If you’re interested in a career that involves helping people in need, consider joining the staff of a local rehabilitation center. Although many public health experts choose to work at hospitals, retirement homes and assisted living facilities, working at a rehab center can be a deeply rewarding career choice. When considering a job in rehabilitation, the following advantages cannot be overlooked.

Helping Patients Improve Their Lives

Doctors, nurses and counselors who work at rehabilitation facilities have the opportunity to help patients make positive life changes. Helping someone beat an addiction and become a functioning member of society is a life-changing experience for both you and the patient. Depending on the facility at which you choose to work, you may have the opportunity to regularly meet with discharged patients and monitor their progress even after they’ve left rehab. Students with an interest in public health will prove especially valuable to rehabilitation facilities because of their background in promoting awareness about health-related issues in the community.

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In your capacity as a rehabilitator, you’ll also make an interesting assortment of new friends. Since you’ll be spending quite a bit of time with certain patients, your conversation topics are bound to extend beyond addiction. Addicts come from all walks of life, and after getting to know your patients on a personal level, you’re bound to start seeing them as more than victims in need of help. As an added bonus, certain patients are more likely to listen to your advice if they see you as a friend.

Learning More About the Nature of Addiction

Working at a rehabilitation facility can also function as an opportunity to continue your education. No matter how much schooling you had prior to taking the job, you’ll soon find that on-the-job learning trumps memorizing passages from textbooks. No two cases of addiction are exactly the same, and after working with a wide range of addicts, you’ll get a good feel for which recovery methods work best.

Adding to the learning experience, this job will give you a firsthand look at the effects certain substances have on people. Studying the effects of addiction up-close is particularly helpful for doctors and counselors looking for insight into addiction. Rehab facilities are extremely useful as places for study, so researchers can gather information and share discoveries with other public health professionals when discussing ethics and the policies. Your input could prove instrumental in improving how things run at your facility.

Feeling an Immense Sense of Job Satisfaction

Being able to leave work every night with the knowledge that you’ve made a differenceis becoming increasingly rare for members of the modern-day workforce. Because of hectic schedules, widespread downsizing and fiercely competitive office environments, many workers are simply content with making it through the workday without suffering a nervous breakdown. While working with recovering addicts can prove stressful, watching them break free of addiction and re-enter society will lift your heart and fill you with a sense of professional pride few other jobs can match.

Educating Your Community

In addition to expanding to your knowledge base, working at a rehab facility will provide you with valuable information that can benefit your community. Holding public talks on the signs and causes of addiction will help people identify substance abuse problems in themselves or loved ones. Make a point of giving attendees your work email and office phone number after the talk in case they have any pressing follow-up questions. Don’t be surprised if your facility winds up with a few new residents after a successful talk.

Having Room for Advancement

Working as a counselor at a rehab facility comes with ample room for advancement. If the facility’s directors consistently receive positive feedback from current and former patients about the services you provide, you may soon be looking at a promotion. Additionally, counselors who excel at their jobs are liable to find themselves occupying top-tier positions in the departments of their respective facilities.

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Gaining Schedule Flexibility

Like hospitals and retirement homes, rehab facilities offer flexible schedules to their staff members. No matter what time of day you’re comfortable working, chances are good there’s an open shift available. Early risers and night owls are sure to appreciate such convenience. Schedule flexibility is particularly convenient for employees who don’t want work to interfere with school or family time. Since patients check into these facilities around the clock, you can bet there will be plenty of work to go around regardless of which shift you’re occupying.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, substance abuse-related healthcare is a $600 billion a year industry. With the number of addicts in the U.S. on the rise, overpopulated rehab facilities can use the help of knowledgeable public health professionals with big hearts now more than ever.