Professional associations are nonprofit associations that promote the interests of professionals engaged in a given profession. In the United States, these professional associations are typically a non-profit organization, however there are a few that are incorporated for tax reasons. The professional organizations can be formed by any person engaged in a given profession who wishes to serve as a member of the organization. These members are expected to meet certain criteria related to their profession and to carry out the obligations imposed by the organization.
Professional Associations have been around since the middle of the nineteenth century. They were initially formed to advance the career interests of physicians. Medical societies emerged as professional associations to bring together members of the medical profession. Similar associations evolved in various fields such as engineering, law, accounting and other business industries. Today, professional associations exist in all professions and trade sectors. In the United States alone, there are over 500 professional associations.
There are many reasons why professional associations were established. One of them is to serve as a support system for individuals, to assist in career planning, and to exchange information and knowledge on career opportunities. These also create professional development seminars, professional qualifications and certifications, and professional ethics training. With regards to networking, professional associations facilitate networking, helping professionals to get to know one another. As such, these associations have also contributed to the level of career success for many people.
One of the professional associations in the hospitality industry is the International Hotel Association. This association focuses on issues affecting the hospitality industry in general, and specifically for the hospitality industry in the United States. One can benefit from membership in this association as its mission statement clearly states that the association is dedicated to building professional partnerships and maintaining the best practices in the hospitality industry. In fact, it was the IIA that helped develop the Code of Ethics for Hospitality Employees and was instrumental in its creation.
Another professional association is the American Culinary Federation. Its mission is to promote the development of professional chefs across the country by creating standards for culinary education, professional development, and certification. This professional development seminars are aimed at beginners and intermediate levels and professional associations also hold training conferences for professionals in the field of culinary arts. Another professional association focusing on the hospitality industry in the United States is the Travel Agents of America or TAA. Its mission is to standardize the way travel agents interact with travelers, facilitating customer service, product knowledge and developing travel alliances.
Professional associations also play an important role in the management of the hospitality industry. Management association is a special category of professional association in the US. Management association focuses on issues that affect the management of hotels, motels, inns, restaurants, and other types of lodging businesses. Management association requires its members to have a master’s degree in business administration or a similar field and its members have the option to choose from two main areas of specialization: hotel management or restaurant management.
Professional organizations have existed since the time of the ancient civilizations. The medieval period witnessed the emergence of professional associations as a means to address certain issues. The medieval period saw the establishment of guilds, a system of apprentice tradesmen who were trained to construct churches, palaces and castles. Later on, professional associations became the mechanism of setting the rules and regulations for the various trades in a particular society. Today, professional associations have become a mechanism of professionalism in the business world.
There are numerous professional associations around the US. The most popular ones include the American Society of Interior Designers, the American Institute of Architectural Designers, the Culinary Institute of America, and the National Association of Professional Builders. Professional associations are necessary for all professions and all professionals should participate in it either through membership or certification.