7 Organizations Every Counselor Should Know

macbook-conference-taking-notesProfessional counseling education does not end after graduate school. It is a lifelong process that requires continuous learning and exposure to new methods, ideas, and discoveries. One way to cultivate this is through counseling development provided by professional organizations. Counseling graduate students are encouraged and sometimes required to join these organizations to utilize their resources and establish their professional identity. Each organization provides unique benefits, from access to scholarly journals to liability insurance for internships and offers students the opportunity to get the most out of their professional development.


American Counseling Association (ACA)

  • Website: Counseling.org
  • Counseling Topic: ACA sponsors 20 different specialized divisions.
  • Chartered Date: 1952
  • Mission Statement...to enhance the quality of life in society by promoting the development of professional counselors, advancing the counseling profession, and using the profession and practice of counseling to promote respect for human dignity and diversity”
  • Membership Fee: $171 annually for professionals, $96 annually for students
  • Publications Offered: Journal of Counseling & Development, Counseling Today, and ACAeNews
  • Conferences: ACA 2017 Conference and Expo, American Counseling Association Illuminate, June 8-10, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
  • Benefits of Membership: Development and growth of counseling skills, professional networking, liability insurance, and discounts on hotel stays and car rentals.

American School Counselor Association (ASCA)

  • Website: SchoolCounselor.org
  • Counseling Topic: School Counseling
  • Mission Statement...to represent school counselors and to promote professionalism and ethical practice”
  • Membership Fee: $129 annually for professionals, $69 annually for students
  • Publications OfferedProfessional School Counseling Journal, ASCA School Counselor, and ASCA Aspects
  • ConferencesASCA Annual Conference, July 8-11, 2017 in Denver, Colorado

  • Benefits of Membership: Exposure to innovative theories, research and techniques, liability insurance, and access to an online networking community.

American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA)

  • Website: AMHCA.org
  • Counseling Topic: Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselors
  • Chartered Date: 1976
  • Mission Statement...to enhance the profession of clinical mental health counseling through advocacy, education, and collaboration
  • Membership Fee: $183 annually for professionals, $84 annually for students
  • Publications Offered: The Advocate Magazine and Journal of Mental Health Counseling
  • Conferences: AMHCA Annual Conference, July 27-29, 2017 in Washington, D.C.
  • Benefits of Membership: Liability insurance, professional networking opportunities, and numerous discounts.

American College Counseling Association (ACCA)

  • Website: CollegeCounseling.org
  • Counseling Topic: Mental health counseling conducted at colleges, universities, community colleges, and technical schools
  • Mission Statement: “...to be the interdisciplinary and inclusive professional home that supports emerging and state of the art knowledge and resources for counseling professionals in higher education”
  • Membership Fee: $40 annually for professionals, $35 annually for students
  • Publications Offered: Journal of College Counseling, College Counseling & Psychologistical Service Knowledge Base
  • Conferences: ACCA Annual Conference
  • Benefits of Membership: Journal of College Counseling subscription, professional networking opportunities, access to advocacy materials, development of leadership skills, grant opportunities, access to college counseling data and continuing education offerings.

Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development (AMCD)

  • Website: Facebook - MulticulturalCounseling.org
  • Counseling Topic: Multicultural Counseling
  • Chartered Date: 1972
  • Mission Statement:“...providing global leadership, research, training, and development for multicultural counseling professionals with a focus on racial and ethnic issues”
  • Membership Fee: $207 annually for professionals, $125 annually for students
  • Publications OfferedJournal of Multicultural Counseling and Development
  • Conferences: AMCD at ACA Conference
  • Benefits of Membership: Professional development opportunities, consultations on multicultural issues, networking support, options for publishing research, and advocacy and development of multicultural competencies.

National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC)

  • Website: NAADAC.org
  • Counseling Topic: Addiction Counseling
  • Chartered Date: 1974
  • Mission Statement:“...to lead, unify, and empower addiction focused professionals to achieve excellence through education, advocacy, knowledge, standards of practice, ethics, professional development, and research”
  • Membership Fee: $85 annually for professionals, $32.50 annually for students (additional state fees apply as these vary by place of residence)
  • Publications Offered: Advances in Addiction & Recovery
  • Conferences: NAADAC Annual Conference, September 22-26, 2017 in Denver, Colorado, National Council Hill Day
  • Benefits of Membership: Over 90 free continuing education credits, subscription to Advances in Addiction & Recovery, reduced rates for conferences, other publications, and professional services, and development of professional identity support.

The American Academy of Grief Counseling (AAGC)

  • Website: AIHCP.net/American-Academy-of-Grief-Counseling
  • Counseling Topic: Grief and Bereavement Counseling
  • Mission Statement“...dedicated to continued learning, growth, and achievement in health care practice”
  • Membership Fee: $200 for a four-year term
  • Publications Offered: Grief Counseling Blog
  • Benefits of Membership: Specialized certification programs, continuing education offerings, professional networking, and advocacy and support.

Involvement with a professional organization can be an instrumental part of a professional counselor’s identity and practice development. Not only do these organizations provide practical and financial benefits, but they also arm members with the latest literature, research, and discoveries. In short, they provide counselors with the tools needed to advocate and work with their clients.