Five Professional Associations for School Counselors

Professional Associations for School Counselors

  • The American School Counselor Association
  • The American Counseling Association
  • The National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc.
  • The Association of Child and Adolescent Counseling
  • The National Education Association

Similar to many professions, it is often helpful for school counselors to find support in the form of professional associations for school counselors.

School counseling, as a profession, can be misunderstood. Many people may imagine that K-12 school counselors sit at their desk awaiting the arrival of a troubled student to discuss issues. Others may picture these professionals kicking into high gear when it is time for high school seniors to start choosing colleges and submitting their applications.

In actuality, school counselors are highly engaged and critically important members of a school's education team, whether in elementary, middle or high school. School counselors help students personally and academically develop and cope with difficult family situations. They also help teachers gain insights into problems that students face.

Like most professionals, school counselors need access to professional associations that help to serve as a support system, as well as a resource for new professional insights, educational opportunities and approaches to their work.

1. The American School Counselor Association (ASCA)

This worldwide professional association for counselors serves as a multifaceted resource for caring and committed professionals. With a greater emphasis on students' overall needs, including emotional and social development, a school guidance counselor's job has never been as crucial as it is for today's students. It is imperative that school counselors have access to the most up-to-date information in their field, which the ASCA makes the focus of their work.

2. The American Counseling Association (ACA)

Featuring more than 55,000 members, the ACA represents counselors in a variety of counseling settings, including schools. Membership includes access to regular webinars, conferences, journals, publications and education sessions. Additional benefits of the ACA include various insurance programs and savings on car rentals, hotel stays and therapy sessions.

3. The National Board for Certified Counselors, Inc. (NBCC)

This independent not-for-profit professional organization was launched to support counselors who voluntarily sought out certification. The NBCC has its own certification program that acknowledges counselors who have met certain standards, which are set forth by the NBCC, in training, performance and experience. The primary goals of the NBCC is to ensure quality counseling worldwide through helping educational counselors meet their certification requirements.

4. The Association of Child and Adolescent Counseling (ACAC)

The ACAC serves as a support and information network for counselors in schools, hospitals, public agencies and in private practice. The main objective of the ACAC is to help counselors understand the special social and emotional needs of children and teens. The organization offers school counselors a variety of counseling strategies, professional development opportunities and activities, and encourages the exchange of ideas and the spirit of support among its members. The ACAC is open to school guidance counselors who are already members of the ACA.

5. The National Education Association (NEA)

Enveloping all aspects of education, the NEA certainly provides support for the nation's valued K-12 school counselors. With more than 3 million members around the country, it is the largest educational association in the U.S. The NEA provides a wealth of member benefits, including professional development activities, various discounts, discussion forums, and many other resources. This 160 year old professional association has affiliate organizations in each state.

Modern students face unprecedented challenges, specific to the times, so it is imperative for school counseling professionals to find support through professional associations for school counselors.

See also: The 20 Best Online Masters in School Counseling Programs