Joining a healthcare association or a professional association is a great way to take the next step in your career. Whether it's networking or access to career advancement opportunities, joining a healthcare association is something that every healthcare professional should consider.
What Are Healthcare Associations?
You have probably heard that it's a good idea to join a healthcare association or a professional association at some point in your career but aren't quite sure what a healthcare association or professional association is. With all the hustle and bustle in the healthcare industry, it can often make you believe that you should put those ideas or considerations on the back burner until your life clears up a bit and you won't have to worry about attending conferences or paying membership fees. The problem with this is that there are plenty of fantastic benefits to joining a healthcare association that you're missing out on.
Healthcare associations are a collection of healthcare professionals and organizations that are designed to help provide resources to members and advance both industry knowledge and career opportunities. Healthcare associations dedicate their resources to improving the career opportunities for healthcare professionals within the association, and the healthcare facilities and organizations that are partnered with the associations.
There are several different types of association with the healthcare industry. There are several that are career focused and only accept potential members who have held a position or career in a certain field or currently work as a professional in a certain career or field, and then there are those that are designed for the individual businesses or companies.
For those associations that are designed around individuals and their respective careers, they focus on the advancement of said careers through the use of training seminars, educational resources, job opportunities, and more. For those associations that are designed around professional organizations or companies within the healthcare industry, they focus on the advancement of the facilities, candidate selection, employee training, healthcare industry knowledge, best practices within the healthcare industry, and more.
In addition, professional associations help members work towards the completion of certificates, licensure, or maintenance of ethical standards.
Benefits of Joining a Healthcare Association
There are so many benefits to joining a healthcare association. Whether you're looking for a way to get ahead in your career, find support in the healthcare industry, or potentially learn about new job opportunities — there is something to gain for everybody in joining a healthcare association. We're going to break down 19 benefits to joining a healthcare association that you should consider.
Networking is by far the best benefit to joining a healthcare association as a healthcare professional or a job seeker who is looking to start a career in the healthcare industry. Healthcare associations provide some of the best ways to identify and connect with other individuals who work in the healthcare industry. These individuals might be potential co-workers, mentors, other job seekers, industry leaders, hiring managers, recruiters, and more.
When you join a healthcare association, you gain access to potential conferences, conventions, seminars, award ceremonies, meetings, and other networking opportunities. These networking opportunities are often closed to the public and only allow association members to attend and participate.
This means that by joining a healthcare association, you're gaining access to potential networking opportunities that other individuals don't have access to. Not only will this put you ahead of other professionals who are currently pursuing different opportunities, it will also put you ahead of those job seekers who are looking to pursue a new opportunity or get started in the industry for the first time.
These networking events are also a great way to get a better understanding of some of the best ideas for networking and the current ideology behind some networking ideas.
When you network with other healthcare professionals or healthcare job seekers in these conventions and events that are closed to the general public, you also gain a different perspective on the healthcare industry. Those that work within the healthcare industry often have a different perspective than those who are on the outside looking in. You might just learn some new tips or techniques on how to connect professionally with others and land a new career opportunity or job.
Conferences are a great benefit for those healthcare professionals or healthcare job seekers who are looking to gain more knowledge about a particular topic or hear from speakers within the industry. Depending on the nature of the conference, some are focused on keynote speakers, education, technology, and more.
Healthcare professionals who are part of a healthcare association receive priority when they are attempting to register for the event
. Conferences often have a limited number of tickets available or passes available and you can reduce the worry of having to register the moment it becomes available by joining a healthcare association. In addition, you don't have to worry that you won't have enough conferences
to attend by year's end if your role requires you to attend a certain number.
Depending on the role that you currently hold in the healthcare industry, you might be forced to attend these conferences as part of your normal job role. These requirements are mostly designed to make sure that each healthcare professional is aware of some of the changing dynamics within the healthcare industry and some advancements that they need to be made aware of. If you need to attend conferences at a regular rate of occurrence, joining a healthcare association is a great way to ensure that you have an ample number of potential conferences to attend and meet the quota that you've been given in your career and job role.
3.) Rewarding Opportunity
The next benefit of joining a healthcare association is that you gain access to plenty of different opportunities to impact others and make a true difference within the healthcare industry. These rewarding opportunities often come when working as a healthcare professional, but they don't have to be relegated to your full-time job. Instead, you can have an opportunity to truly impact someone else when you're attending healthcare association related events or providing career guidance and networking advice to other healthcare association members.
Sometimes the best benefit of joining a professional association isn't just what you can gain, but what you can provide to others who are a part of the same association. Joining a healthcare association means that you will have plenty of rewarding opportunities to impact others on a daily basis.
4.) Take Charge of Your Career
Another fantastic benefit of joining a healthcare association is that you will gain access to additional ways to take charge of your career
. Often times it can feel like your career is completely out of your control or you just can't catch a break. When you join a healthcare association, you will gain access to plenty of additional resources, tools, and networking opportunities that will help you steer your career in the direction that you want to go.
5.) Receive Updates on New Industry Policies
The healthcare industry is one of the few industries that is constantly shifting on a daily basis. To ensure the safety of patients and healthcare professionals, new policies are drafted and put in place every single day. While it can be quite a hassle staying up to date on these new industry policies, it's a good idea to join an organization or professional association that will help you in staying up to date on these industry policies, learning them, and then getting help figuring out how to implement those policies into your daily routine.
The healthcare industry is constantly being impacted by the decisions of policymakers and new legislation that will have a drastic impact on those healthcare professionals working in the industry. One good example of this was when the Affordable Care Act
was put in place in what seemed like an overnight change. Organizations, hospitals, and employers were forced to change all of their policies to accommodate the new legislation. All of this gray area in the new legislation and policy implementation meant that healthcare professionals and employers were left scrambling to understand all of the different changes and impact it might have on them and their career.
When you join a healthcare association, these associations often have policy recommendations that they push to legislators, and receive key insight into how a certain industry or career might change as a result of those policies being implemented.
Receiving guidance and advice about how these policies might affect your career as a healthcare professional or the healthcare industry will help put some of those concerns you might have in your career at ease in relation to potential policy changes and legislation impact.
Individuals who are looking to secure an internship in the healthcare industry should consider joining a healthcare association. Healthcare associations don't just post recent job openings or new career opportunities, they also post internships
that they are looking to fill. For those students who are looking to get their healthcare career started, securing an internship is an essential step in making sure that you gain valuable experience working in the healthcare industry.
The healthcare industry is one of the few industries that require extensive experience
when applying for new positions or new job opportunities. For those students who have no experience working in the healthcare industry or working in a healthcare setting, an internship offered by the healthcare association is a great way to get your foot in the door and get your healthcare career started properly.
The unique thing about joining a healthcare association for potential internships is that there are internship opportunities
that are often exclusive to association members or association family members. For those individuals who are struggling to find an internship, this is a great way to set yourself apart and reduce the competition for healthcare internships or medical internships.
Obtaining a healthcare internship
is a great way to separate those students from other individuals who are trying to get their healthcare career started with no experience. Internships are a great way for prospective healthcare career individuals to gain important experience. Healthcare associations often have their own list of internships that they have received from organizations or often have their own internships that they plan to offer to students which can help students gain valuable experience in advising healthcare professionals or managing and running the association.
7.) Healthcare Jobs
Another benefit for joining a healthcare association is that they often have their own job search platform or partner with job platforms that are exclusive to healthcare professionals or association members. Here at HospitalCareers, we partner with over 30 State Hospital Associations
, to post healthcare jobs
directly from hospitals for healthcare professionals.
Healthcare associations will offer plenty of job opportunities to their association members before they begin marketing or advertising them to the general public. This allows for those healthcare professionals who are association members to get early access to new openings. In doing so, this also lowers the competition that healthcare association members might face when the job becomes available for everyone else within the healthcare industry.
Finding a job that is the perfect fit for you can be a difficult task for any job seeker or healthcare professional, but healthcare associations make it a little bit easier because they cater the jobs for the correct professionals. As an example, you could join the American Nurses Association
which offers jobs that are exclusive to Nurses
Healthcare professionals who happen to be nurses, and then join the American Nurses Association will not have to worry about trying to sift through thousands of potential healthcare jobs because the association will only provide jobs that are related to Nurses
, or in the nursing field.
Healthcare associations will also have direct connections with employers, hiring managers, and recruiters This allows the associations to learn about potential new hiring trends, job opportunities, and then alert their association members to those potential new job opportunities before they're available.
8.) Ethics Confirmation
Healthcare associations are also useful for those healthcare professionals who need to demonstrate that they have the credibility and trustworthiness that they need when interacting with patients or interacting with other healthcare professionals. Some healthcare roles require that their employees are maintaining an association membership that confirms the healthcare professional is completing certain continuing education credits, licensure, training, and industry knowledge.
This industry knowledge and continuing education credit confirmation is essential in the healthcare industry to reduce liability and increase patient trust. In addition, each association often sets a standard of certain ethics codes that they hope their association members will follow. These associations do this in the hopes that their association members will be above and beyond other healthcare professionals in making sure that they are only providing the most efficient, effective, and safe standard of care for their patients.
By joining a healthcare association that holds their members to an increased code of ethics. This is great for those healthcare professionals who want to set themselves apart and demonstrate an increased standard amongst their peers.
9.) Exclusive Resources Online
Another fantastic benefit to joining a healthcare association is that they often have their own exclusive resources online. Often, these healthcare associations will have an exclusive membership section on their website where members can log in and access unique items and resources that are only available to the association members. These items in the members-only area are things like contact databases for networking, potential job opportunities, internship opportunities, career advice, interview guidance, news, training materials, and more.
This has been a recent development for healthcare associations, as many members were complaining that there weren't' any additional resources that they gained when they joined the association. Now, associations (especially healthcare associations) are making a conscious effort to provide additional resources that are exclusive to their members online or through their healthcare association website.
In addition, these member-only sections of the association websites or online resources will help provide additional insight into conferences, conventions, training seminars, or activities that members should consider attending.
10.) Support Systems
Another fantastic benefit to professional associations or healthcare associations is that they can provide additional support systems for healthcare professionals and healthcare job seekers. There can be a lot of uncertainty in your career as a healthcare professional or a job seeker looking to make a start in the healthcare industry. With this uncertainty, there can be a lot of apprehensions about which steps you should take to improve your career or increase your prospects of landing a job.
Healthcare associations will often provide formal coaching or mentorship opportunities where individuals can learn more about what they can do throughout their career, how they can advance their career, or have a helping ear for concerns they might be having in their career.
The great thing about these support systems that healthcare associations often offer is that they can be more informal. These association support contacts provide career guidance to healthcare association members without feeling the pressure that mentors can provide in other scenarios. The support systems in the association will also provide a great connection opportunity for those healthcare professionals who are looking to get in touch with someone new. And above all else, the support system structure in healthcare associations provide a great tool and resource for healthcare professionals to build their confidence and learn new ways they can bring that confidence into their career.
11.) Professional Development
The next benefit that healthcare associations offer to healthcare professionals is professional development. As we've covered earlier, healthcare associations have recently offered plenty of member-only training resources to their membership base. Another fantastic part of this is that healthcare associations have recently taken a larger investment in working with their members to advance their career through professional development resources.
The professional development resources that healthcare associations often offer to their members include ways to learn additional skills, training, and certification opportunities. These opportunities are provided through association member-only courses that are either free or part of the annual membership cost.
The great thing about these professional development resources and courses is that many healthcare associations have also partnered with healthcare organizations and continuing education credit companies to become accredited and ensure that these professional development resources are accredited by the appropriate licensing boards.
For those individuals who are looking to sharpen up their soft skills or learn new career skills that they can then apply immediately.
12.) Industry Information and Advancement Knowledge
As we've briefly covered earlier, the healthcare industry is constantly changing. This constant state of change can make it feel like a never-ending uphill battle for healthcare professionals who have to quickly adjust to the changing dynamics of the healthcare industry and the changing face of their career. The great thing about joining a healthcare association is that it means there are certain benefits to having an inside connection to how the industry could potentially evolve or change in the near future.
Understanding how the industry is changing will allow healthcare professionals to ensure that they are positioning themselves for success moving forward. One example of this is how machine learning is being rapidly integrated into the healthcare industry to drive more top-level decisions. With more top-level decisions being made from computer algorithms, how will that ultimately affect healthcare professionals who are involved in that decision-making process?
Healthcare associations can provide industry information to those healthcare professionals who might be uncertain about how their future might be changing within the industry, and advise them about the changes they should be prepared to make in their career.
Often times, this industry information or advancement knowledge sharing is to help guide professionals into an understanding about how their role might change and the steps they can take to ensure they are positioned for success moving forward.
Another fantastic part of the resources that a healthcare association offers is education. As we've highlighted earlier, healthcare associations are increasingly providing different ways to learn new skills and increase your knowledge about certain topics. Another way that these healthcare associations are educating their members is through the use of education workshops and online courses.
These educational workshops are a great way for association members to learn skills that are perfect for their individual career, job role, or tools they can use in the industry.
14.) Grants and Scholarship Opportunities
Similar to internship and job opportunities, healthcare associations often offer different grant opportunities or scholarship opportunities to association members. Often times these healthcare associations like to give additional resources to their members, and one of those ways is through the use of financial grants or scholarship opportunities to be used in educational endeavors. For those healthcare association members that are looking to go back to school to further their education and enhance their career prospects, they can receive potential aid through their healthcare association.
In some cases, the healthcare association might even offer these grant or scholarship opportunities to an association member's family members. For those healthcare professionals who are looking for ways to help finance their child's or their family member's education, a healthcare association membership is a great way to evaluate whether or not there are potential financial aid opportunities.
15.) Leadership Opportunities
For those healthcare professionals who are looking to give back to the community or to the industry, healthcare associations provide a great way for healthcare professionals to gain valuable leadership experience. Healthcare associations are always in need of fresh blood to help drive innovation and advancement for its members. One way that they can do this is through the use of new leaders who can bring fresh ideas to the table and implement them with renewed energy.
For those healthcare professionals who are looking to develop their skills as a leader, healthcare associations are a great place to develop that skill set. The great thing about engaging in these potential leadership opportunities is that they also allow you to develop deeper connections within the healthcare community and the healthcare association.
As we've highlighted earlier, those healthcare professionals who are looking to give back to their community, or to help others in their career — this is a fantastic way to do that.
Another fantastic benefit of these leadership opportunities is that they help healthcare professionals prepare themselves to become a leader in the professional world with the skills they've developed leading the healthcare association.
16.) Access to Research Publications and Journals
One of the biggest challenges within the healthcare industry is that each healthcare professional typically needs to stay up to date on their continuing education credits, or remain apprised of the advancements within the healthcare industry. Part of this involves reading or reviewing different research publications and research journals.
Healthcare associations will often subscribe to these different research publication platforms and research journals and offer those resources to their members. The great thing about this is that these research journals and research publication platforms can be quite expensive for individual healthcare professionals, and their members can save loads of money without having to subscribe to these platforms. Instead, these platforms, journals, and publications are often included as a member resource in the healthcare association membership fee or membership structure.
Another fantastic benefit to joining a healthcare association is that they often provide certain member discounts for a variety of things. This might include discounts on certain services, products, memberships, and more. Healthcare associations often partner with different organizations and companies to develop these discounted services or products to their members because the outside company or organization has a large pool of potential users or subscribers.
Joining a healthcare association has plenty of benefits for healthcare professionals, and for those career advancement resources or items that they need to pay for outside of the association itself, these discounts will come in handy in reducing that financial burden.
18.) Resume Advice
The next benefit to joining a healthcare association is that the healthcare association will often provide fantastic career resources to advance the careers of their association members. One of the most important pieces to any healthcare career is the resume. This is the first thing that hiring managers, employers, and recruiters evaluate when they're considering whether or not a candidate is fit to move onto the next stage in the candidate selection and evaluation process. Because of the ever-evolving healthcare industry, resume advice frequently changes.
This means healthcare professionals could be crafting their resume the wrong way, or not including important details. Ultimately, this will hold them back in their career endeavors. Healthcare associations often work hand in hand with both hospitals and healthcare organizations to identify which candidates are perfect for certain roles. As a result of this ongoing relationship, healthcare associations often know exactly what to include or exclude on resumes for candidates.
For those healthcare professionals who need some resume advice, joining a healthcare association is a great way to receive that resume advice and improve their prospects of landing that dream job they've been pursuing.
19.) Gain Career Motivation and Stay Inspired
Another benefit of joining a healthcare association is that healthcare association members can use the healthcare association as a perfect resource for finding career motivation and stay inspired. The great thing about these healthcare associations is that there is often no shortage of career examples to learn from, advice to receive, and more. Often times, all it takes is one inspirational story to renew our passion in our career or receive validation that someone else was in our exact same shoes at one point and then turned their career into a successful one.
For those healthcare professionals who are looking for career motivation, or ways to stay inspired throughout their career, healthcare associations are a great way to find that motivation and inspiration.
How To Choose and Join an Association
Now that you've seen all of the benefits associated with joining a healthcare association, you might be asking yourself how you go about joining one. The first step is to conduct research on which associations you might be interested in. Most often, healthcare professionals will join associations that are related to their career, job, role-level, or a generic healthcare industry career association.
The next step is to evaluate what the primary objectives are for each association. Each association is different, which means that they have different goals or objectives for their members. Some are focused on career development, career training, or job placement. Try to figure out what you're looking for currently in your career. It's important to remember that you're not stuck with one association throughout the remainder of your career. If you'd like to bounce around every now and then, that's fine. It's important to select an association that aligns with your needs currently.
The next step in identifying which potential associations you'd be interested in, the next step is to evaluate which ones you are eligible for. Many associations will have different requirements or eligibility requirements. Once you've narrowed down the healthcare associations that you're interested in and then narrowed down that pool based on the eligibility requirements you meet or can easily obtain — the next step is to reach out to them and begin the association membership process. Depending on the association, the membership process can be short or extensive.
Often times the association will put all the information potential members need on their website. This will often highlight the eligibility requirements, member objectives, member benefits, costs/fees, contact information, and application requirements.
Whether you're looking for a support system, internship, jobs, networking opportunities, or professional development resources — there is something to gain for every healthcare professional in joining a healthcare association.