Addressing the Training Gap
Qualified Addiction Specialists Needed
A marked expansion of health insurance coverage for addiction and substance use disorders treatment under the Affordable Care Act means that more and more people will now seek help from addiction professionals. That, in turn, means many more well-trained addiction counselors and professionals will be needed to provide proper care.
More than 22 million Americans age 12 or older used substances or had substance dependence in 2012, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Millions who needed treatment were not in care, and most pointed to the lack of insurance or inability to pay. But the Affordable Care Act has eased that concern, requiring that insurers offer mental health and substance use disorder coverage comparable to what they offer for general medical care and surgery.
The increased access to health insurance for millions of Americans has thrown a stark light on the need for better training and preparation of addiction counselors and the professional workforce. Most who provide addiction treatment do not have the knowledge, skills and credentials needed for providing effective, evidence-based treatment, according to a landmark 2012 study by Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA).
The demand for well-trained addiction and substance use disorder counselors (previously referred to as substance abuse counselors) is growing. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment in the field will grow by 31% over the next decade. Substance use disorder counselors with focused training and experience will have particularly favorable job prospects. Online training is a flexible, convenient way for working professionals to advance their careers, take the next step towards addiction counselor certification and improve the quality of care they provide.
Completing the UF College of Medicine’s online graduate addiction certificate is a great step toward becoming a well-trained addiction professional.