Being part of a professional association and/or having a designation is something to be proud of. It is a great way to publicly display your qualifications in just a few letters. Many efforts go into maintaining this association membership, including monetary dues. Yet there are four requirements of a professional that are truly what differentiates one in ANY career:
1. Education – A minimum standard is met to achieve initial status. Continuing education and professional development is required by individuals on a consistent basis.
2. Ethics – Do no harm, adhere to a higher standard allowing for public trust.
3. Mentorship – Assist and support students and associate members in the profession.
4. Advocacy – Promote the profession and association as well as support associated events, members and the public it serves.
In a world where balance is a moving target, time is the most valuable commodity. “Sorry, I’m too busy!” is an easy response to the common courtesy of asking how a person is, or why they cannot get to everything on their to-do list. Yet, that is just a perspective. There is always something a professional can do to keep and maintain their membership requirements, with high standards and any range of effort.
Here is a starting point of reference for every professional (Feel free to add to the conversation: post additional ideas and comments.):
There is definitely differences in holding each professional designation that exists. The common thread should be the responsibility to hold oneself to the highest standard based not just on obligations but the passion and drive to make the entire community better moving forward.