132 Annual Meeting Logo - Go to APHA Meeting Page  
APHA Logo - Go to APHA Home Page

Addiction treatment workforce: Counselor credentials, training and turnover

J. Aaron Johnson, PhD1, Lori J. Ducharme, PhD2, and Sarah Henderson, MA2. (1) Center for Research on Behavioral Health and Human Services Delivery, University of Georgia, 101 Barrow Hall, D. W. Brooks Drive, Athens, GA 30602, 7065426054, ajohns@uga.edu, (2) Institute for Behavioral Research, University of Georgia, 101 Barrow Hall, D. W. Brooks Drive, Athens, GA 30602

Traditionally, counselors employed by addiction treatment programs were in recovery, and often graduates of the program in which they were employed. Over the past decade, funding sources including managed care organizations have increasingly required that addiction counselors hold graduate degrees and formal credentials. Treatment techniques have also expanded beyond traditional 12-step approaches, requiring increased training of clinical staff. As a result, there has been an increasing professionalization of the treatment workforce. Using survey data from more than 2,500 counselors employed in a nationwide sample of public and private treatment programs, we examine demographics, credentials and training within segments of the treatment workforce. We then examine the impact of demographics, credentials, and training on two specific areas for which we have data. First, is information on counselors’ awareness, perceived effectiveness, and utilization of a variety of evidence-based treatment techniques. Counselor characteristics such as formal training, educational achievement, certification, and recovery status are significantly associated with awareness and perceptions of evidence-based treatment techniques. Second, is counselor turnover, a persistent problem in the addiction treatment field, and a potential hindrance to the adoption of evidence-based practice. Education, recovery status, organizational commitment, and job autonomy are all correlates of turnover. Implications of these findings on service delivery and quality of care are discussed. (Supported by grant numbers R01-DA13110 and R01-DA14482 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse)

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to

    Keywords: Substance Abuse Treatment, Workforce

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

    Co-morbidity and Treatment Effectiveness Poster Session

    The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA