Schools Training

Professional Associations Follow Many Career Training Paths

19 FEB 2013
Career Path : paralegal

Professional associations play an important role in many career paths, especially when you’re just starting out. They validate training and provide accreditation, as well as professional oversight and a support network. Many professions have them, but law and legal support training like paralegal courses, jobs that must obey strict regulations and healthcare have the most likelihood of requiring them. For example because of the ethical responsibilities inherent in the job, payroll courses often use professional memberships to boost the credibility of their programs, to show they provide graduates with the right skills.


When you’re planning training, it’s a good idea to look into whether your program has the right backing. Most schools are enthusiastic about acquiring the stamp of approval from professional organizations, but keep an eye out for lesser accreditation. A simple web search can tell you what sort of background your program should have. Sometimes a school will also mention accreditation is in progress but unfinished. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the process may complete before you graduate, but before you enroll, talk with the school about how far along they are in the process.


To have a program approved, normally the school applies to the organization granting the accreditation to be audited. The school will submit the curriculum they use and a detailed description of the facilities. Some accreditation or professional association memberships, rather than requiring the school to past its tests, will administer exams to graduating students. In fact sometimes the exams exist exclusive to the school and are only provided as preparatory education.


In the case of paralegal courses, accreditation can mean the difference between working as a paralegal and working as a legal assistant. While both can be rewarding careers, depending on your region, to be a paralegal you need a program that will make you a member of the bar association when you graduate.


In other cases, the professional membership helps your credibility to clients and employers. If you learn a skilled trade, or you have a position of responsibility like a graduate of payroll courses can expect, the professional membership is reassuring proof you know your work before a mistake happens. For example a home inspector or construction contractor just starting out might not have many references, but they can prove their abilities by showing the exams they passed.
Your professional memberships also provide you with networking opportunities. Many associations hold events to allow you to meet peers and potential mentors. This can lead to job leads down the road, especially if they have their own internal job listings. Depending on the organization you may even be entitled to discounts on everything from phone services to work supplies from participating companies.
Visit Algonquin Careers Academy for more information on various career training programs.