If you're not familiar with professional associations, they are typically nonprofit organizations that seek to further a particular profession, the interests of individuals engaged in that profession and the public interest. There are numerous organizations in the U.S. and around the world that represent different professions. No matter your specialty, you can find anything from The Knitting Guild Association to the National Association for Women MBAs to the National Bricklayers Association. You name it, there's one for almost every interest and profession out there.
So you may be asking, is it worth it to join one? It depends. Some offer a myriad of benefits that can help you build your network, stay current in your career and even advance your qualifications. Some organizations have thousands of members and others have hundreds or less. Before committing to a membership, see if you can try out an event or two for free, or speak with a current member to decide if it's right for you. When it's an established or well-run association, you can really benefit from it. Here's how.