Characteristics of academic education programs for addictions practitioners

Eldon Edmundson, Traci Rieckmann, Phyllis Edmundson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A review of United States-based two-year (82), four-year (38), and graduate (68) addictions professional preparation programs indicated that the discipline lacks consistency regarding name, whether preparation has a science or arts academic foundation, whether preparation has an academic or technical base, and what department or academic unit hosts the program. Educators, researchers and providers working in the substance abuse field who participated in informal discussions of the results of this study found this variation understandable and believed the emerging nature of the discipline, institutional politics, the variation in terminology used by state and local agencies, and the interdisciplinary nature of the field create these inconsistencies. These variations indicate that the addictions profession has not yet developed consensus on what terminology best describes the discipline, nor the curricular framework that leads to most consistent academic preparation. Further, this variation provides insights about the influence the discipline has on public policy and the perceptions of addictions studies held by the public, consumers, and other related health professionals. Moving to full recognition as a profession will require attention to the preparation of professionals, standards for credentialing, and expectations for professional conduct and continuing professional development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-39
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Teaching in the Addictions
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Academic preparation for addiction counselors
  • Addiction counselor education
  • Addiction professional programs
  • Addiction studies
  • Addiction studies program names
  • Substance abuse counselor education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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