HCI College continues to monitor the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more

Industry News

What is a Substance Abuse Counselor?

Drug and alcohol abuse is a problem that continues to plague society. Consequently, there is a high demand for people to work with those who suffer from addiction and related mental health issues. Substance abuse counselors ensure these people get the help they need. 

During the pandemic, emergency calls rose by 40%, and 42 states experienced increases in overdose deaths. As the opioid crisis continues to impact communities across the country, demand for substance abuse counselors is expected to grow, with a 22% job growth outlook from 2021 to 2031

Image Source

Substance abuse counselors help people with drug problems in various ways. They may work in places like hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, schools, or other locations where people are struggling with addictions. 

If you’re considering a career as a substance abuse counselor, here are the main things you should know.

What is a Substance Abuse Counselor?

A substance abuse counselor is a mental health professional who works with people who have an addiction to drugs like alcohol, marijuana, opioids, stimulants, and so on. They may also work with people who have an addiction to gambling, sex, or other issues. 

This job is challenging and requires a lot of patience, but it can also be incredibly rewarding.

What Does a Substance Abuse Counselor Do?

Substance abuse counselors talk to patients, create personalized treatment programs, help educate the patients and their families, manage case histories, and communicate with law enforcement and the courts. This care is provided in a number of settings. 

Individual Therapy

Substance abuse counselors work with the patient individually to process difficult aspects of their personal lives, assess situational stressors, such as work, family, and other issues that may be pushing them to self-medicate. 

Group Therapy

Group therapy sessions give people with addictions the opportunity to talk about their experiences and struggles with others who share them, and learn from people who have been where they are. These sessions help individuals realize they’re not alone in the battle and that there is hope for recovery.

Family Counseling

Substance abuse doesn’t only affect the individual. One study found that one in eight children aged 17 and below live with someone who has a substance abuse disorder. The National Center for Substance Abuse and Child Welfare reported that in 38.9% of cases, substance abuse was the reason children were removed from their homes.

Substance abuse counselors help family members heal and better understand their role in the patient’s recovery.

Aftercare Services

Dealing with addiction is a complex process that requires ongoing effort. Substance abuse counselors continue working with the patient to help them develop coping mechanisms and strategies to help them move forward and avoid relapse. Aftercare services also focus on helping patients build life skills, maintain their recovery status, prevent relapse, and achieve a life with a sense of purpose. 

How to Become a Substance Abuse Counselor

Now that you know what a substance abuse counselor does, how can you become one?  

Earn an Associate Degree

If you’re interested in becoming a substance abuse counselor, you first need to earn an Associate of Science (AS) in Substance Abuse Counseling degree. The program will introduce you to counseling, crisis intervention, and patient education. You may also take up psychology or social work. This can help you gain insight into the challenges faced by people with addiction and the best ways to help them. 

Start a Career as a Substance Abuse Counselor

If you’re interested in helping people work through addictions and build better lives for themselves, this can be a very rewarding career. However, it also requires resilience, empathy, and strong interpersonal skills.

An associate degree and proper experience are the first steps to becoming a substance abuse counselor. You’ll then be well-equipped to help people from all walks of life, working with them to manage their addictions and build a better future—and in the process, you’ll become part of the solution to some of society’s toughest problems.

Explore our Programs to get started in your journey to become a substance abuse counselor and make a difference in your community!

If you found this article helpful, please share it on social media.

Read more

Technical School vs. College: Which is Better?

After high school graduation ceremonies and parties wind down for new graduates, it’s time to get serious and plan for the future. While many people first consider pursuing a college degree, college is not the only post-secondary option out there. Recently, technical schools have been getting more attention from learners—and it’s easy to see why. Several factors influence a person’s decision to get an academic degree at a university or earn a certificate from a vocational school. These can include the subject of study, tuition costs, and the potential to earn a good living after completion, to name a few. 

Read more

The Biden-Harris Administration’s Student Debt Relief Plan Explained

What the program means for you, and what comes next

President Biden, Vice President Harris, and the U.S. Department of Education have announced a three-part plan to help working and middle-class federal student loan borrowers’ transition back to regular payment as pandemic-related support expires. This plan includes loan forgiveness of up to $20,000. Many borrowers and families may be asking themselves “what do I have to do to claim this relief?” This page is a resource to answer those questions and more. There will be more details announced in the coming weeks. To be notified when the process has officially opened, sign up at the Department of Education subscription page.

The Biden Administration’s Student Loan Debt Relief Plan

Part 1. Final extension of the student loan repayment pause

Due to the economic challenges created by the pandemic, the Biden-Harris Administration has extended the student loan repayment pause a number of times. Because of this, no one with a federally held loan has had to pay a single dollar in loan payments since President Biden took office.

To ensure a smooth transition to repayment and prevent unnecessary defaults, the Biden-Harris Administration will extend the pause a final time through December 31, 2022, with payments resuming in January 2023.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need to do anything to extend my student loan pause through the end of the year?

  • No. The extended pause will occur automatically.

Part 2. Providing targeted debt relief to low- and middle-income families

To smooth the transition back to repayment and help borrowers at highest risk of delinquencies or default once payments resume, the U.S. Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education and up to $10,000 in debt cancellation to non-Pell Grant recipients. Borrowers are eligible for this relief if their individual income is less than $125,000 or $250,000 for households.

In addition, borrowers who are employed by non-profits, the military, or federal, state, Tribal, or local government may be eligible to have all of their student loans forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This is because of time-limited changes that waive certain eligibility criteria in the PSLF program. These temporary changes expire on October 31, 2022. For more information on eligibility and requirements, go to PSLF.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I know if I am eligible for debt cancellation?

  • To be eligible, your annual income must have fallen below $125,000 (for individuals) or $250,000 (for married couples or heads of households)
  • If you received a Pell Grant in college and meet the income threshold, you will be eligible for up to $20,000 in debt cancellation.
  • If you did not receive a Pell Grant in college and meet the income threshold, you will be eligible for up to $10,000 in debt cancellation.

What does the “up to” in “up to $20,000” or “up to $10,000” mean?

  • Your relief is capped at the amount of your outstanding debt.
  • For example: If you are eligible for $20,000 in debt relief, but have a balance of $15,000 remaining, you will only receive $15,000 in relief.

What do I need to do in order to receive loan forgiveness?

  • Nearly 8 million borrowers may be eligible to receive relief automatically because relevant income data is already available to the U.S. Department of Education.
  • If the U.S. Department of Education doesn’t have your income data – or if you don’t know if the U.S. Department of Education has your income data, the Administration will launch a simple application in the coming weeks.
  • The application will be available before the pause on federal student loan repayments ends on December 31st.
  • If you would like to be notified by the U.S. Department of Education when the application is open, please sign up at the Department of Education subscription page.

What is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program?

  • The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program forgives the remaining balance on your federal student loans after 120 payments working full-time for federal, state, Tribal, or local government; military; or a qualifying non-profit.
  • Temporary changes, ending on Oct. 31, 2022, provide flexibility that makes it easier than ever to receive forgiveness by allowing borrowers to receive credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF.
  • Enrollments on or after Nov. 1, 2022 will not be eligible for this treatment. We encourage borrowers to sign up today. Visit PSLF.gov to learn more and apply.

Part 3. Make the student loan system more manageable for current and future borrowers

Income-based repayment plans have long existed within the U.S. Department of Education. However, the Biden-Harris Administration is proposing a rule to create a new income-driven repayment plan that will substantially reduce future monthly payments for lower- and middle-income borrowers.

The rule would:

  • Require borrowers to pay no more than 5% of their discretionary income monthly on undergraduate loans. This is down from the 10% available under the most recent income-driven repayment plan.
  • Raise the amount of income that is considered non-discretionary income and therefore is protected from repayment, guaranteeing that no borrower earning under 225% of the federal poverty level—about the annual equivalent of a $15 minimum wage for a single borrower—will have to make a monthly payment.
  • Forgive loan balances after 10 years of payments, instead of 20 years, for borrowers with loan balances of $12,000 or less.
  • Cover the borrower’s unpaid monthly interest, so that unlike other existing income-driven repayment plans, no borrower’s loan balance will grow as long as they make their monthly payments—even when that monthly payment is $0 because their income is low.

The Biden-Harris Administration is working to quickly implement improvements to student loans. Check back to this page for updates on progress. If you’d like to be the first to know, sign up for email updates from the U.S. Department of Education.

Source: https://studentaid.gov/debt-relief-announcement/

Read more

5 Best States to Start a Medical Assistant Career

Medical assistants are an indispensable part of the healthcare system. Starting a career in allied health as a medical assistant is a wise decision for many people since medical assistants are some of the most in-demand professionals today due to shortages in nurses and doctors. 

Job opportunities abound for medical assistants, with forecasted job openings of roughly 104,400 annually for the next 10 years. This gives them plenty of choice about where they work. 

Read more

Best Practices for Animal Restraint as a Veterinary Assistant

Proper handling of animals—including restraint—is part of a veterinary assistant’s job responsibilities, and is an essential skill for vet techs and veterinarians to effectively provide care. At first, restraining animals may seem simple, but proper animal handling and restraint go far beyond just holding the animal down. In fact, it can be one of the most challenging yet underappreciated parts of animal care. If the animal is anxious and resists, veterinarians may find it hard to administer medications or carry out necessary procedures. This is particularly problematic when the animal needs emergency care. 

Read more

4 Quick Workouts for Paramedics

The physical demands of being a paramedic often mean they have to work long shifts, usually 12 hours. During shifts, paramedics respond to myriad calls and are dispatched to several emergencies that may require them to rush, jump, carry weight, kneel, and bend while taking care of patients. 

Read more

5 Reasons to Enroll in a Technical School

Education has evolved. It is no longer the case that a university or college education is certain to lead to a good job, and student loans can be crippling for people starting out in life.  

Consequently, many educational institutions are updating their curriculum to ensure that students get the best chance for future success with their chosen careers. These changes factor significantly into an individual’s employability when they graduate. Today, many employers focus on hiring people with the right set of skills and appropriate knowledge that will help them get the most value and success. 

Read more

The Impact of the Pandemic on Higher Education

Higher education often means meeting new people, enjoying new experiences, and discovering new places. With lockdowns and pandemic restrictions in place, particularly with uncertainty due to the emergence of COVID variants, much has changed about how students learn. 

Read more

Navient Reaches $1.85 Billion Settlement With State AGs, Agrees to Cancel Loans for Thousands

39 state Attorneys General announced on January 13th 2022 that Navient, known as one of the nation’s largest student loan servicers, will provide relief totaling $1.85 billion to resolve allegations of widespread unfair and deceptive student loan servicing practices and abuses in originating predatory student loans.

This settlement resolves claims that since 2009, despite representing that it would help borrowers find the best repayment options for them, Navient steered struggling student loan borrowers into costly long-term forbearances instead of counseling them about the benefits of more affordable income-driven repayment plans.

According to the attorneys general, the interest that accrued because of Navient’s forbearance steering practices was added to the borrowers’ loan balances, pushing borrowers further in debt. Had the company instead provided borrowers with the help it promised, income-driven repayment plans could have potentially reduced payments to as low as $0 per month, provided interest subsidies, and/or helped attain forgiveness of any remaining balance after 20-25 years of qualifying payments (or 10 years for borrowers qualified under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program).

As a result of today’s settlement, borrowers receiving private loan debt cancellation will receive a notice from Navient by July 2022, along with refunds of any payments made on the cancelled private loans after June 30, 2021. Federal loan borrowers who are eligible for a restitution payment of approximately $260 will receive a postcard in the mail from the settlement administrator later this spring.

Federal loan borrowers who qualify for relief under this settlement do not need to take any action except update or create their studentaid.gov account to ensure that the U.S. Department of Education has their current address.

The settlement was led by Pennsylvania, Washington, Illinois, Massachusetts, and California, and was joined by attorneys general in Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

For more information, please visit the website below which has been created to inform affected borrowers of the settlement and terms.

https://navientagsettlement.com/Home/portalid/0

Read more
Accrediting Commission of Careers Schools and Colleges ACCSC logo Career Source Palmbeach County logo Commision for Independent EDU log FDOE logo Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs CoAEMSP logo