Professional Associations: Editors and More
What kind of job do you want after you finish your education? Do you want to work in a profession like teaching, law or editing? If so, you can already start to find out more about how you can prepare for your future job. One way of doing that is by joining a professional association. Through the association you might be able to find good contacts, learn what you need to know to work in your field, and gain many good insights into your chosen profession.
Most jobs have some kind of group that helps to connect people with each other and to give them the information on improving their work. In some professions, membership in these associations is required before people can begin their careers. These associations help to make sure their members work at a high standard and often offer training courses to help keep each member’s knowledge is as up-to-date as possible. Doctors’ and nurses’ associations are some examples. In other professions, membership is voluntary.
Whether membership in a professional association is voluntary or required, it can be worth the time and effort to join as soon as possible. Meeting with others and having the chance to discuss professional questions can be a very valuable experience. Editors, for example, frequently work alone and often need people in a professional association for support and information.
Many professional associations provide courses and short workshops on topics related to the work for people to maintain their skills and to learn new techniques. The Editors’ Association of Canada and the Manitoba Editors’ Association, for example, offer a variety of seminars and workshops on writing, editing, and computer skills. Many associations also give members a chance to discuss specific questions they have regarding their work.
Through a professional association, you can learn a lot about what it takes to work in that field. Do you think you might want to be a lawyer or an engineer someday? Before you commit to a long and expensive university program, it might be a good idea to learn as much as you can about the work. A professional association is also a good place to start to make contacts with people who might be able to help you find work in the future. In some cases, what you learn about the advantages and disadvantages of the profession might even help you decide between two different careers.
How soon can you join a professional association? It depends on the group, but you’ll probably need to finish high school and maybe even a few years of university before you can become a member. However, you can probably still attend some of the association’s events, such as the annual general meeting, before becoming a member. Another thing to consider is the association’s membership fees. Most associations require payment for membership, but these are usually lower for students than for other members.
Being part of a professional association might seem expensive, but the experience can be very rewarding!