other stresses.
  • Knowledge of alcohol and substance abuse theory and treatment.
  • Knowledge of court processes and legal documentation requirements.
  • Ability to investigate and analyze information and draw conclusions.
  • Knowledge of community medical/psychosocial services and support groups and agencies.
  • Knowledge of legal and ethical issues related to patients' rights.
  • Ability to develop, implement, evaluate and modify therapeutic programs and services.

Conditions of Employment

  • Discipline-specific licensure/certification may be a requirement for positions in this classification.
  • Successful candidate must submit to post-offer, pre-employment physical examination and medical history check.
  • Candidate must pass a criminal background check if position involves contact with minors.
  • Subject to credentialing process; must maintain credentialed status.

Working Conditions and Physical Effort

  • No or very limited physical effort required.
  • Work environment involves minimal exposure to physical risks, such as operating dangerous equipment or working with chemicals.
  • Work is normally performed in a typical interior/office work environment.

The University of New Mexico provides all training required by OSHA to ensure employee safety.

Revised Date: 03/20/2017