Key messages

  • Working in the Victorian alcohol and other drug sector can be a challenging but rewarding experience, making a difference in the lives of people affected by alcohol and other drug use.
  • The sector covers a broad range of occupations across diverse settings in metropolitan and rural and regional locations.
  • Requirements to work in the sector include relevant qualifications or commensurate industry skills and, for clinical roles, skill and experience in counselling. There are many pathways into drug and alcohol work.

A career in the Victorian alcohol and other drug sector can be a challenging but rewarding experience. It involves working in partnership with people affected by alcohol and other drug use and ultimately making a difference in their lives.

The people who work in Victoria’s alcohol and other drug sector are highly valued and dedicated. They are a major strength of the service system.

Careers in the sector may involve:

  • developing and practising a broad range of professional skills
  • being part of a diverse and multidisciplinary team and working alongside passionate, caring colleagues
  • having the opportunity to work in many different settings
  • assisting a range of interesting people, including families and carers
  • never feeling bored or stuck in a routine
  • undertaking professional development and higher study
  • developing specialisations such as working with culturally and linguistically diverse communities or people with acquired brain injury.

Occupations in the alcohol and other drug sector

The drug and alcohol sector covers a broad range of occupations. Typical roles are caseworker, needle and syringe program worker, mobile drug safety worker, counselling and intake assessment clinicians, care and recovery support worker, withdrawal support worker, pharmacotherapy support worker, residential support worker, alcohol and other drug supported accommodation worker, and telephone and online counsellor.

Alcohol and other drug settings and locations

Workers are employed in a diverse range of settings and locations in metropolitan and rural and regional areas, including:

  • hospitals and community health services
  • therapeutic communities
  • specialist alcohol and other drug services, pharmacotherapy services and youth services
  • the forensic system
  • Aboriginal health services
  • dual diagnosis services
  • chronic pain consultancy clinics
  • homelessness or outreach services.

Requirements for working in the alcohol and other drug sector

To work in the alcohol and other drug sector, you must have:

  • a relevant university degree or a vocational qualification or commensurate industry skills
  • counselling skills and experience (for a clinical role)
  • alcohol and other drug minimum qualifications (Minimum Qualification Strategy).

Attributes

As an alcohol and other drug worker, you need to be:

  • client focused
  • respectful and non-judgemental
  • ethical and professional
  • empathetic, caring, reliable and a good listener
  • able to deal with conflict and remain calm in stressful situations
  • culturally aware
  • collaborative and supportive
  • passionate about supporting individuals and families or carers who are affected by alcohol and other drug issues
  • aware of your own limits.

Pathways

Professional pathways into the field include psychology, psychotherapy and social work; health science, medicine and nursing; criminology; and youth work, welfare work and community development.