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Learn New Ways to Treat Substance Use Disorders

Contingency Management Certificate

Learn to guide those with addiction toward better physical and mental health through incentive-based cognitive behavioral therapy known as contingency management.

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Program Snapshot



Learning Format


Online Learning Type



Four weeks

Time Commitment

7 hours/week


Certificate in Contingency Management


$239 for UVM Affiliates and Partners




Learn how contingency management works to fight addiction

In contingency management (CM), positive behaviors are rewarded and reinforced as a form of cognitive behavioral therapy.

Grounded in decades of research, this course is designed to introduce practitioners to the science of contingency management and its application to the treatment of substance use disorders. 

In addition to introducing and reviewing proven incentive approaches, this program offers practical systems and tools for those providing addiction treatment services to utilize. The course endeavors to provide practitioners with foundational knowledge on protocol-driven contingency management programs and how it can be implemented to promote long-term abstinence from substance use in their patient and client populations.

woman smiling during therapy session

In a 2021 meta-analysis of 74 randomized clinical trials of over 10,000 patients

  • 82% reported “significant increases” in participants’ abstinence at end-of-treatment assessment through the use of contingency management

Source: JAMA Psychiatry. Contingency Management for Patients Receiving Medication for Opioid Use Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

What sets UVM apart 

At the University of Vermont, we have developed an in-depth understanding of incentive-based behavior change and the unique challenges faced by those who treat substance use disorders.

The UVM program has been developed by a highly experienced faculty team, the members of which are all currently serving as practitioners, researchers, and educators in the field.

Developed in partnership with

Through decades-long initiatives and research carried out through The Vermont Center on Behavior and Health (VCBH), led by Director Stephen T. Higgins, PhD, at The UVM Larner College of Medicine, they have created approaches and other tools to help practitioners guide those with addiction toward better physical and mental health. This program will provide a foundation for the application of some of those approaches.


This program is right for you if you work in these healthcare roles

This program is relevant for all three common personnel roles in healthcare organizations: decision-makers, clinical supervisors, and direct care staff. Specific roles may include:

  • CM Coordinators, Back-Up CM Coordinators, and CM Supervisors (this training is required)
  • Program Administrators, Physicians, Nurse Practitioners, and Physician Assistants
  • Psychologists
  • LMFTs and LCSWs
  • Registered Nurses
  • Certified Substance Use Disorder Treatment Counselors
  • Other Behavioral Health Professionals
  • Specialists/Clinicians


This four-week, non-credit, fully online, asynchronous program can be completed on-demand by practitioners seeking to learn about reinforcement-based cognitive behavioral therapy that uses incentives and community reinforcement approaches to improve the health of patients and clients.

 Course Objectives

 Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Identify the basic principles of contingency management
  • Describe the role of reinforcement in contingency management
  • Speak to the conceptual and theoretical foundations of contingency management, including behavioral economics and operant conditioning
  • Discuss the evidence for the effectiveness of contingency management in treating substance use disorders
  • Explain the different types of contingency management interventions that can be used, including voucher-based systems and prize-based systems
  • Describe strategies and systems for implementing and managing a contingency management program 
  • Discuss how to integrate contingency management with other evidence-based therapies