OU Addresses Growing Demand for Addiction CounselorsPosted by Paula Paine on July 7, 2014 in "Your OU" With nearly one in 10 Americans over the age of 12 classified as a substance abuser or dependent (roughly equal to the population of Texas!), addiction is taking an emotional, psychological, and social toll on this country as a whole, and very personally on individuals and their families. The reality, however, is that only one in 10 of those receives the treatment they need, resulting in a treatment gap of more than 20 million Americans.*
A number of factors are contributing to this gap, including more people seeking treatment for their addictions, accessibility to paid treatment through provisions in the Affordable Care Act, more states raising the education requirements for counselors, retiring counselors, and courts increasingly including treatment as part of sentences. North Dakota, for example, now requires all DUI offenders to undergo an addiction evaluation.
For these and other reasons, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment of substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors will grow 34 percent by 2016, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The gap will likely remain, however, as the influx of addiction counselors into the job market fails to meet the growing demand.
This past spring, Ottawa University introduced a fully-online Bachelor of Science in Addiction Counseling program to help provide a viable, and valuable, solution to this widening gap. The degree program was founded and is being directed by Dr. Kirk Bowden, who is president elect of NAADAC, The Association of Addiction Professionals. Dr. Bowden is also an American Counseling Association Fellow, a Commissioner at National Addiction Studies Accreditation Commission (NASAC), on the board of directors at International Coalition for Addiction Studies Education (INCASE), and a former chair of the Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners (AzBBHE).
Ottawa University’s online Addiction Counseling program is taught by distinguished addiction counselor educators from across the country and is designed to meet the licensure/certification requirements in a majority of U.S. states.** Through a partnership with the Maricopa Community College system in the Valley of the Sun, as well as agreements with various national professional associations, there are several value-added pathways that students can take to completing their degree in Addiction Counseling.
The new program focuses on integrating research, theories of addiction, and counseling techniques to assist individuals in achieving long-term recovery. Upon completion, professionals are prepared for roles in treatment facilities, hospitals, government agencies, military recovery programs, and similar capacities. The program also serves as a solid foundation for graduate studies in addiction counseling, mental health counseling, clinical psychology, social work, counselor education, law enforcement, law, and human services.
Already, counselors from across the nation are recognizing Ottawa University’s Addiction Counseling program. Within days of announcing the new program on LinkedIn (Ottawa University Addiction Counseling), more than 500 professionals had added the profile as a connection. The program is also featured on Facebook (Ottawa University Addiction Counseling Program) and Twitter (twitter.com/ouaddiction), where current addiction counseling information is shared.
Ottawa University encourages its alumni and friends to connect with the new program via these social media venues to support, stay informed and share information surrounding addiction counseling. Anyone wishing to enroll in the new program can learn more on the OU website or call 855.661.0389.
* Closing the Addiction Treatment Gap: Early Accomplishments in a Three Year Initiative, July 2010, www.treatmentgap.org
** Requirements vary by state, students should confer with their state's licensure/certification authority to assure that the degree program meets their requirements.