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Professional Organizations

Membership in professional organizations not only qualifies students for the benefits that come with membership, but is also an important way for students to formally identify with the counseling profession. Professional counseling organizations typically offer educational resources, advocacy, professional development opportunities and increased capability for networking. Please see below for a listing of professional counseling organizations and click on each link to explore the mission, vision and offerings of each organization before making a choice regarding which organization you will pursue for membership. Please note that there are many more organizations that students can be a part of.

National Organizations

American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC)
AACC’s mission is to assist “Christian counselors, the entire ‘community of care,’ licensed professionals, pastors, and lay church members with little or no formal training. It is our intention to equip clinical, pastor and lay care-givers with biblical truth and psychosocial insights that minister to hurting persons and helps them to move to personal wholeness, interpersonal competence, mental stability, and spiritual maturity.”

American Counseling Association (ACA)
ACA is “a not-for-profit, professional and educational organization that is dedicated to the growth and enhancement of the counseling profession. Founded in 1952, ACA is the world’s largest association exclusively representing professional counselors in various practice settings. The mission of the American Counseling Association is 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.”

American Mental Health Counseling Association (AMHCA)
AMHCA’s mission is to “enhance the profession of clinical mental health counseling through advocacy, education and collaboration.” AMHCA claims to be “the leading national organization for licensed clinical mental health counselors. AMHCA strives to be the go-to organization for licensed clinical mental health counselors for advocacy, education, leadership, and collaboration. Our organization provides the backbone of resources needed for clinical mental health counselors to thrive in today’s world.”

State Organizations

Pennsylvania Counseling Association (PACA)
PACA is a state branch of the Washington, DC-based ACA and is also a part of the American Counseling Association—North Atlantic Region’s (ACA—NAR) network of state branches, the ACA—NAR being one of four regional chapters of the ACA. The PCA president serves as the association’s official delegate to the ACA-NAR. As a state branch of the ACA, the Pennsylvania Counseling Association accepts the responsibility to serve and represent Pennsylvania’s professional counselors by providing leadership and professional development. The purpose of the association is to enhance human development throughout the life span and to promote professional counseling.

New Jersey Counseling Association (NJCA)
NJCA is the leading state organization of counselors who are working to create an environment in which quality counseling services are accessible, available, and utilized. NJCA is dedicated to advancing the counseling profession through the professional development of counselors and counseling students, and expanding public recognition and awareness of the profession.

Learn more about the Department of Counseling