professional association

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A collective organization of professional workers, such as doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, lawyers, and accountants. Professional associations provide a number of services to their members, including the provision of training, indemnity insurance, advice, and representation, and in some cases they may also become involved in collective representation and collective bargaining. In addition to servicing their members in a manner equivalent to trade unions, however, professional associations may be licensed by the state to regulate entry to the occupation through a system of examination and vocational training and to determine and uphold standards of professional expertise and practice (see occupational licensing). Because of this latter role professional associations typically aspire to speak on behalf of clients as well as their members and may be active in campaigning for improvements in professional services, particularly within the public sector.

Subjects: Human Resource Management.

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