Frequently Asked Questions for the ACA Public Idea Bank. (http://www.counseling.org/webideabank)
Becoming a counselor
Finding a college program in counseling
Becoming a counselor
How do I go about becoming a professional counselor?
Each state that licenses counselors (all except California and Nevada, at present) has established specific guidelines for licensure under its law. These requirements vary a bit from state to state, but there are usually three components: Education, Experience, and Examination. The minimum EDUCATIONAL requirement for most states is a master's degree (ranging from 42 to 60 semester hours) in counseling or a closely-related academic program. Most states also require supervised EXPERIENCE before licensure (up to three years under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional). In addition, many states require successful completion of a competency EXAMINATION (NCE, NCMHCE, CRCE, or another state-sponsored examination). Members of ACA can access specific licensure information from the Members Only pages of our website.
I am considering a career in counseling, what type of educational background is required to begin a career in counseling?
A master's degree in counseling or a closely related academic program is the minimum educational requirement to become licensed in those states with licensure. Undergraduate majors in education, sociology, psychology, or any of the social sciences can be very helpful in graduate study, but counselors come from all walks of life (and undergraduate backgrounds), so nearly any major is an acceptable foundation. Individual programs may have specific requirements and recommendations, so it is helpful to speak to a graduate admissions advisor or faculty member for guidance.
I am interested in changing to a career in counseling; do you have any suggestion or advice on school counseling programs?
The Department of Education in each state determines eligibility for licensure or certification (terms vary depending upon the state law) of school counselors. The Council on Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is the accrediting body for these programs, and you may access a directory of accredited programs from their website, www.cacrep.org. Practicing professionals in your local school district can often be another good source for program recommendations. As with any counseling program, make certain the components adequately prepare you for licensure before pursuing graduate study.
I am licensed in one state/country, how do I get licensed in state/country I am moving to?
To gain a professional counseling license in another state contact the state licensure jurisdiction(s) you have identified and obtain their licensure requirements and compare your present licensure requirements. Most states jurisdictions may issue a license to an individual who is currently licensed in another state if their board determines that the other jurisdiction's requirements are substantially equivalent or superior. Next order an application and submit it. If you have any questions regarding the status of your application contact the state directly. For State Licensure Jurisdictions contact information listing go to www.counseling.org once on the ACA home page click on Counselors, next page click onLicensure and Certification, next page click on State Licensure Boards.
When coming from abroad seeking licensure in the United States the process is basically the same, however; educational and training equivalence is more in question. To have your transcript and resume evaluated demonstrating educational and training equivalence is highly recommended. The results of this evaluation should be submitted along with your licensure application to the licensure jurisdiction of your choice. For educational and training evaluations contact the World Education Services(WES) they can be reached at 202-331-2925 or go to www.wes.org for more in-depth information.
How do I find/purchase liability insurance/ student liability insurance?
Professional liability insurance may be obtained by applying on line at the ACA Insurance Trust's website, www.acait.com. Professionals click on the button that says 'Professionals', and students click on 'Students'. The office staff will be pleased to assist you further by calling 800-347-6647 extension 284.
How do I get information on getting insurance for an internship?
Professional liability insurance may be obtained by applying on line at the ACA Insurance Trust's website, www.acait.com. Professionals click on the button that says 'Professionals', and students click on 'Students'. The office staff will be pleased to assist you further by phone at 800-347-6647 extension 284.
Finding a college program in counseling
Where do I find a counseling graduate program?
The Council on Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) is, as its name suggests, the accrediting body for counseling programs. A directory of accredited programs is listed on their website, www.cacrep.org. This is the "gold standard" in counselor education, and many states require completion of a CACREP-accredited program to qualify for licensure. There are also some very good counseling programs that are not yet CACREP-accredited. You may want to familiarize yourself with the CACREP standards for reviewing counseling programs if you are considering one of these programs so you can ask specific questions to help you in determining the appropriateness of the program for your needs. Also, be certain to check your state's requirements to determine if the program you are considering meets the minimal educational requirements for licensure.
Can you recommend colleges that have a particular counseling program?
The American Counseling Association does not recommend specific counselor education programs. We do, however, recommend pursuing a program that has been accredited by the Council on Accreditation for Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). For a directory of these programs, visit their website, www.cacrep.org.
How do I log on to the website if I don't have my password?
To obtain your password please contact our Member Services Department at 800-347-6647 x222, M-F 8:00am – 7:00pm, ET.
I forgot my username and password, can you send it to me or how do I retrieve?
Yes, we will send your established username; however because your password is encrypted we will have to reset it and issue a new one. Once you have logged in, click on "manage membership" located in the Membership Info box and this will take you to the next page where you will be able to change your password. If you have any questions contact Member Services at 800-347-6647 x222, M-F 8:00am – 7:00pm, ET.
ACA does provide desk copies for college or university course adoption. Requests must be made on university or institutional letterhead and sent to ACA Desk Copy Request Processing, attention Carol Adams, 5999 Stevenson Avenue, Alexandria, VA 22304-3300 (or by fax to Carol’s attention at 703-370-4833) with the following information:
- Title of book(s) requested. A maximum of three titles is permitted (one copy per title will be shipped).
- Course for which it is being considered
- Professor’s name
- Anticipated enrollment
Shipping of examination copies to international destinations is $15.00 for the first book and $2.00 for each additional book. Please call Carol directly at 703-823-9800 x380 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org if you need further information on desk copy requests.