If you’re on your way to graduating from medical school and haven’t decided on your first job yet, you may want to consider becoming an addiction specialist at a drug and alcohol treatment center. In this role, medical addiction specialists are intimately involved in the diagnosis, prevention, evaluation, treatment, and, ultimately, the recovery of individuals struggling with a substance use disorder.
According to an article published by the Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), the United States currently only has about 3,000 physicians qualified and trained to treat the more than 21 million people in America addicted to drugs or alcohol. Given this enormous disparity, it is reasonably safe to say that your talents would be welcomed at just about any rehab facility in the country. Plus, along with an excellent salary, most physicians who choose to work in this field agree that helping individuals turn their life around is exceedingly satisfying.
What You May Not Have Known About Addiction Specialists in Rehab Facilities but Probably Should
Along with earning your medical license, there are a few more steps that are involved in becoming certified in addiction treatment, which will open the door to job opportunities at the more than 14,000 rehab facilities in America. That being stated, those who are ready to positively change the lives of those struggling with drugs or alcohol will need to complete an accredited residency and fellowship training program and, lastly, earn an addiction medicine certification from the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) or any of the following organizations:
- American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
- American Board of Preventive Medicine
- American Board of Addiction Medicine
- American Osteopathic Association
Individuals who have met these requirements and have started their career as a medical addiction specialist can expect to earn about $261,000 per year, according to ZipRecruiter, an online employment marketplace for job seekers and employers.
Why Are Medical Addiction Specialists in Such High Demand at Rehab Facilities Across America?
To thoroughly understand why medical specialists are in high demand at rehab facilities across America, we need only take a look at data published by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. According to the published data, of the more than 21 million people in America addicted to drugs or alcohol, 78 of them die every single day from an overdose. Further, 1 in 7 Americans are likely to misuse alcohol or drugs in their lifetime and will eventually turn to one of the many rehab facilities in America for help overcoming an addiction, the data also revealed.
Even though many drug and alcohol rehab facilities have a staff of licensed nurses and general physicians, many are not prepared to handle the challenges that come with tending to individuals struggling with severe withdrawal symptoms associated with detox. The same also applies when it comes to helping individuals overcome the psychological aspects of their addiction. The additional training that future medical addiction specialists undergo in pursuit of their addiction medicine certification more than prepares them to handle these challenges.
To put this into perspective, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, for example, requires that students study neurobiology. For those not familiar with neurobiology, it is an area of study that deals with the identification and screening of addictive behaviors as well as referrals, medication-assisted detox, behavioral therapy, and much more. Beyond that, the organization also advises students to obtain a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) number as well as a Buprenorphine waiver.
While meeting all of these requirements, not to mention obtaining a DEA number and a Buprenorphine waiver, might seem like a tremendous undertaking, they ensure that medical addiction specialists are capable of handling the daily challenges that come with working in a drug and alcohol rehab facility. The same is true if those who earn their certification decide to work in other healthcare fields where they are required to treat individuals struggling with addiction, such as a hospital emergency room, for example.
Final Thoughts on Why Medical Professionals Should Choose to Work at a Drug and Alcohol Rehab Facility
In summary, the current 3,000 physicians qualified and trained to treat the more than 21 million people in America with a substance use disorder choose this line of work because they want to make a difference in the lives of those in their care. Otherwise, they wouldn’t go through the extensive training that such a position requires. If any of this resonates with you and you’re interested in starting a career as a medical addiction specialist, consider speaking with one of our friendly associates today at 833-762-3739.