The Association of Educational Therapists is a professional organization. Like most professional organizations, in addition to preserving its membership base, it seeks to grow and cast a wider net in order to maintain and increase a supportive influence within the profession it serves.
What are the different categories of AET membership? What are their benefits?
What is the typical background of an educational therapist?
How can someone become an educational therapist?
What can someone do who lacks part of the required academic coursework for Associate ET membership?
What if someone comes to us with years of clinical experience but cannot neatly “pigeon-hole” long-ago academics into our required categories?
What does AET do to reach out to members more isolated because of their geographical location?
How often does a member need to renew his or her membership? How does the renewal process work?
Q: What are the different categories of AET membership? What are their benefits?
AET offers seven levels of membership to our diverse community. Anyone with an interest in educational therapy is welcome to become a member of AET. All memberships share these basic services:
- Access to Member Area of the AET website
- Subscription to the Educational Therapist Journal
- An electronic copy of the annual Professional Directory including listings for Associate ET, Allied Professional, ET/Professional, BCET and Retired members
- Discounts to AET workshops and conferences
- Member prices at the AET online store
There are many members of AET who are supporters of our mission yet have not met the requirements to move on to Associate ET and ET/Professional levels of membership. The fee for this type of membership is $125 per year. An online application is available for General membership.
Students enrolled in a program where they are pursuing a graduate coursework leading toward eligibility for professional AET membership may join as Student members at the reduced fee of $50, which offers the basic benefits of membership as well as additional discounts for AET events. An online application is available for Student membership which must be followed up by supplying proof of enrollment within 30 days of joining. Student classification is good for two membership terms of one year each, after which they must provide new proof of school enrollment. When ready, Student members can apply for Associate ET membership for the usual $35 application fee. As they begin their practices, their Associate ET membership fee will be reduced from $225 to $100 for the first year.
ASSOCIATE ET MEMBERS
Educational therapists in this membership category have completed the required coursework or equivalent training in educational therapy, have had their references, transcripts and résumés processed, and are on their way to ET/Professional membership. There is no time limit on Associate ET status. Associate ETs receive all the benefits of General members as well as a listing in our AET Directory. With the consent and support of a BCET mentor, a hyperlink may be created from our online searchable Professional Referral Directory and online member Directory to a personal information page. Potential Associate ET members may download and submit an Associate ET application, which includes descriptions of the required coursework.
There are two requirements for upgrading from Associate ET membership to ET/Professional: completion of Direct Service Hours and BCET Supervision/Mentorship.
- Direct Service Hours: 1500 hours of direct, clinical, educational therapy service. These hours may have been completed prior to or during Associate ET membership. Any hours not yet accumulated may be completed during BCET supervision/mentorship.
- BCET Supervision/Mentorship: All Associate ET members pursuing ET/Professional status are assigned supervised/mentored hours. Upon approval of Associate ET membership, direct service hours accrued to date will be used in conjunction with information in the résumé to determine the number of BCET supervised/mentored hours to be assigned. Depending upon the level of individual experience, up to 50 hours will be required. These mentored hours must be associated with concurrent direct service with clients and/or related tasks assigned by the BCET supervisor/mentor. The hours are calculated on a 1:10 ratio, meaning one hour of supervision/mentorship for every 10 hours of concurrent direct service with clients and/or related tasks assigned by the BCET supervisor/mentor (also called practicum hours).
Once ET/Professional status is achieved, members receive those benefits available to Associate ETs along with the right to use the protected mark of ET/P. The purpose of the ET/P mark is to highlight the training and experience of the individual.
Associate ET’s who are ready to upgrade to ET/P may download and submit an ET/Professional application.
BOARD CERTIFIED EDUCATIONAL THERAPISTS
Before applying, a member is expected to have Master’s level training in educational therapy or a related profession, be an ET/Professional in good standing for at least a year, and acquire an additional 1000 hours of clinical experience. As well as the benefits of other levels, a Board Certified member of AET may now use the protected certification mark, BCET, indicating the achievement of mentor status in our profession. To become a BCET, there are two steps:
- Part 1: Submission and acceptance of a formal case study.
- Part 2: Completion of a written examination on ethical issues in educational therapy.
You may not apply directly for BCET membership, but must first achieve Associate ET and ET/P status. ET/Ps who are ready to begin the Board Certification process will find the necessary information and documents in the Members’ Center area of the website.
ALLIED PROFESSIONAL MEMBERS
This category of membership is appropriate for licensed professionals in fields other than education that overlap with educational therapy and with our interest in serving those with learning issues, such as psychologists, speech/language pathologists, occupational therapists, and administrators of schools and clinics for students with special needs . Allied Professional members are listed in our on-line Directory with the option of a hyperlink. An online application is available for Allied Professional membership, which must be followed up by submitting proof of licensure.
RETIRED PROFESSIONAL MEMBERS
Retired membership status is open to any individual who has been a Board Certified ET, ET/Professional, or Allied Professional member in good standing for three years and who is retiring from her/his chosen field. This person may retain a maximum of seven private practice hours per week. Retired members are offered reduced annual membership dues.
There is one further benefit that ALL AET members receive: the opportunity to participate in an organization that strives to maintain high professional standards in the interdisciplinary field of educational therapy. Our work can be isolating by itself, but as part of an association we are able to continue our educational and personal growth as well as supporting our profession.
Q. What is the typical background of an educational therapist?
A. Many educational therapists are professional educators who have worked with students with special learning needs. Some are certificated teachers, learning specialists, school administrators, college professors, and allied professionals. Others have been tutors in a particular academic area, teacher assistants in classroom, or parents of students with special learning needs. Finally, although not as common, some have a background in law, business, counseling, or other professions. Educational therapists have a genuine interest in student learning and in providing individualized instruction and remedial services. When working with clients, they apply knowledge of academic or work-related tasks, different curriculum areas, various teaching methods, and training in the neurological and psychological aspects of human development.
Q. How can someone become an educational therapist?
A. Individuals may become ETs and professional members of AET after completing an AET-approved educational therapy program at a colleges or university, taking equivalent coursework from various universities’ special education programs, and/or providing evidence of equivalent coursework and experience.
Q. What can someone do who lacks part of the required academic coursework for Associate ET membership?
A. The AET membership committee has a subcommittee of volunteer ET’s experienced in counseling students who are seeking to fill gaps in their academic preparation. When requested, we will arrange for the interested party to receive this counseling. We also offer course counseling to formal applicants if they are notified that they are missing coursework. For example, an applicant who has just finished a Master’s degree in Special Education might apply to AET for Associate ET membership. Our members have a great deal in common with this person, both in training and professional goals. A large amount of clinical experience is not expected initially; this can be arranged after the applicant becomes an Associate ET member and begins working toward ET/Professional membership. However, the Special Education degree often lacks two required courses: Human Learning and Child/Adolescent Development. These courses, which differ slightly from one certificate program to another, have been designated by our organization, and the partnering college and university, as providing an important context for the practice of educational therapy. Typically they are undergraduate courses, and if the applicant was not an education major as an undergraduate, she/he has not taken them. Therefore, we seek to help her/him locate ways of fulfilling these two requirements.
Q. What if someone comes to us with years of clinical experience but cannot neatly “pigeon-hole” long-ago academics into our required categories?
A. There is a subcommittee within Membership called the “Flex” Committee. Here we seek ways to credit on-the-job experience as fulfillment of related academic requirements. In a sense, we are grandfathering in individuals as Associate ET members who clearly are already practitioners in our profession, a profession that has not formally existed for much more than 20 years.
Q. What does AET do to reach out to members more isolated because of their geographical location?
A. AET holds Virtual Study Group meetings in order to connect educational therapists around the world. The VSG meetings take place through video conferencing and, like face-to-face study group meetings, provide a forum for discussion of topics related to the practice of educational therapy. Sometimes guest speakers are featured, while at other times the focus is on discussion of case studies in order to receive input from other educational therapists and suggestions for handling particular cases. Regular, in-person study groups and regional workshops are also gradually expanding to reach a larger geographical area.
Q. How often does a member need to renew his or her membership? How does the renewal process work?
A. Members are required to renew their membership on a yearly basis. Membership renewal is due on the anniversary of joining or on February 28th. Membership can be renewed online, via fax, or by mail by filling out the renewal form and providing payment information. Associate ET, ET/Professional and BCET members must submit a log of 40 continuing education hours along with their renewal every two years.
For specific questions not answered here, contact the AET Membership Department directly at 414-908-4949 x 116 or firstname.lastname@example.org You may also contact AET's Director of Membership, Judy Brennan: email@example.com.