Whether you are planning to become professional in a given field or you are already practicing, it is prudent to consider joining a professional association. Professional associations are available for many professions at regional, state and international levels. They will help you further your career in many ways. Here are the top ten reasons why you should join a professional association.
1. They give you a wider knowledge base
Once you become a member of a professional association, you get to enjoy some privileges that include access to information. The information is in the form of case studies, books, articles and many other resources that have been compiled by veterans in your field. From their journals and magazines, you get to know and take advantage of available scholarships, workshops or conferences.
2. It may be a requirement for your profession
In some professions like law, architecture and engineering you cannot practice unless you are a member of their professional association. Practicing outside the professional association simply means that you are breaking the law. Most professional associations do this to safeguard their practice against abuse by unqualified individuals.
3. Continued education
To ensure that you are always competent in your area of specialization, you need to continue in education. Continued education will offer you professional development that will ensure that you are able to cope with new challenges. Sometimes it is a personal decision to continue in education but sometimes some associations will not allow you to continue practicing unless you have some certain number of hours of continued education in a given period of time.
4. Widening and enhancing your network
For any professional, creating and maintaining professional relationships is vital. Creating a professional relationship will allow you to interact with like minded people who you can brainstorm together on how to achieve your professional goals. Associations organize and sponsor many events where you can meet with new people and widen your network.
5. You can start being a leader
You can be elected or volunteer to be a committee chairperson or a keynote speaker. This may be just the beginning of becoming an important figure of leadership in your professional association.
Many professional associations offer sponsored courses that are aimed at enhancing members’ skills. The certification they give is a proof that you have gone through the training successfully.
7. New job opportunities
Through the association’s magazines and website you will be able to learn of new job opportunities in your profession. The information may be password protected and therefore this privilege may only be extended to members of the association.
8. Information from experts
Most associations target students who are potential professionals and members of the association. The students are offered membership at a discounted rate or it may be free for them to join. Here, they get to meet senior professionals who explain to them all they need to know about the profession.
Some professional associations give accreditation to members so that their clients see that they stick to certain professional standards. This can greatly give your employer and clients’ confidence in you. You can also get some chattered status that will serve as a quality assurance.
10. International recognition
When you join a professional body not only are you recognized locally but internationally too. Some of the certification issued by some professional associations is recognized globally making you marketable wherever you go.
There are many other career reasons to join professional associations than we can mention here, but I am sure you now have a reason to why you should join a professional association.