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Behavioral Health Workforce Projections

The 21st Century Cures Act (PDF - 1 MB) mandated that we study the nation’s mental health and substance abuse disorder workforce.

We used HRSA’s Health Workforce Simulation Model (PDF - 3 MB) to do this.

How does this data help?

The data helps policymakers and other stakeholders make decisions about behavioral health workforce education, training, and delivery of care.

Why is this data important?

The nation’s mental health and substance use disorder providers are essential. Mental illness and substance use disorders are key factors in disability, mortality, and healthcare costs.

As the opioid crisis continues, we are analyzing the size and distribution of the behavioral health workforce, both today and in future years.

How do we determine future supply and demand?

We apply current patterns of health care use and delivery to future population estimates.

What are our key findings?

Fact SheetBehavioral Health Workforce Projections, 2017-2030 (PDF - 284 KB)

In 2017, we estimate that there were approximately:

  • 33,650 adult psychiatrists
  • 8,090 child and adolescent psychiatrists
  • 10,450 nurse practitioners
  • 1,550 physician assistants
  • 91,440 psychologists
  • 239,410 social workers
  • 53,080 marriage and family therapists
  • 91,340 addiction counselors
  • 140,760 mental health counselors
  • 116,080 school counselors

By 2030, we project these increases in supply of behavioral health workers:

  • 20% decrease in supply of adult psychiatrists to 27,020
  • 22% increase to 9,830 child & adolescent psychiatrists
  • 62% increase to 16,900 nurse practitioners
  • 86% increase to 2,890 physician assistants
  • 13% increase to 103,440 psychologists
  • 114% increase to 513,370 social workers
  • 37% increase to 72,650 marriage & family therapists
  • 3% increase to 93,880 addiction counselors
  • 17% increase to 164,320 mental health counselors
  • 88% increase to 218,130 school counselors

By 2030, we project these changes in demand for behavioral health workers:

  • 3% increase in demand for adult psychiatrists (to 39,550)
  • 1% decrease in demand for child & adolescent psychiatrists (to 9,190)
  • 15% increase in demand for nurse practitioners (to 12,050)
  • 8% increase in demand for physician assistants (to 1,670)
  • 5% increase in demand for psychologists (to 95,600)
  • 12% increase in demand for social workers (to 268,750)
  • 9% increase in demand for marriage & family therapists (to 57,970)
  • 15% increase in demand for addiction counselors (to 105,410)
  • 13% increase in demand for mental health counselors (to 158,850)
  • 3% increase in demand for school counselors (to 119,140)

Past Behavioral Health Workforce Reports

Estimates of New Behavioral Health Graduates

2019

Estimates of New Behavioral Health Grads, 2016 – 2021 (PDF - 699 KB)

National Estimates of Behavioral Health Workforce

2016

National Projections of Supply and Demand for Selected Behavioral Health Practitioners: 2013-2025 (PDF - 463 KB)

State-Level Estimates of Behavioral Health Workforce

2019

State-Level Estimates of Behavioral Health Workforce (PDF - 2 MB)

Addiction Counselors

2019

Health Workforce Projections: Addiction counselors (PDF - 715 KB)

2016

Health Workforce Projections: Addiction Counselors (PDF - 153 KB)

Marriage and Family Therapists

2019

Health Workforce Projections: Marriage and family therapists (PDF - 717 KB)

Mental Health and School Counselors

2019

Health Workforce Projections: Mental health and school counselors (PDF - 824 KB)

2016

Health Workforce Projections: Mental Health Counselors (PDF - 153 KB)

Psychiatrists

2019

Health Workforce Projections: Psychiatrists (PDF - 747 KB)

Psychiatric Technicians and Psychiatric Aides

2019

Health Workforce Projections: Psychiatric technicians and psychiatric aides (PDF - 727 KB)

Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners and Psychiatric Physician Assistants

2019

Health Workforce Projections: Psychiatric nurse practitioners and psychiatric physician assistants (PDF - 752 KB)

Psychologists

2019

Health Workforce Projections: Psychologists (PDF - 740 KB)

2016

Health Workforce Projections: Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychologists (PDF - 155 KB)

2015

Health Workforce Projections: Psychologists (PDF - 98 KB)

Social Workers

2019

Health Workforce Projections: Social workers (PDF - 728 KB)

2016

Health Workforce Projections: Mental Health and Substance Abuse Social Workers (PDF - 153 KB)

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