Methodology for Rankings

When we rank addiction counseling degrees we evaluate them with the most reliable and objective data possible. In particular, we gather educational statistics such as a program's retention rate, graduation rate, cost, and student-to-faculty ratio. These figures give our readers an insight into how students react to the school and its programs. A high retention rate, for instance, indicates that most students are pleased with the faculty, curriculum, and overall campus experience.

The graduation rate follows from the retention rate. If that remains on par with the retention rate, it's clear that students develop loyalty to the school and its addiction counseling program. We also look at the transfer out rate, which we feel supports a case that the school provides strong academics. That is, if most students transfer to equal or better programs, the program in question likely supported this upward move.

Data Collection

Since we strive to maintain a sound ranking system, we seek out data from the most reliable sources. For that reason, we look to sources such as the United States Department of Education for our statistics. Their databases track the numbers we find most useful, and they are considered trusted authorities by educational researchers.

When we update our rankings, we return to these government sources to seek out updated statistics. After all, every college or university changes from year to year. They may even lower tuition from time to time, and everyone needs to know about that.

Data From

Bureau of Labor Statistics: This site tracks employment data as broken down by employment sector. We use this site to gather information related to salaries, state and regional employment, overall employment numbers, and more.

College Scorecard: This site provides data on every institution of higher education in the country. They track many educational metrics, including salary outlooks for graduates.

College Navigator: This site is perhaps the most comprehensive database of educational statistics available. The site is operated by the US Department of Education.

State and Local Governments: Since addiction counselors and other licensed professionals rely on state regulations to govern how they attain their credentials, we consult these state’s websites. Though many states are similar, each is prone to have idiosyncrasies that our readers need to understand.

Accrediting Agencies: Since licensure is often contingent on accreditation, we investigate who has accredited each program. If a program's accreditation is not sufficient for that state's licensing body, we can't list them.

Payscale: This private employment website has aggregated plenty of data from its users. They track salaries through the span of a career, as well as investigating comparable careers, etc.

Ranking Factors We Us

We look at the net cost of each school to help determine whether it is a good value or not. Students might first see the gross price and be turned off. However, even some expensive private colleges become quite affordable once their financial aid packages are considered.

This helps students gauge whether or not they will be able to receive funding while they study for a degree. This metric is used to determine the success of each colleges financial aid office and their ability to help students make college more affordable.

Though most schools these days offer some online classes, we dig to discover whether a program is available 100% online or in some hybrid form.

Lower acceptance rates tend to correlate with higher retention and graduation rates. We also gather this statistic to help students determine how competitive a school may be. After all, they may want to apply to other schools rather than counting on admission to a highly competitive institution.

This measures student satisfaction after their first year as a first-time, degree seeking student. A high retention rate indicates high satisfaction with a school's academic and even cultural programs.

Attrition is a big deal in educational research, so the higher a school's graduation rate, the better it is perceived to be. We also look at the percentage of students who transfer to equal or better programs.

We track down earnings outcomes for each program to determine the overall return on investment (ROI). The ROI is an important metric that measures what the student pays for their college degree and what salary that student can typically receive for the career by earning a degree from a particular college.