Ethics Codes

Professional counselors are typically members of one or more professional organizations, such as the American Counseling Association (ACA), the American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), and/or the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC). One of the requirements for membership in these organizations is adherence to the organization's ethical codes. Each of these organizations provides ethical standards for counselors who are acting in the role of consultants. These ethical standards are intended to protect the counseling profession by providing consistent standards for professional counselors. The ethical standards offer protection to professionals as well as their clients, supervisees, students, and consultees.

The American Counseling Association

The 2014 ACA Code of Ethics is widely followed by professional counselors. Some states legally require professional counselors to adhere to this code.

The ACA has many resources, including podcasts and webinars, to support counselors in learning about and implementing the Code of Ethics. Check out their resources here.

The American Mental Health Counselors Association

The AMHCA publishes the AMHCA Code of Ethics. As you explore the AMHCA Code of Ethics, consider how it is similar to, or different from, the ACA Code of Ethics.

The American School Counselor Association

School counselors who are members of ASCA are responsible for following the Ethical Standards for School Counselors. As consultants commonly work in schools, knowledge of the Ethical Standards for School Counselors is important. Note that the Standards conclude with the Solutions to Ethical Problems in Schools (STEPS) ethical decision making model.

The National Board for Certified Counselors

The NBCC Code of Ethics is used by counselors who have obtained the Nationally Certified Counselor credential.

The National Career Development Association

The NCDA Code of Ethics is available for members of NCDA as well as interested career counselors.