DOT Return-to-Duty Program

DOT/SAP Return-To-Duty Program

Get Your Career Back On Track



DOT/SAP Return-To-Duty Program

Have you recently failed or refused to take a DOT-mandated alcohol or drug test? Do you need help getting back to work? We can help!

What Is The Return-To-Duty Program?

If you are a DOT employee — truck or professional driver, train engineer, pilot, pipeline worker, coast guard, etc. — and you test positive for the use of alcohol or drugs, the DOT requires that you follow a detailed process before you can return to work. A key part of this plan is to work with a federal regulated, DOT approved Substance Abuse Professional (SAP).

At Affordable Evaluations, we have the skills, expertise, and accreditations to help you meet the requirements mandated by the DOT. We work with employees of the greater Houston area to help them meet all of the necessary requirements and stipulations to get re-established in their careers.

DOT Industries Served

We can help re-establish your career if you have been found to be in violation of a drug and/or alcohol policy outlined by the following organizations:

  • Department of Transportation (DOT)

  • Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

  • Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)

  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

  • Federal Transit Administration (FTA)

  • United States Coast Guard (USCG)

  • Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA)

Return-To-Work Process

Step One — Suspension

After testing positive for an alcohol or drug screening, you will be removed from your job and from all safety-sensitive functions.

Step Two — Evaluation

After being taken off the job, the employee will have the option to seek new employment or complete the DOT’s return-to-duty process. This will begin with an evaluation from a DOT-qualified Substance Abuse Professional, wherein an education and drug treatment plan will be determined.

Step Three — Treatment

Based on the substance abuse evaluation results, the SAP will prescribe an appropriate treatment program, often consisting of counseling, educational courses, and other methods of treatment.

Step Four — Follow-Up

Following the successful completion of the SAP-recommended programs, the employee will then have to undergo a follow-up evaluation by the same SAP, wherein the SAP will look for signs of progress and will determine whether the employee is ready to take a return-to-duty test and resume employment. A successful follow-up evaluation will conclude with a written determination of the employee’s eligibility to perform his or her job.

Step Five — Drug Screening

Before an employee can return to work, however, they must first pass a return-to-duty drug screening. This test is conducted by an authorized drug testing service, like Affordable Evaluations. If the screening is negative, the employee is then legally permitted to resume job duties — however, as an employer, the decision to re-hire the employee is yours and yours alone.

Why Complete a DOT Return-To-Duty Program?

DOT return-to-work programs are beneficial to both employees and employers. They give employees an opportunity to retain their position, and they keep employers from having to hire and train new talent, as well as ensure that their workplace is free of substance abuse.


If you have lost your job because of a failed drug or alcohol evaluation, our DOT return-to-work program offers you a second chance. Although employers are not required to rehire you, many DOT employers do not see termination as the default consequence of a failed screening. However, to be reinstated in your position, you will have to complete a return-to-duty program led by a certified Substance Abuse Professional.


As an employer, you are not required to pay for the expense of the return-to-work program. You are also not required to rehire an employee after they complete the process. The decision is yours and yours alone. The SAP will only inform you about the employee’s completion of the program.

Why Affordable Evaluations

The Substance Abuse Professionals at Affordable Evaluations are certified and experienced with the DOT return-to-work program. When you partner with us, we promise professionalism, respect, compassion, and guidance. Our SAPs are deeply committed to helping you restore your status, build strong relationships, and remain gainfully employed.

Whether you are an employer or an employee in need of a DOT-certified SAP, we can help! Contact our Houston office today to learn more or to schedule your evaluation.