Counseling Today, From the Executive Director

We are in this together

Richard Yep April 2, 2009

Richard Yep

The economy has impacted all of us in one way or another. I know there are professional counselors who are dealing with the global financial situation each and every day, either personally, professionally or both. The American Counseling Association has been exploring how best to let our members know that we understand, that we want to help and that we will be with you during this tumultuous time. Let me share what we have done and what we are working on for you.

Some of you know that ACA offers hardship waivers in regard to membership dues. These waivers have always existed and are to be used in dire situations. Not surprisingly, we are hearing from more individuals who wish to maintain their membership in ACA but find it difficult to pay the full amount of dues. I am pleased to say that this option is still available for those facing significant financial obstacles.

In addition, last year, we introduced the option of paying membership dues in three installments rather than being hit for the entire amount all at once. The response has been positive, and we will continue to explore options that make it easier to meet these types of financial commitments. Should you have questions about this option, please call ACA Member Services at 800.347.6647 ext. 222.

Many of you are aware that ACA introduced a new benefit for master’s-level student members in January. This benefit provides professional liability insurance as part of their student membership at no additional cost. Yes, that is correct — professional liability insurance, backed by our professional partner HPSO. This is without a doubt one of the best professional liability insurance programs on the market. The response to this new benefit has been overwhelming, and ACA was happy to be able to negotiate this on behalf of our master’s-level students.

This month, I wanted to tell you about another added benefit that we have been working on for ACA members. In an effort to save you some money, we will be offering the opportunity to earn 12 continuing education credits per year at no additional cost to your ACA membership. This new program, slated for operation beginning in May, will provide one continuing education credit per month to ACA members. We know that it costs money to maintain your license and certification — and just to stay current in the profession. We want you to know that during this time of economic uncertainty, ACA has stepped forward to help ease the burdens you may face.

Because these continuing education offerings will have approval from the National Board for Certified Counselors, these “free” continuing education credits will count toward your license renewal in all jurisdictions that have counselor licensure (49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico).

For those of you interested in what this will save you in real dollars, here is an example. ACA currently charges members $18 per continuing education credit, so 12 of these would be worth $216. With the cost of professional membership in ACA being $151, I think you can see the value this new benefit will have for our members.

I hope the various new benefits we have been working on, as well as what we have already brought forth, are seen as a genuine effort to meet the needs of members. We want to help address those obstacles that might hold you back from doing your job.

Please contact me with any comments, questions or suggestions that you might have via e-mail at ryep@counseling.org or by phone at 800.347.6647 ext. 231.

Thanks and be well.