7 Organizations Every Counselor Should Know

Professional counseling education does not have to end after graduate school. It can be a lifelong process that requires continuous learning and exposure to new methods, ideas, and discoveries. Some counselors pursue career development provided by professional organizations. 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: American Counseling Association (ACA)
  • Counseling Topic: ACA sponsors various 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”
  • Publications Offered: Journal of Counseling & Development, Counseling Today, and ACAeNews
  • Conferences: Conference and Expo and more
  • 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)

American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA)

American College Counseling Association (ACCA)

  • Website: American College Counseling Association (ACCA)
  • 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”
  • 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)

National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC)

  • Website: NAADAC
  • 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
  • Benefits of Membership: 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: American Academy of Grief Counseling
  • Counseling Topic: Grief and Bereavement Counseling
  • Mission Statement: “...dedicated to continued learning, growth, and achievement in health care practice”
  • 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.

Last updated: April 2020