Professional Association Definition

A professional association is an organization formed by individuals with similar professions or interests, aiming to promote and support their members' career development, education, and industry-related activities.

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Types of Professional Associations

There are several types of professional associations. Some professional associations create rules and standards for their particular field. These types of professional associations issue credentials and are even involved in accrediting degree programs.

Other professional associations focus on researching topics related to the field. They publish reports and journals. They also evaluate best practices in the industry or profession. 

Another type of professional association creates standards and rules for the industry. These groups only permit members who follow the rules they set for their industry.

Lastly, some professional associations solely focus on the members. They organize networking events, create opportunities for professional development, and even help members find jobs.

A professional association business definition can also consist of a mix of the above qualities. A group can work on research and standards for the industry while creating networking opportunities for members all at the same time. 

Professional Association Benefits

Part of a professional association definition is a group whose members are all in the same job or career. Thus, professional association benefits are many. People early in their careers can benefit from membership in such an organization because they typically provide new members with a good deal of assistance.

Professional associations offer networking and job opportunities. Membership ranges from students to very experienced professionals. Because of this, professional associations often hold networking events. They even let members know about job opportunities.

Professional associations have committees. These committees do work on issues affecting their industries. Members can usually join these committees if they wish to work on advancing their professions.

The professional association meaning also includes advocacy. These groups may lobby for changes in the government on behalf of their members.

Professional Association Considerations

Professional association disadvantages are few. The main disadvantage of joining a professional association is the cost of membership. However, students and newer members may be able to apply for free or discounted memberships. 

Other Names for a Professional Association

A common alternate name for a professional association is a professional organization. A professional association can also be called a professional society, club, or trade organization. 

Professional Association Examples

What is a professional association? Professional association examples include:

  • The American Bar Association for lawyers 
  • The American Counseling Association for therapists
  • The American Bankers Association for financial professionals

There are also many state professional associations. You can find a professional association for almost every industry.


The definition of a professional association is a group of people who work in the same industry. Professional organizations can help you with networking and research about industry issues.

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Disclaimer: The content on this page is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.

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