Addiction counseling certainly has a shorter history as a profession than many other disciplines in health care. So it should come as no surprise that the educational infrastructure for counselors does not yet resemble a fully functioning pipeline feeding the addiction services system. Yet there are many exciting developments in the education of the next wave of clinical professionals. This special section of Addiction Professional outlines the history of addiction studies in higher education and offers a glimpse of how counselor education is adjusting to present demands for the profession.
The articles to follow examine topics such as trends in classroom offerings, opportunities to reach non-traditional students through distance learning, and why some students are opting for a career in addiction treatment despite numerous challenges. This is a time when dramatic developments appear on the horizon, with growing talk of standardizing the addiction studies curriculum and tying it more closely to professional credentialing.
Please give us your thoughts on current trends in, and the future course of, the education of counseling professionals. Send your comments to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The most gratifying aspect of this project for us involved hearing from so many students of diverse backgrounds, all of whom share a desire to make a difference for a population with obvious needs. If the enthusiasm of these students offers any indication of how care will be delivered in the future, there is much reason for hope as the counseling field seeks greater legitimacy in the health arena.