Leadership Development Program

Addiction Counselors predictions in 2030

Publication Date: Jan 15, 2019

What’s next for Addiction Counselors?

A summary of Behavioral Health Workforce Projections, 2016 – 2030 written by Health Resources and Services Administration.

Recently, Health Resources and Services Administration released a report about the projections for the behavioral health workforce from 2016 to 2030. While the full report focuses on all health professions, this summary will focus only on the data for Addiction Counselors relative to the South Southwest ATTC Region. Since we know that licensure and certificate requirements vary by state, HRSA is generally defining Addiction Counselors as those individuals who “provide treatment and support to people who suffer from addiction to alcohol and other drugs, or other behavioral health problems” for the purpose of this study.

HRSA’s uses the Health Workforce Simulation Model (HWSM) which analyzes the supply model and the patient demand model to help inform decision makers so that they can make the best decisions for healthcare workforce. The supply model uses common labor-market factors of Addiction Counselors like unemployment, existing demographic and geographic characteristics, newly trained addiction counselors, and patterns in retirement and typical hours worked to calculate supply. The patient demand model uses factors like population demographics, health care use patterns, and demand for health care services in terms of full time employees (FTE) within the area being analyzed. The HWSM reported two scenarios in assessing demand. Scenario One assumes that supply and demand are in equilibrium in 2016 and Scenario Two assumes a 20% adjusted demand based on the estimates of unmet needs seen in recent studies. In 2016, an estimated 87,690 counselors worked in mental health centers, prisons, probation or parole agencies, juvenile detention facilities, halfway houses, detox centers, employee assistance programs, and other settings. The projected supply and demand for both scenarios can be found in Table 1. The estimated effect on the region analyzing the adequacy of supply and determining a surplus or deficit in the region can be found in Table 2.

Table 1 Estimated Supply and Demand for Addiction Counselors for SSWATTC Region by year 2030

Estimated Supply and Demand for Addiction Counselors for SSWATTC Region by year 2030

 

Region

Projected supply,

 (FTE)

Projected demand,

Scenario One (FTE)

Projected demand, Scenario Two (FTE)

National

92,910

106,510

127,850

Arkansas

810

1,330

1,590

Louisiana

1,480

1,610

1,930

New Mexico

500

820

990

Oklahoma

1,020

1,160

1,400

Texas

5,740

8,020

9,630

Table 2 Estimated Adequacy of Supply for Addiction Counselors in SSWATTC Region by 2030

Estimated Adequacy of Supply for Addition Counselors in SSWATTC Region by year 2030

 

Region

Projected Supply (minus) Demand, 2030

Scenario One

 (FTE)

Projected Supply (minus) Demand, 2030

Scenario Two

 (FTE)

Surplus or Deficit

National

(13,600)

(34,940)

Deficit

Arkansas

(80)

(240)

Deficit

Louisiana

(130)

(450)

Deficit

New Mexico

(320)

(490)

Deficit

Oklahoma

(140)

(380)

Deficit

Texas

(2,280)

(3,890)

Deficit

HRSA concludes that both nationally and regionally (SSW ATTC Region), there will be a deficit of fulltime Addiction Counselors by the year 2030. Arkansas is proposed to have the lowest deficit of 80 to 240 (FTE), while Texas is proposed to have the highest deficit of 2, 280 to 3, 890 (FTE).

However, HWSM does express their analysis has it’s terms of limitations for the period studied. It states that changes in healthcare utilization patterns may affect projected demand in future years as well as any advances in medicine and technology and shifts in health care delivery that occur. These projections do not account for the geographic distribution of providers, which can impact access to care.

While HRSA and the SSWATTC recognize the difficulties included in making such projections about Addiction Counselor workforce, we believe these projections will give you good in sight in making your plans to assess and serve your communities for the future.

For the full report on national and state projections please view the Health Resources & Services Administration official website.