My Personal Experience Applying to The Association of Counselling Therapists of Alberta
Greetings and happy new year to all! My name is Laura Terlizzi. I am a member of ACCT with the designation of RTC. I am also in my second year as an active board member with the title of Communications Director. I live and practice in the greater Vancouver area of B.C., however, I now intend to also start offering e-service via Zoom / Skype. This will enable me to extend my practice to areas outside of the lower mainland, including into Alberta. The following is an account of my personal experience with the application process to become a member of ACTA via the expedited route of entry. The intent and hope in sharing this account is to help give some insight, to all of our members, who are considering applying the same way I did.
As a member of our cooperative association, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to be present at the 2019 AGM & Conference this past October, as it was there that the prospect and potential benefits of becoming a member of the Association of Counselling Therapists of Alberta (ACTA) was announced and explained in detail, in accordance to what information was available at the time.
I greatly appreciate, that as members of ACCT, we are being kept abreast of new information and developments such as this, as it becomes available. Many thanks to the tireless efforts of all of those involved in keeping us up to date with everything.
At the AGM, when the audience was presented with the news of ACTA being open to application via an expedited route of entry and membership; myself, along with Debbie Bowyer (Board Member & Director of Finance), exclaimed that we would both apply and report back to the board of our progress and subsequent results. Because neither Debbie, (who lives in Nova Scotia), nor I, reside in Alberta, we were not certain whether or not we would be accepted.
I’m very pleased to announce that I was accepted and subsequently finalized my membership on Christmas Day! I would also like to report that the process of applying to ACTA was not at all an arduous one. On the ACTA application website, there is a user-friendly, easy to follow video that clearly outlines each step in the process. In fact, I found the information given both via written material combined with the video, to be extremely clear, thorough and supportive.
Although I do not live in Alberta, due to my current participation in a lengthy, in-depth, international counselling course, I do have extensive practicum hours counselling someone who lives in Alberta. Because practicum hours are accepted towards direct client contact hours, the idea was that this would be an acceptable connection to Alberta should that be a requirement for counsellors outside of that province. Debbie also has a previous connection through a client in Alberta.
This being said, as I do not recall any questions within the application that required verification or confirmation of practice directly in Alberta, it would seem that this may not have been an essential consideration after all.
When filling out the forms, I was sure to include all websites, contact information and links to any and all, people, businesses, and/or associations that I listed as professional and educational references or affiliations. My reason for doing so was to make verification as easy as possible for the person who was reviewing my application. Although it was not necessary to provide supporting details of accumulated Currency and DCC hours, having those hours already tracked and recorded also helped in expediting the application process.
In the supplied instructional video, it is suggested to compile in one folder on your desktop, for example, all the documents required to be submitted. This was a good suggestion and helped to keep things organized to be efficiently uploaded to the application. Another suggestion was to make sure you save your work as you go along otherwise you do risk losing everything you’ve done if there is a lapse inactivity time. This did happen to me! I couldn’t find the save tab and had to re-do the entire application. Although the second time around did go much quicker than the first and I did find the save tab after all!
As mentioned earlier, to my relief, I did not find the process to be overly laborious or difficult. Also, not only was the supplied information and instructions complete and detailed, I did receive pleasant emails, both automated and personal. The automated ones being general descriptors keeping me informed of the application submission status, and the personal one simply requesting a second submission of an uploaded document that was not legible.
After applying, there was a six-week waiting period after which time I received an acceptance email congratulating and welcoming me to ACTA. Within the body of that email, I was given a two-week time period to complete the process by paying the membership fee.
Although it was not a problematic or trying procedure, it is a relatively expensive one. The associated costs for me personally were: the initial application fee ($100.00) a current (within 1 year) CRC fee, (approx. $100) and then the membership fee, which for me, applying for 1 designation, was $500. Accordingly, in total, it was approximately $700. If one was to apply for multiple designations, there is the initial application and membership costs plus $250 / year per professional designation. Details of this are part of the information that is made available through the ACTA application website. Also available on the site is a list of all documents required as well as outlines and definitions of things like currency hours versus direct client contact (DCC) hours.
ACTA has done an exceptional job at supporting one through the process of applying to their association via the expedited route. And we, as your board at ACCT, hope that this brief description further helps our members to have additional insight and an even better understanding of everything involved, along with the reassurance that it’s a relatively smooth course as long as you are organized and thorough with your submissions.
On behalf of myself and all the staff and board members, we wish you all the best!