group of people in professional association making industry networks

Professional associations

Engage with your industry and grow your professional network

You don't have to wait until you graduate to benefit from the resources, knowledge base and networking opportunities of a professional association. They can help you in your career both before and after you leave University.

What is a professional association?

Professional associations are organisations that act as a peak body or umbrella for professionals working in the same or similar fields. These associations can define the profession and assist members to further the profession through ongoing learning, quality control and research. They also seek to maintain standards within a profession, provide ongoing professional development to members, and represent the interests of their members to the government and community.

Visiting the website of a professional association is a great way to learn more about an industry or occupation. Services offered to members vary, but they generally provide a forum for members working in the same or similar fields to interact with and learn from each other.

Potential benefits of joining a professional association

Joining a relevant industry association as a student member is the first step in your professional development.

By listing your professional memberships, professional development courses, and any significant contributions to your industry association on your resume, you’re showing potential employers your career commitment. If you have limited work experience it can also set you apart from your competition.

Benefits of the student membership will vary, so check which of the following services are offered by the associations. They can include:

  • free or heavily discounted membership as a student
  • events, conferences, and opportunities for networking and professional development
  • research on areas of practice, quality and innovation
  • interest or focus groups specialising in specific areas of the industry
  • regular journals and other publications for subscription
  • access to current salary information based on surveys conducted by the association, and advice on workplace agreements.
  • mentoring schemes, career advice, industry information
  • various types of job vacancy listings specific to the industry
  • scholarships, awards and prizes
  • information on professional registration requirements
  • assessment of overseas qualifications.

Professional association websites

This selection of professional associations are grouped according to relevant areas of study and industries, and sub-divided for high interest fields. Some associations of interest to you could be listed under more than one heading. This list is by no means exhaustive – do a Google search to identify other professional associations aligned to your career interests.