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Professional associations

Professional associations can provide assistance and support across a range of situations, including ethical and conduct issues, legal problems and policy issues facing community workers. Relevant professional associations might include:

Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW)
Australian Psychological Society (APS)
Australian Counselling Association (ACA)

Most professional associations have membership requirements that have to be satisfied prior to acceptance and to maintain ongoing membership. Membership requirements are varied and might include:

qualifications
level of experience
membership fees and levies
continuing professional education and development
accreditation programs
requirements such as insurance
statutory requirements.

Additionally, professional associations often have varying levels of tiers of membership:

For example, the Australian Psychological Society (APS) has a range of membership levels including Honorary Fellow, Fellow, Member, Associate Member, Affiliate, Student Subscriber, Foreign Affiliate, Professional Affiliate and Teacher Affiliate.
Community workers and community organisations need to ask some key questions around the topic of professional associations:

Are there any relevant professional associations open to membership?
Does your workplace have a policy on membership of relevant associations?
Will the workplace pay any membership fees?
Will membership lead to increased scrutiny via external regulation?
Will membership lead to increased workload via continuing professional development?
Will membership lead to increased costs via fees for training?