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In February 2020, ATSA membership voted overwhelmingly to change ATSA's membership categories. The changes simplify ATSA's current 9 membership categories to 4 categories, in addition to a 50% reduction in dues for members in 2 subcategories. Full implementation will take place in November 2020 for the 2021 membership cycle
 
The 4 main categories are: ATSA Member, Clinical Member, Student Member, and Associate Member.
The 2 sub-categories (only for existing ATSA members) are: ATSA Retired Member and Early Career. 
 
Let's take a look at what each category would mean for you, but first, check out our membership category flowchart below. 


ATSA Member – 
  • Persons providing clinical services to, or conducting research, prevention, or program management of, individuals who have engaged in or are at risk of sexual offending.
    • Examples include: Psychologists, therapists, social workers, medical practitioners, academics, researchers, program administrators, and others with similar duties.
  • The same basic membership benefits would stand.  
  • Applicants would no longer have to document 2,000 hours of clinical or research hours in order to join, making it easier to become a member. 
Current ATSA Research Members, Research and Clinical Members, Professional Members, Clinical Associate Members, and Research Associate Members will be grandfathered into the ATSA Member category. Current Clinical Members, Clinical Associates, as well as Research and Clinical Members, can instead opt into the NEW Clinical Member category as outlined below if they so choose. 
 
ATSA Clinical Member – 
  • An enhanced membership category for those with at least a master’s degree who have (1) conducted 2,000 hours or more of direct clinical services (assessment, individual and/or group treatment) to individuals who have engaged in sexual offending behavior and (2) are dedicated to pursuing a certain amount of continuing education units (CEUs) annually.
  • While not a form of certification, it would officially document one’s ongoing training hours and provide evidence for employers who require continuing education. 
  • The same membership benefits stand, in addition to the designation of Clinical Member.
  • Additional nominal fees would apply due to the administrative costs to verify CEU’s. 
All current Clinical Members will be designated as regular ATSA Members and they can opt into Clinical Membership during renewal.
 
ATSA Student Member – 
  • Persons currently registered at least half-time as a student in an accredited program pursuing a degree that prepares them for a career related to the study or treatment of sexually offending behavior. 
    • Examples include: Undergraduate or graduate student, nursing student, medical student/resident, post-doctorates, or similar student. 
  • The same membership benefits stand, in addition to first-year dues being waived.
All current Student Members will be grandfathered into this category until student status expires.
  
ATSA Associate Member – 
  • Persons working professionally in a related field. 
    • Examples include: Probation/parole officers, peace officers, polygraphers, attorneys, judges, those who treat survivors of sexual abuse, victim advocates, nurses, program unit technicians or unit managers, recreational therapists, or those with similar roles. 
  • Those eligible for other ATSA Memberships would not be eligible for Associate Membership. 
  • Benefits would include all basic membership benefits, as well as a new Associate Member listserv, voting privileges, and reduced conference fees, while excluding Journal access. 
  • Annual dues would remain lower, similar to what the current Affiliate Members pay.
Associate Members will be those who are currently Affiliate Members but with new added membership benefits. 
   
There will also be 2 sub-categories for which annual dues would be reduced by 50%:  
   
1. ATSA Early Career Member: those transitioning from being an ATSA Student Member to an ATSA Member or ATSA Clinical Member for one year (early career).  
2. ATSA Retired Member: ATSA members who have transitioned into retirement (based on established criteria).  
 
 

FAQ regarding the changes to ATSA Membership Categories

There have been a few questions that have come up that we would like to respond to with more specifics.  We hope that this helps clarify a few issues.
   

1.  What is the main goal for making changes to the current ATSA membership categories?
   
A:  ATSA is a growing organization that wishes to attract individuals from all different disciplines who work with those who have committed sexual offenses.  We want to make it easier and more attractive for these individuals to join, including looking for ways to establish new benefits for current ATSA members.
   
2.  Is it true that applicants for membership will no longer have to document 2000 hours of experience in the field to be an ATSA member?
   
A:  ATSA membership will no longer require an applicant to document 2000 hours of experience in the field to apply for membership in all categories except those who wish to apply to become an “ATSA Clinical Member”. 
   
3.  Why is it being proposed that “ATSA Clinical Members” need to not only document 2000 hours of experience, but also would be required to obtain annual CEUs?
   
A:  Clinical Membership is something that some U.S. ATSA Members have needed to be hired in some state positions or organizations.  However, having documented 2000 hours of initial training and experience is not felt to demonstrate that the member is up-to-date with what they know and practice.  Rather, it is felt that having ongoing training prepares one to be a better clinician in the assessment and treatment of those who have committed a sexual offense.
   
4.  How many hours of CEUs are going to be required each year in order to maintain being a “Clinical Member”?
   
A:  Many licensing boards in the United States require professionals in mental health and medical fields to have 15-20 CEUs a year.  We are proposing that ATSA Clinical Members obtain 15 CEUs per year in the fields of sexual offense and abuse, or other complementary fields of mental health, forensics, sex offender management, etc.  
   
5.  Will ATSA provide the CEUs for “ATSA Clinical Members”?
   
A:  We propose that “ATSA Clinical Members” can receive CEUs from any source that they chose, as long as the CEUs are related to the field of sexual offense or abuse, or other complementary fields of mental health, forensics, sex offender management, etc.  We want to encourage Clinical Members to have the ongoing education that is appropriate for them to be up-to-date in what they practice in this field.  Attending the Annual ATSA Conference or ATSA Chapter conferences is one way to obtain CEUs, but there are many other conferences, presentations, on-line sources, etc. that would be reasonable places to get the CEUs.  Additionally, CEUs do not need to be from conferences or presentations that are costly to attend, and even documenting hours of self-study of reading the ATSA Journal, or other current scholarly writings can be counted.  We don’t want to make it difficult to get the CEUs!
   
6.  Why should there be a change at all in the “ATSA Clinical Membership” criteria?
   
A:  There has long been a request that ATSA provides “Certification” of members to demonstrate that those who are certified meet a certain standard of assessment and treatment.  Although ATSA cannot certify that a member meets a certain level of expertise, we believe that ATSA can at least document that “Clinical Members” have had a certain amount of initial training and experience, and that they have ongoing education in the field (CEUs).  Therefore, we are not providing certification, but are offering documentation of Clinical Member's training. This makes the “ATSA Clinical Member” category of membership more meaningful for those who chose to do it.
   
7.  What is the real difference between being an “ATSA Member” and an “ATSA Clinical Member”?
   
A:  “ATSA Members” and “ATSA Clinical Members” receive the same member benefits.  The difference is that “ATSA Clinical Members” document their training and CEUs that some members need for their jobs or for their own personal reasons.  
   
8.  If I am an ATSA Clinical Member, how will I prove my CEUs to keep “ATSA Clinical Membership” each year?
   
A:  You will not need to submit proof of your CEUs unless you are requested to do so.  ATSA will do a random audit of 5-10% of the ATSA Clinical Members each year and request that they submit a list of their CEUs completed for the prior year.  If you are not audited, completing your CEUs will be on the honor system.
   
9.  Why is there an increased cost for “ATSA Clinical Membership” compared to being an “ATSA Member”?
   
A:  There is more work for the ATSA main office to coordinate the documentation of the requirements and audits for ATSA Clinical Members.  The amount has not yet been determined, but will not be excessive.
   
10.  It seems that the “ATSA Clinical Membership” doesn’t mean much to me since I am not a clinician, don’t live in the U.S., or work in a related field.  Why so much emphasis on this one issue?
   
A:  It is likely that most "members" will not be “ATSA Clinical Members”, but will fit in one of the other categories: "ATSA Member", "Associated Member", or "Student Member". 
   
11.  I am currently a Clinical Member.  Will I be grandfathered into the new Clinical Member category?
   
A:  In order to make things simple, most membership categories will be automatically grandfathered into the NEW ATSA Member category, but those who are currently ATSA Clinical Members, Clinical Associates, or Research and Clinical Members can easily elect to be in the NEW ATSA Clinical category when they renew their membership for 2021.   
   
12.  Is being an “Associate Member” a less important membership category?
   
A:  No!  We have learned over time that many individuals who work professionally in a related field such as probation/parole officers, peace officers, attorneys, judges, those who treat survivors of sexual abuse, victim advocates, nurses, program unit technicians or unit managers, recreational therapists, or those with other similar roles are interested in being a member of ATSA, but need a less costly way to join, and are not always interested in the ATSA Journal even though they want other membership benefits. We have proposed that this group could be members with upgraded benefits from the current Affiliate member category, where most with these backgrounds are currently listed.  For those who still want the Journal, they could purchase it at a reduced fee.  
   
13.  I am currently a Professional Member who has an extensive background in working with sexual offenders, which is currently an ATSA Member category.  It seems that I would now only be eligible to be an ATSA Associate Member.  Is this true?
   
A:  Although we have tried to define new membership categories in the best way possible, we realize there may be some exceptions that we will have to work out.  If you are currently a Professional Member, for example, and want to be an “ATSA Member” rather than an “Associate Member,” you may do so.  There is no intent to not meet our current member’s needs.  We know there will be a few individual cases to work out.  In fact, we want to meet and exceed your expectations and make this transition as smoothly as possible. 

If you have any further questions, please contact our Membership Coordinator, Tegan Waring, at tegan@atsa.com.