Addiction Nursing


Working as an addiction nurse is a satisfying career for anyone who enjoys helping people struggling with difficult substance abuse issues. Those working within this field help people with both the mental and physical aspects of alcohol and drug abuse. Addiction nursing can be both a rewarding and challenging career.

Education Requirements for Addiction Nursing

Those who want to pursue the path of addiction nursing need to first gain their degree as a registered nurse (RN). To do this, the candidate should attend either a 2 year Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program or a four year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) course. After graduation, the potential nurse must take and pass the NCLEX-RN test.
During the education process for the BSN degree, the student takes two years of general courses and two years of classes that focus on the science of nursing. To gain acceptance into these programs, many schools require that you score acceptable on the TEAS test.

Addiction Nurse Certification

Those working in the field of addiction nursing can receive certification through the International Nurses Society on Addiction (IntNSA). The Certified Addiction Registered Nurse (CARN) credential is awarded to those who meet eligibility requirements. These include an active RN license and a minimum of 2,000 hours of nursing experienced related to addiction.

Addiction Nursing Career Opportunities and Salaries

Those working as addiction nurses can be employed in a variety of medical settings. They may work in rehabilitation centers and help people while they are in the detoxification process. These nurses could also work in hospitals, private detox clinics, addiction programs, and other agencies. Some nurses working in the field of addiction choose to work in educational positions, providing training in the areas of substance abuse.
The average salary for an addiction nurse ranges from $48,000 to $68,000 per year, according to most web sources. The annual pay depends on experience, degree level, educational status, place of employment, and location of practice.

Job Duties of the Addiction Nurse

An addiction nurse needs to be a compassionate person who understands the concept behind addiction and how it can affect someone’s life. Those who have a passion for helping others succeed would do well in this type of nursing position.
Those working within the field are responsible for keeping patients stable while they are in the detoxification stage of a program. Typical job duties include administering medications, taking vital signs, and acting in some emergency situations. The nurses may also provide education on addiction and different ways that the patient can cope with the problem.


IntNSA (2013)

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