What are the Benefits of Joining a Professional Organization in Grad School?

No matter what a student's educational program, there are many benefits of joining a professional organization in grad school. Graduate school is a time in which career goals are often well-defined. Students typically have a professional focus and want to do all they can to excel, both in school and in their future careers. Joining a professional association can add a lot to aiding future job pursuits. In addition, dues or fees may not be as expensive as many fear because students can usually qualify for a discounted membership rate. The return on investment of these groups is great. Read on to discover why.

Ranking: 50 Best Value Alternative Graduate Schools in the West

Industry Standards

Professional groups offer a host of educational opportunities. They're great for staying abreast of industry standards and the latest innovations. In addition, these bodies usually send a newsletter to members, along with webinars and certifications.

Conferences

Conferences are another valuable professional development offering grad students can take advantages of when joining a professional organization. These are great places to hear renowned speakers and to meet interesting professionals within the field.

Networking

Speaking of meeting folks, one of the best benefits of joining a professional organization in grad school is the chance to network. Connecting with those working in the field offers tons of advantages. Students might find a mentor or come across a job lead. In addition, these contacts are often useful for collaboration and sharing of resources once individuals are established within the profession.

Job Opportunities

Professional associations are a great source of information on internships or practicums. These types of experiences are frequently required for graduation. They also give students valuable hands-on experience and can lead to a potential job offer in the future. In addition, the contacts made at organizational events are also a wealth of potential for leading to a possible career opportunity. Not to mention, it simply looks good to employers to see that students were involved in industry groups.

Leadership Experience

One of the things hiring teams look for is leadership experience. This can be hard for grad students to come by. Fortunately, involvement in professional associations gives students a chance to learn leadership. They can volunteer for committee involvement, present at a conference or write for a group-sponsored publication. These are all great ways to gain leadership experience.

Academic Awards

Belong to a professionally-accredited group is a prime source of educational funds. Grants, scholarships and fellowships are often sponsored by professional organizations. These groups want to help future colleagues learn and become involved in the profession. Membership gives students access to lists of awards available through the professional organization and other related sources.

Students should ask their professors and do some research to determine which group is most relevant to their future career goals. Belonging to one or two associations should be sufficient to gain the advantages they offer. It's clear to see that there are numerous benefits of joining a professional organization in grad school, and the opportunities they offer are abundant.

Source: Monster College