Addictions Nurse – Career and Education Profile

Addictions nurses work with patients trying to overcome alcohol or drug abuse. You could work at a facilities specifically treating this type of patient or you could work at a more general facility, working to ensure patients are clean and do not get addicted to the pain and other medications they need.

Job Responsibilities

Addictions nurses concentrate on four different tasks, depending on their specific job title and daily duties: prevention, intervention, treatment, and addition management. Most commonly, nurses in this field work with patients dealing with alcohol and drug abuse, but you could also deal with patients who are suffering from other kinds of addiction-related problems, such as eating disorders and process-based addictions like gambling. If you are an RN, you’ll complete tasks such as recording vital signs, completing patient history interviews, and helping patients with personal hygiene. Addictions nurses also track progress, and at some facilities, you may do “room checks” to ensure that patients do not have contraband or help doctors prepare for therapy sessions.

Salary and Career Options

RNs are in high demand in all nursing niches, including addictions, and after you get your bachelor’s degree in nursing, you can also consider becoming a clinical nurse specialist or nurse practitioner in this field, which allows you to perform advanced tasks. The salary you can expect as an addictions nurse depends on your level of education and experience, but according to Simply Hired, addictions nurses make an average of $45,000 annually.

Educational Requirements

To become an RN, you need at least an associate’s degree, though some nurses opt to earn a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree in this field, which allows you to take classes specifically related to mental health or addictions. All nurses must complete clinical work at a healthcare facility, as well as get certified as a nurse with their state board. Your can also choose become a Certified Addictions Registered Nurse (CARN) or Certified Addictions Registered Nurse – Advanced Practice (CARN-AP) by completing additional education and passing a test by the International Nurses Society on Addictions.


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