Career management is an evolving field, so when does an occupation become a profession? A profession can be defined as an occupation that has gained certain important and characteristic features. It is important to remember that all professions started out as unregulated occupations that gradually grew into a profession, usually with a lot of turbulence. There is no occupation that automatically earned the status of a profession. The most important features attributable to a profession include: body of knowledge, credentialing, national association, code of ethics, and research.
Body of Knowledge
A body of knowledge (BOK) is a collection of processes and knowledge areas generally accepted as best practice as defined by the relevant professional association. Within the career management discipline, TalentGuard has defined the knowledge for practitioners in the career management field. This knowledge is used as the basis to train career professionals throughout the world, and is updated constantly to keep pace with the changing business, regulatory, and demographic environment.
A profession must have a credential that communicates to the public about the standards that must be adhered to and achieved in the world of work. A credential is an attestation of qualification, competence, or authority issued to an individual by a third party with a relevant de jure or de facto authority or assumed competence to do so. TalentGuard offers a Professional Career Manager (PCM) certification to individuals who are interested in becoming a professional career coach.
Occupations can qualify as professions when a band of people come together to form a national professional association. Associations are formed by groups of people who find strength in numbers while sharing common interests in specific professions. Associations exist for the mutual enrichment and advancement of their members and advancing society.
Code of Ethics
A profession also requires a code of ethics. A code of ethics is a set of guidelines that is designed to set out acceptable behaviors for members of a particular group, association, or profession. Many organizations govern themselves with a code of ethics, especially when they handle sensitive issues like interactions with other cultures. In addition to setting a professional standard, a code of ethics can also increase the confidence that outsiders have in an organization by showing them that members of the organization are committed to following basic ethical guidelines in the course of doing their work. TalentGuard has developed a code of ethics, and all of its members pledge to honor the code in order to serve as a guide for professional conduct in the industry.
The final important characteristic feature that designates a profession is an investment in applied research to develop the field and discover new and innovate ways to improve the profession. TalentGuard conducts its own research, as well as advocates in the profession, so that other experts will continue to conduct research in much needed areas such as assessment.