6 Professional Organizations for School Counselors
Professional organizations and associations exist in just about every field, and counseling is no exception. The importance of having a network, a group of advocates, and opportunities for personal advancement can not be understated. Especially in a career where you dedicate most of your time to others, being part of a professional organization is something you can do for yourself.
There are countless organizations catered to school counselors that you could consider joining, but in this post we will be going over six of the largest, and most prominent, ones you may want to consider.
The ASCA dubs itself the “Home for School Counselors Since 1952”, providing counselors with professional development, events, tools, and legislation to help them best support students. Over 43,000 school counselors are members of the ASCA, enjoying the many benefits such as professional development programs, liability insurance, discounted materials, and a network of thousands of other professionals looking to help one another.
With other 26,000 members across 26 different affiliate organizations, NACAC’s mission is to help college admission counselors and professionals make a college education accessible to all students. NACAC supports counselors with networking opportunities, conferences, publications, and more. An example of one of the resources members have access to is the State of College Admissions Report with detailed data on admission trends, updated annually, and interactive dashboards for counselors to use.
For counselors who wish to demonstrate their excellence and commitment to the field of school counseling, they can become nationally certified by the NBCC. Benefits of certification include using the mark of certification to demonstrate your dedication to the profession, as well as materials pertaining to counseling. Certification signals to both employers and clients your professionalism, that you are up to date on developments in the field, and that you have been approved by other counselors.
The ACA is the world’s largest association that represents professional counselors with 18 divisions. This non-profit organization both advocates for counselors on the state and federal level and provides them with opportunities for professional development. Their core values include: diversity, equity, and inclusion; integrity; proactive leadership; professional community and relationships; scientific practice and knowledge; and social justice and empowerment.
AMHCA’s mission is to “advance the profession of clinical mental health counseling” through political advocacy, community building, and professional development for AMHCA members. There are many forms of membership, and members can enjoy a host of benefits, some of which include affinity communities for networking, contributing to their blog, serving on AMHCA boards and committees, and receiving practice, standard, and ethics guides.
6. State Counseling Associations
High school counselors looking for a professional network that will provide them networking opportunities and resources like the aforementioned national organizations can also look towards state-level associations. State counseling associations share many of the same values and goals as those on the national level, but their regional approach allows them to advocate more locally and address the needs of counselors specific to the conditions and laws of their state.
While CollegeVine is not a professional organization for counselors, it does provide free tools and resources to make counselors more efficient and effective at their jobs. Some of the benefits of CollegeVine include:
- Connecting students with colleges to get them recruited directly from the platform
- Streamlined communication with college admission officers and students
- Rec Letter Assistant for drafting AI-generated recommendation letters
- Access to a school list builder
- Access to a chancing calculator