What training is required for a SAP (Substance Abuse Professional)?

By Work Place | Last updated: January 17, 2019

A Substance Abuse Professional (SAP) is a person who has been trained to evaluate and provide assistance to employees who have violated the United States Department of Transportation (DOT) drug and alcohol regulations. SAPs provide education, treatment recommendations, follow-up testing and aftercare for these employees. They play a crucial role in public safety, ultimately by determining whether an employee is fit to return to their designated role after a treatment plan has been executed.

SAPs require certain credentials and knowledge. They are also required to undergo specific training and ongoing education. After a professional is determined to have the required credentials, they will then undergo a training course approved by DOT. The courses are around 12 to 14 hours in duration and range from around $150 for a home study course to around $465 for a classroom training course.

DOT has identified nine required learning components for its SAP training courses. These are as follows:

1. Background, rationale and coverage of DOT's drug testing and alcohol testing program

2. DOT agency drug and alcohol testing rules

3. DOT drug testing requirements

4. DOT alcohol testing requirements

5. SAP qualifications and prohibitions

6. The SAP's role in the return to duty process

7. SAP consultation and communication requirements

8. Reporting and record keeping

9. Issues that SAPs may confront

After the completion of an SAP training program, a written test is carried out. If the test is passed, the professional is considered qualified as a SAP. Background credentials alone cannot qualify a professional as an SAP. They must also have a clear understanding of and agree to comply with 49 CFR Part 40. Additionally, an SAP must have formal clinical experience in the diagnosis and treatment of substance abuse related disorders.

SAPs then require ongoing education in order to ensure their certification remains current and they remain up to date. The requirement is for 12 hours of continual education every three years.

Find out more about applicable regulations, documents and association/industry links in the SAP section on the DOT website.

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