Career Outlook

Why Is This Field Growing?

During the 2016 legislative session, the Commissioner of Human Services was directed to reform the treatment continuum for individuals experiencing addiction disorders. In addition, the Minnesota Department of Human Resources decreed 2017 to be the year of addiction treatment transformation.

This all results in a greater need for trained professionals who are up to date on the latest counseling techniques and research. “Currently, there is a shortage of addictions practitioners in the state of Minnesota,” says Debra Wamsley, Director of Graduate Studies. “Our degree effectively prepares future clinicians to successfully practice in this rapidly changing landscape.”

Furthermore, she continues, the Commissioner’s proposal will promote greater access to assessment, treatment, and recovery, and a more robust set of prevention and recovery services. 

A Thriving Job Market

The job outlook for substance abuse counselors is excellent, according to the US Department of Labor. Employment of substance abuse counselors is expected to grow 22 percent through 2024 (US Department of Labor, Dec. 17, 2015).

This demand is expected to be strong for a variety of reasons.

  • The Affordable Care Act mandates that insurance providers cover treatment for substance abuse.
  • As society becomes more knowledgeable about addiction, more people may choose to seek treatment.
  • Drug offenders are increasingly being sent to treatment programs rather than jail.
  • Many counselors are reaching retirement age.
  • More employers are offering employee assistance programs (EAP) that provide alcohol and drug abuse services.