Before I changed my career to become a canine massage and holistic therapist, I used to work in the environment sector in the UK. There it was expected for all consultants to be recognised by one of the professional associations. Even though it was not a legal requirement, you would be hard-pressed to get a job or client if you could not demonstrate your affiliation to a nationally or internationally recognised organisation.
The reasons for this are simple;
It provides confirmation and confidence in the practitioner’s qualifications and level of experience.
There is a requirement to ensure that knowledge and skills are broadened and kept up to date with the latest developments in the field. Otherwise known as Continual Professional Development (CPD). Many of the professional associations offer CPD opportunities in-house.
Provides credibility to the therapies and techniques provided. With the greater variety of techniques that are coming on to the animal wellbeing market, it is essential for these to have a high level of credibility especially since there is a push for more scientifically based therapies being used. These professional associations help by developing the scientific knowledge and understanding of these new areas. There is still so much we do not know and we must support these new and fresh developments in a responsible manner.
They forward on prospective clients to their members either directly through their website or from inquiries directly to the organisation. Nothing gives a better seal of approval than being listed as an approved practitioner. I myself have had a number of clients passed on to me in this manner who immediately had confidence in my abilities before we even meet.
Working as a self-employed practitioner can be a lonely business and many of the professional associations provide a support network to provide assistance, mentoring, and opportunities to chat with like-minded professionals to share ideas and insights.
There are always a set Codes of Ethics in place that all members have to adhere to when they join a professional association. When disputes cannot be resolved directly with a practitioner, there is usually a formulised complaints procedure that can act as a professional third-party mediation service who can take appropriate action if required.
There are assurances that if in the hopefully rare occasions something goes wrong there is appropriate and adequate insurance cover. A lot of the professional associations have partnered up with an insurance provider and can offer discounts to their members.
Membership fees to these professional associations can vary up to £120 pa but average around the £75 pa mark. This is equivalent to the cost of two consultations and in my mind well worth the money for these benefits!
Most of the professional associations provide these services and assurances and you can compare them directly in the “professional association” category posts within the articles page.
In addition, My Pet’s Review verifies the membership status of the practitioners listed and they can be quickly identified by showing the verified logo in their listing and on their website.