A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) is a group that usually seeks to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals and organisations 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] In the UK, they may take a variety of legal forms.[2]

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;"[3] also a body acting "to safeguard the public interest;"[4] organizations which "represent the interest of the professional practitioners," and so "act to maintain their own privileged and powerful position as a controlling body."[4] Professional associations are ill defined although often have commonality in purpose and activities.[5] 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".[6] 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."[7]

Many professional bodies are involved in accrediting degrees, defining and examining the skills and competencies necessary to practice, and granting professional certifications to indicate that a person is qualified in the subject area.[8]

Many professional bodies also act as learned societies for the academic disciplines underlying their professions,[1][9] such as the American Statistical Association.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b 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. ^ Holmes, CS. "The Nature, Form And Purpose Of Contemporary Professional Associations: An Extended Case Study Of The British Association For Counselling And Psychotherapy". Archived from the original on 3 January 2023. Retrieved 3 January 2023.
  3. ^ Harvey, L. (2004). "Professional body". Quality Research International. Analytic Quality Glossary. Archived from the original on 2019-02-16. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  4. ^ a b 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.
  5. ^ Holmes, CS. "The Nature, Form And Purpose Of Contemporary Professional Associations: An Extended Case Study Of The British Association For Counselling And Psychotherapy". Retrieved 13 October 2021.
  6. ^ "Our definition of a Professional Body". Science Council. Archived from the original on 24 February 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ "Professional bodies and professional qualification". Target Jobs. Archived from the original on 24 February 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  9. ^ Sha, Mandy (2019-05-14). "Professional Association and Pathways to Leadership in Our Profession". Survey Practice. 12 (1). doi:10.29115/SP-2018-0039. Archived from the original on Nov 24, 2023.