Should I join a professional body after my studies?
The ICB is an external examining body and conducts assessments of the qualifications that fall under our scope. We are not a professional body, but we have arrangements with several local and international bodies to grant membership based on specific qualifications achieved through the ICB. You may get additional information on these professional bodies here.
So what is a professional body?
Firstly, a professional body is usually a non-profit organisation seeking to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession and the public interest. The second definition is that it is an organisation set up to represent and promote the interests of its members in their specialised area of work.
The typical structure of a professional body
An executive board manages a professional body with an elected chairperson. The Board is responsible for setting the strategic direction of the body. In addition to the board, there are generally several sub-committees set up by the board to represent special interest groups, for example, academics, finance, members etc.
Traditionally, professional bodies have a membership structure with accompanying designations that a member in good standing can use after their name. Most professional bodies provide benefits to their members, which vary depending on the individual membership you choose. However, most bodies have a communication strategy which typically encompasses magazines, e-zines, newsletters, websites and emails.
What are the advantages of joining one?
There are several reasons why a professional would join a professional body, namely
- To be formally recognised as a professional in your chosen field
- Gaining a professional designation often helps you get a more senior and possibly a higher paid job
- Being able to network with others in your field
- Get support for lifelong learning, as continuing professional development is essential to retain your membership
- Have access to technical knowledge and support
- Being able to contribute your expertise when new legislation, regulations or policies need to be put together or are out for public comment
- Being able to promote your industry amongst colleagues and peers
- Being able to mentor new entrants to the profession to aid them in their development and career path
The disadvantages of joining a professional body
Although we strongly recommend that you consider becoming a member of a professional body, you need to be aware of some of the disadvantages, which are:
- Membership fees can be expensive, especially if you are a member of more than one
- Most bodies require you to hold a recognised registered qualification and have the relevant work experience
- Members must adhere to the body’s code of conduct, but non-members can act unethically as a code of conduct does not bind them
- Many bodies require their members to undergo a set number of hours of continuing professional development programmes per year, which could become costly
- You may feel obligated to volunteer to sit on committees which could be problematic when working full-time and having family commitments
With the above being said, we still recommend that you consider becoming a member that best suits your profession.
To see a list of recommended bodies, please click here.