American Counseling Association

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American Counseling Association
American Counseling Association logo.png
Formation 1952
Headquarters Alexandria, Virginia, United States
Bradley T. Erford

The American Counseling Association (ACA) is a professional organization of counselors in the United States. It is the world's largest association exclusively representing professional counselors.

Its stated mission 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."

The association headquarters is located in Alexandria, Virginia.


Former headquarters of the American Personnel and Guidance Association in Washington, D.C.

The group was founded in 1952 as the American Personnel and Guidance Association (APGA), formed by the merger of the National Vocational Guidance Association (NVGA), the National Association of Guidance and Counselor Trainers (NAGCT), the Student Personnel Association for Teacher Education (SPATE), and the American College Personnel Association (ACPA). The American Personnel and Guidance Association changed its name to the American Association of Counseling and Development (AACD) in 1983. On July 1, 1992, the association adopted its current name.

The American Counseling Association promotes public confidence and trust in the counseling profession so that professionals can further assist their clients and students in dealing with the challenges life presents.

In addition to its members in the United States, the American Counseling Association serves professional counselors in the U.S. and in 50 other countries, including nations in Europe and Latin America as well as the Philippines and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In addition, the American Counseling Association is associated with a comprehensive network of 19 divisions and 56 chartered branches. The American Counseling Association also collaborates with several corporate and related organizations to enhance member services.


There are 19 chartered divisions within the American Counseling Association. These divisions provide leadership, resources and information unique to specialized areas and/or principles of counseling. Divisions chartered by ACA elect division officers who govern their activities independently and carry a voice in national ACA governance. Members enhance their professional identity and practice by joining one or more divisions.

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