Professional association

(Redirected from Professional body)

A professional association (also called a professional body, professional organization, or professional society) 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]

Members of the Licensed Site Professional Association in Massachusetts


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] Professional associations are ill defined although often have commonality in purpose and activities.[4] 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".[5] 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."[6]

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.[7] 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 alsoEdit


  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. ^ Harvey, L. (2004). "Professional body". Quality Research International. Analytic Quality Glossary. Archived from the original on 2019-02-16. Retrieved 2008-09-14.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Our definition of a Professional Body". Science Council. Archived from the original on 24 February 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ "Professional bodies and professional qualification". Target Jobs. Archived from the original on 24 February 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2019.

External linksEdit