Professional association


A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) seeks to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession and the public interest. In the United States, such an association is typically a nonprofit business league for tax purposes.[1]

Roles


The roles of professional associations have been variously defined: "A group, of people in a learned occupation who are entrusted with maintaining control or oversight of the legitimate practice of the occupation;"[2] also a body acting "to safeguard the public interest;"[3] organizations which "represent the interest of the professional practitioners," and so "act to maintain their own privileged and powerful position as a controlling body."[3] In the UK, the Science Council defines a professional body as "an organisation with individual members practicing a profession or occupation in which the organisation maintains an oversight of the knowledge, skills, conduct and practice of that profession or occupation".[4] The Quality Assurance Agency distinguishes between statutory bodies and regulators that "have powers mandated by Parliament to regulate a profession or group of professions and protect the use of professional titles" and professional bodies that "are independent membership organisations that oversee the activities of a particular profession and represent the interests of [their] members" and which "may offer registration or certification of unregulated occupations on a voluntary basis."[5]

Most professional organizations of global scope (see List of international professional associations) are located in the United States. The USA has often led the transformation of various occupations into professions, a process described in the academic literature as professionalization.[citation needed]

Many professional bodies are involved in accrediting degrees, defining and examining the skills and competencies necessary to practice a person, and granting professional certifications to indicate that a person is qualified in the subject area.[6] Sometimes membership of a professional body is synonymous with certification, though not always. Membership of a professional body, as a legal requirement, can in some professions form the primary formal basis for gaining entry to and setting up practice within the profession; see licensure.

Many professional bodies also act as learned societies for the academic disciplines underlying their professions.[1]

See also


References


  1. Speight, James (2014-12-10). Educating Scientists and Engineers for Academic and Non-Academic Career Success. CRC Press. p. 59. ISBN 9781466553576. Archived from the original on 2020-01-26. Retrieved 24 August 2018.
  2. Harvey, L. (2004). "Professional body". Quality Research International. Analytic Quality Glossary. Archived from the original on 2019-02-16. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  3. Harvey, L.; Mason, S.; Ward, R. (1995). Role of Professional Bodies in Higher Education Quality Monitoring. Birmingham: Quality in Higher Education Project. ISBN 1-85920-108-3.
  4. "Our definition of a Professional Body". Science Council. Archived from the original on 24 February 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  5. "UK Quality Code for Higher Education: Part A: Seeing and Maintaining Academic Standards" (PDF). Quality Assurance Agency. 2018. pp. 5–6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 April 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  6. "Professional bodies and professional qualification". Target Jobs. Archived from the original on 24 February 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2019.