Professional associations are often involved in research, policy and strategic development for their industry. They also regulate and guide the practice of professionals and may require certain standards of training and ethics for membership.
Professional associations and industry bodies have a range of purposes and functions. They further the interests of the particular professional group or industry by serving as a centralised ‘voice’ or advocate that communicates with government, other sectors and the public at large on behalf of members. They are often involved in research, policy and strategic development for the industry as a whole. They also regulate and guide the practice of professionals and may require certain standards of training and ethics for membership.
Professional organisations and industry bodies can also be involved in advising educational institutions on curriculum development, boosting the public profile of the profession and providing industry-related information and resources.
Most professional organisations also provide ongoing professional development and training activities for members. These activities will be either specifically related to the discipline concerned or may be of a more generic nature.
Professional organisations and industry bodies may take a number of different forms. Some may simply provide services to members for a fee. Others may oversee professional certification that indicates a member’s qualifications in an area. In some fields, membership of a particular professional body may be a legal requirement to be able to practice the profession.