County of Alameda

Substance Abuse Counselor (#6495)

Bargaining Unit: SEIU 1021 - Hospital Para Prof/Tech (007)
$31.88-$37.96 Hourly / $2,391.00-$2,847.00 BiWeekly /
$5,180.50-$6,168.50 Monthly / $62,166.00-$74,022.00 Yearly

Under general supervision, to evaluate and perform casework services for patients receiving substance abuse treatment; and to perform other related duties as required.


This is an entry-level classification distinguished from professional staff in that professional staff perform at a higher level and with increased knowledge and ability gained through experience and education. Professional staff also exercise significant judgment and make therapeutic decisions regarding client treatment and/or counseling services.

NOTE: The following are the duties performed by employees in this classification. However, employees may perform other related duties at an equivalent level. Each individual in the classification does not necessarily perform all duties listed.

1. Performs initial diagnostic evaluations, noting behavioral symptoms to determine the appropriate referral source and/or treatment modality, subject to review by professional staff.

2. Develops treatment plans for all individuals on assigned caseload; oversees the implementation plans for patients; conducts individual and group counseling, again subject to periodic review by professional staff.

3. Makes patient referrals and participates with Medical Social Worker staff in the discharge planning process, placing patients in recovery homes, outlining and directing resocialization programs for patients through referral to other agencies.

4. Establishes and utilizes knowledge of community resources for the alcoholic or other substance abusers.

5. Amends or revises treatment plans as the need arises and evaluates patient progress; consults frequently with other professional team members as required.

6. Attends staff conferences and provides community groups with educational information concerning the alcohol and drug programs in Alameda County.

Either I


Completion of an associate of arts degree in psychology, sociology, counseling or a closely related field.



The equivalent of two years’ full-time experience in a mental health or substance abuse setting. (Experience in a mental health or substance abuse field may be substituted for the degree requirement on a year-for-year basis provided that the experience includes clinical evaluation, treatment, planning, and individual and group counseling.) (Completion of a certificate program in alcohol and drug abuse, addiction counseling, substance abuse treatment training program that includes a field experience component may substitute for one year of experience.)

Special Requirement:

If a recovered alcoholic, a minimum of two years’ sobriety is desirable.

If a former drug addict, a recent two years of a drug-free existence is desirable.

NOTE: The Civil Service Commission may modify the above minimum qualifications in the announcement of an examination.

NOTE: The level and scope of the following knowledge and abilities are related to duties listed under the “Examples of Duties” section of this specification.

Knowledge of:

• Social and psychological needs, problems, behavior patterns and treatment of persons socially disabled by substance abuse.
• Availability of and procedures for obtaining a wide variety of community and governmental services and resources.
• Methods and techniques of interviewing.
• Principles of counseling, including group leader functions.
• Basic psychotropic drugs.


• Accurately assess clients' immediate needs and ensure clients' receipt of needed services.
• Follow prescribed procedures and develop client treatment plans with minimal supervision.
• Establish and maintain effective working relationships with clients and their families, professionals and para-professionals and support staff in the department, outside agencies and with the general public.
• Perform effectively in stressful, emotional, and confrontational situations.
• Execute good judgment, self-control, and persuade and motivate people.
• Recognize factors causing reaction or changes in clients' condition or behavior.
• Work effectively as a member of a multi-disciplinary treatment team.
• Obtain, maintain, and present accurate client data.
• Decision making.
• Communicate clearly and effectively both orally and in writing.

Old document: 1180h
New document: Jobspecs/6495
CSC Date: 4/8/92


Alameda County offers a comprehensive and competitive benefits package that affords wide-ranging health care options to meet the different needs of a diverse workforce and their families. We also sponsor many different employee discount, fitness and health screening programs focused on overall well being.  These benefits include but are not limited to*:

For your Health & Well-Being

  • Medical – HMO & PPO Plans
  • Dental – HMO & PPO Plans
  • Vision or Vision Reimbursement
  • Share the Savings
  • Basic Life Insurance 
  • Supplemental Life Insurance (with optional dependent coverage for eligible employees) 
  • County Allowance Credit
  • Flexible Spending Accounts - Health FSA, Dependent Care and Adoption Assistance
  • Short-Term Disability Insurance
  • Long-Term Disability Insurance
  • Voluntary Benefits - Accident Insurance, Critical Illness, Hospital Indemnity and Legal Services
  • Employee Assistance Program

For your Financial Future

  • Retirement Plan - (Defined Benefit Pension Plan)
  • Deferred Compensation Plan (457 Plan or Roth Plan)

For your Work/Life Balance

  • 12 paid holidays
  • Floating Holidays
  • Vacation and sick leave accrual
  • Vacation purchase program
  • Catastrophic Sick Leave
  • Group Auto/Home Insurance
  • Pet Insurance
  • Commuter Benefits Program
  • Guaranteed Ride Home
  • Employee Wellness Program (e.g. At Work Fitness, Incentive Based Programs, Gym Membership Discounts)
  • Employee Discount Program (e.g. theme parks, cell phone, etc.)
  • Child Care Resources
  • 1st United Services Credit Union 

*Eligibility is determined by Alameda County and offerings may vary by collective bargaining agreement.  This provides a brief summary of the benefits offered and can be subject to change.