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AOD Specialist Workers

Alcohol and other drug (AOD) specialist workers include workers whose main work role is to deal with specific AOD issues within a specific AOD service. This includes workers employed in:

  • specialist treatment agencies or organisations that provide other AOD services such as education, prevention, or assessment and referral
  • AOD programs that are embedded within other (non-AOD specialist) organisations (e.g., workers providing AOD treatment, counselling or AOD prevention and education within a hospital or community health organisation).

A diverse range of occupations make up the AOD specialist workforce including:

  • Generic AOD workers
  • Psychologists
  • Counsellors
  • Social workers
  • Doctors
  • Indigenous workers 
  • Allied health workers
  • Nurses
  • Pharmacists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Peer workers
  • Project workers
  • Education officers/trainers
  • Managers/admin officer

Workforce Surveys

Over the past decade, a number of national and jurisdictional AOD workforce surveys have been undertaken. Viewed collectively, these surveys provide a composite profile of the AOD workforce. Workforce Surveys.gif

Source: Alcohol and Other Drugs Workforce Development Issues and Imperatives: Setting the Scene.

The largest occupational groups are generalist AOD workers and nurses, however, the proportions of generalist workers and nurses vary greatly between government and non-government organisations. A substantially larger proportion of nurses work in government organisations. This may reflect differences in service delivery models.

The AOD specialist workforce undertakes a range of activities in a variety of organisations (government, non-government, and private). Nationally, the proportion of government and non-government AOD organisations is approximately 50:50, however, there are substantial variations across jurisdictions.

Key features of the AOD specialist workforce include the following:

  • the majority are female
  • nearly half are aged 45 years or older
  • between 30% and 54% are employed part-time
  • average duration of working in the AOD field is approximately 5 years.

More Information

Further information on the AOD specialist workforce can be found in the following:

NCETA national workforce survey reports

Jurisdictional workforce survey reports

NCETA peer reviewed workforce publications