Professional associations — Joyce’s Career Tip of the Week

During the past two weeks, the Fulton Schools Career Center hosted Career Exploration Nights for our first-year students at the Tempe and Polytechnic campuses. Every year, I am impressed with, and grateful for, the dedication of working professionals who take the time to share their experiences with our students at these events.

I enjoy watching groups of individuals who represent various professional associations. I love to see the camaraderie among members and the enthusiastic conversations between several professionals and small groups of students.

There are many reasons to belong to a professional organization, association or society. Benefits include: “members only” resources, networking opportunities, ongoing education and news about industry leaders and current issues, discounts on publications, seminars, conferences and job boards.

I am always fascinated by the variety of specializations that exist within the larger organizations. Take a look at the list of “Societies” in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) or the “Technical Committees” in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. (AIAA). By visiting their websites, you can get an overview of many career options as well as find information about specific areas that interest you.

In addition to the national organizations, typically, there are regional or local chapters as well. There are also student chapters. Student memberships are usually connected to the national organization — and are much less expensive to join. The Fulton Schools have several student chapters of professional organizations.

Put your professional development on track by joining and becoming an active member in the professional organization of your choice. Start with a student membership and plan to continue throughout your career.


Joyce Donahue is a Certified Career Counselor in the Fulton Schools Career Center.