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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 organization for tax purposes.
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;"also a body acting "to safeguard the public interest;" organizations which "represent the interest of the professional practitioners," and so "act to maintain their own privileged and powerful position as a controlling body." 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". 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."
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.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.
A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns their living from a specified professional activity. The term also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular knowledge and skills necessary to perform their specific role within that profession. In addition, most professionals are subject to strict codes of conduct, enshrining rigorous ethical and moral obligations. Professional standards of practice and ethics for a particular field are typically agreed upon and maintained through widely recognized professional associations, such as the IEEE. Some definitions of "professional" limit this term to those professions that serve some important aspect of public interest and the general good of society.
A learned society is an organisation that exists to promote an academic discipline, profession, or a group of related disciplines such as the arts and science. Membership may be open to all, may require possession of some qualification, or may be an honour conferred by election.
Licensure means a restricted practice or a restriction on the use of an occupational title, requiring a license. A license created under a "practice act" requires a license before performing a certain activity, such as driving a car on public roads. A license created under a "title act" restricts the use of a given occupational title to licensees, but anyone can perform the activity itself under a less restricted title. For example, in Oregon, anyone can practice counseling, but only licensees can call themselves "Licensed Professional Counselors." Thus depending on the type of law, practicing without a license may carry civil or criminal penalties or may be perfectly legal. For some occupations and professions, licensing is often granted through a professional body or a licensing board composed of practitioners who oversee the applications for licenses. This often involves accredited training and examinations, but varies a great deal for different activities and in different countries.
Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles or designatory letters, are letters placed after a person's name to indicate that the individual holds a position, academic degree, accreditation, office, military decoration, or honour, or is a member of a religious institute or fraternity. An individual may use several different sets of post-nominal letters, but in some contexts it may be customary to limit the number of sets to one or just a few. The order in which post-nominals are listed after a name is based on rules of precedence and what is appropriate for a given situation. Post-nominal letters are one of the main types of name suffix. In contrast, pre-nominal letters precede the name rather than following it.
A students' union, student's council, student government, free student union, student senate, students' association, guild of students, or government of student body is a student organization present in many colleges, universities, and high schools. In higher education, the students' union is often accorded its own building on the campus, dedicated to social, organizational activities, representation, and academic support of the membership.
The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) is the independent body that checks on standards and quality in UK higher education. It conducts quality assessment reviews, develops reference points and guidance for providers, and conducts or commissions research on relevant issues.
Certification is the formal attestation or confirmation of certain characteristics of an object, person, or organization. This confirmation is often, but not always, provided by some form of external review, education, assessment, or audit. Accreditation is a specific organization's process of certification. According to the U.S. National Council on Measurement in Education, a certification test is a credentialing test used to determine whether individuals are knowledgeable enough in a given occupational area to be labeled "competent to practice" in that area.
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is a United States organization of degree-granting colleges and universities. It identifies its purpose as providing national advocacy for self-regulation of academic quality through accreditation in order to certify the quality of higher education accrediting organizations, including regional, faith-based, private, career, and programmatic accrediting organizations.
The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is an association for information and communications technology professionals with over 45,000 members Australia-wide. According to its Constitution, its objects are "to advance professional excellence in information technology" and "to promote the development of Australian information and communications technology resources".
The Chartered Quality Institute (CQI), formerly known as The Institute of Quality Assurance (IQA), is the chartered body for quality professionals. It improves the performance of organisations by developing their capability in quality management. As a registered charity, the CQI exists to advance education in, knowledge of and the practice of quality in the industry, the public sector and the voluntary sectors.
Career counseling is a type of advice-giving and support provided by career counselors to their clients, to help the clients manage their journey through life, learning and work changes (career). This includes career exploration, making career choices, managing career changes, lifelong career development and dealing with other career-related issues. There is no agreed definition of career counseling worldwide, mainly due to conceptual, cultural and linguistic differences. However, the terminology of 'career counseling' typically denotes a professional intervention which is conducted either one-on-one or in a small group. Career counseling is related to other types of counseling. What unites all types of professional counseling is the role of practitioners, who combine giving advice on their topic of expertise with counseling techniques that support clients in making complex decisions and facing difficult situations.Counselling aims to discuss and understand the problem, to advise and empower the person to decide in one-to-one sessions about his / her career or life goals.
The Institute of IT Professionals (IITP) is a non-profit incorporated society in New Zealand. As New Zealand's ICT professional body, the IITP exists to promote education and ensure a high level of professional practice amongst ICT professionals. Before July 2012, IITP was known as the New Zealand Computer Society Inc (NZCS).
Higher education accreditation is a type of quality assurance process under which services and operations of post-secondary educational institutions or programs are evaluated by an external body to determine if applicable standards are met. If standards are met, accredited status is granted by the agency.
The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) is the global organization for the accountancy profession. Founded in 1977, IFAC has more than 175 members and associates in more than 130 countries and jurisdictions, representing more than 3 million accountants employed in public practice, industry and commerce, government, and academe. The organization supports the development, adoption and implementation of international standards for accounting education, ethics, and the public sector as well as audit and assurance. It supports four independent standard-setting boards, which establish international standards on ethics, auditing and assurance, accounting education, and public sector accounting. It also issues guidance to encourage high quality performance by professional accountants in business and small and medium accounting practices.
The European Certification and Qualification Association is a not-for-profit association that aims to unify the certification processes for various professions. It is joining institutions and thousands of professionals from all over Europe and abroad. The ECQA offers the certification of participants for numerous professions. Currently, 30 professions are active and some new professions are currently being developed. ECQA services are being offered in 24 countries across Europe by 60 ECQA members. The ECQA is also enhancing its activities by expanding to all over the world.
The European Network for Accreditation of Engineering Education (ENAEE) was established in 2006 as an organization to promote quality in engineering education across Europe and beyond. It is rooted in the Bologna process which aims to build the European Higher Education Area.
Membership of ENAEE is open to all bodies concerned with educational and professional standards in engineering. Such bodies may include accreditation and quality assurance agencies, professional organisations, associations of higher education institutions, employers’ associations, and engineering student bodies and their associations.
The Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA) is recognised accreditation body in all German speaking countries (Germany-Switzerland-Austria), FIBAA was founded in 2002 to accredit schools of business. Since the launch of the European Bologna Process, along with the transition to bachelor's and master's programs and the growing independence available to higher education institutions (HEIs) in designing their degree programs, the call for the HEIs to establish and advance sound and transparent quality assurance systems has grown continuously.
The International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI) has since 1987 been the professional body worldwide for management consultants. ICMCI since 2013 is called CMC-Global.
The Society of Quality Assurance (SQA) is a 501(c)(6) professional organisation founded in 1984 that works to organise and promote quality assurance in Good Laboratory Practices regulated non-clinical laboratory environments. As of 2001 it had over 1200 members in 16 countries.