Substance Abuse Counselor II (#RS1022)
$26.12-$31.75 Hourly / $4,527.83-$5,503.60 Monthly / $54,333.97-$66,043.28 Yearly


Under general supervision, performs casework and counseling in a San Joaquin County Substance Abuse Program; coordinates services or component programs; and does related or other work as required in accordance with Rule 3, Section 3 of the Civil Service Rules.


This is the second level in the Substance Abuse Counselor series.  At this level, incumbents are certified Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Counselors and skilled in performing a wide variety of functions including case management, special project assignments and program development.  Incumbents work independently to provide a wide range of group and individual counseling utilizing a variety of treatment methods. Incumbents may train first level counselors.


  • Conducts intake interviews; administers various assessment tools to collect client data to assist with determining addiction severity and level of care; assigns clients to specific programs or counselors; performs client physical checks, observations, and documents client progress in conformance with Medi-Cal, state, federal and county program requirements. 
  • Obtains client background and financial information; collects fees; may assist clients in filing for benefits and State Disability. 
  • Plans and conducts individual and group counseling sessions; discusses and evaluates individual and family behavioral, social and psychological issues which affect treatment and progress; determines most effective treatment plans, implements plans and evaluates progress.
  • Selects and monitors volunteer staff; develops and implements comprehensive training and orientation programs; maintains records of work performed; provides evaluations and references for volunteer staff.
  • Maintains client records; documents progress notes, doctor’s appointments, court appearances and other pertinent information; prepares reports and correspondence.
  • Assesses and evaluates clients referred by law enforcement, probation and other agencies and develops plans for treatment; interviews clients, family and others to compile pre-assessment reports; monitors client’s participation in individual and group counseling; reports progress to courts, law enforcement agencies, or other jurisdictions; coordinates treatment and supervision of clients with various correctional agencies, medical staff, court officials and others.
  • Assists clients to establish plans to address social, cultural, familial and personal factors contributing to substance abuse.
  • Identifies community resources to refer clients to appropriate resources.
  • May transport clients to various community resources.
  • Leads group discussions and education classes; works with groups to provide a supportive environment to encourage clients to remain substance free; participates in training programs to maintain group facilitator skills.
  • May conduct field work to identify clients and high-risk individuals; provides information about available community resources and treatment programs; provides follow-up counseling regarding risks associated with substance abuse; may develop programs for high-risk clients including prevention and educational activities with youth in community settings.
  • May verbally explain various written material and instructions for non-English speaking clients and families; assists staff in working with clients of other cultures.
  • May provide financial and money management counseling and assistance to clients; reviews client financial resources; may assist clients with budgeting and managing income; coordinates efforts with various social service agencies to ensure proper receipt and accounting of income and expenses; participates in utilization review functions to ensure proper management of clients’ progress and use of resources.
  • Develops curriculum and resources for specialized training for group educational sessions; obtains specialized training and may develop resources to train other staff; implements and modifies specialized training programs; presents special group training throughout the agency.
  • May perform special project assignments such as assisting in developing, implementing and modifying curricula; performing special assignments related to new programs or changes in existing programs; developing and implementing new procedures; participating on committees and task forces; resolving issues in delivery of services and operations.
  • May provide leadership and training to staff; may provide work guidance to other staff; may coordinate small ad-hoc committees and groups; may review work of other lower-level counselors; may schedule special activities for specific program components; may assume responsibilities of other counselors/ workers in their absence; may direct resident and volunteer workers to include training and evaluation.
  • May be assigned to rotating shifts.


Education: Successful completion of 30 semester or 45 quarter units from an accredited college or university which included 12 semester or 15 quarter units in psychology, sociology, counseling, chemical dependency or a closely related field.

Certification:  Possession of a current certificate as an Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Counselor issued by a certifying organization approved by the State of California.  Certification must be maintained, as defined by the Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs, California Code of Regulations, Title 9, Chapter 8, commencing with Section 13000.  Failure to maintain certification may result in release from employment.

License:  Possession of a valid California driver’s license if required by the nature of the assignment.


Laws, regulations, policies, and procedures relevant to the County’s Substance Abuse Program, including client confidentiality and Counselor’s Code of Conduct; principles and techniques of individual and group counseling; physiological, psychological and sociological aspects of alcohol and other drug abuse and dependency; needs, problems, attitudes and behavior patterns of substance abuse clients; principles of public relations; reporting and record-keeping techniques; basic computer and modern office automation technology and computer software programs relevant to department operations; community resources and agencies.


Understand and apply regulations, policies, and procedures relevant to a substance abuse program; facilitate individual and group counseling sessions; maintain client confidentiality; evaluate client and family needs; analyze and evaluate situations accurately; reason logically and draw valid conclusions; recommend and implement effective treatment plans; counsel clients and families; operate computers and related software; establish and maintain effective working relationships with clients, co-workers, community agencies and the public; maintain records and write reports; communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.


Mobility-  frequent sitting for long periods; operate a data entry device; some walking; occasional standing, pushing, pulling, bending, squatting, climbing; driving; Lifting-  frequent lifting of 5 pounds or less; occasional lifting of 5-30 pounds; Visual-  constant need for good, overall vision and reading/close-up work; frequent need for color perception and use of hand/eye coordination; occasional use of depth perception and peripheral vision; Dexterity- Frequent holding, reaching, repetitive motion, writing.  Hearing/Talking- frequent need to hear normal speech, talk/hear on the telephone and talk in person; Emotional/Psychological— frequent public contact, exposure to emotionally charged situations and distraught clients; deal with emergency situations; constant concentration; occasional exposure to trauma, grief, or death; Special Requirements--may require working weekends/nights; working alone; Environmental—occasional exposure to varied weather conditions.

San Joaquin County complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and, upon request, will consider reasonable accommodations to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential job functions. 

CLASS: RS1022; EST: 12/12/2001; REV: 4/10/2024;