Principles of Organizational Behaviour 4e: Glossary by Oxford University Press suggests the following definition of professionalism:
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Professionalism is the process by which given occupations become professions, in the sense of attaining professional status (Oxford University Press 2005).
Kultgen (1988) in the research titled Ethics and Professionalism claims that “Professionalism is the occupational ideal for many nonprofessionals.” (p. 18).
I am inclined to believe that every person should strive to achieve this ideal to fulfill oneself as individuality. Becoming a professional implies a person’s going up the steps of his or her personal and professional development with the purpose to reach the highest step, that is, to master this or that profession. With every step one makes he or she differs from the amateur by the professional character, spirit or methods acquired.
Becoming a professional involves:
- Unique training – contemporary world that develops so rapidly becomes more and more demanding as far as the need of professionals is concerned. The competitiveness of experts in various fields of knowledge is determined by their experience in the field and success in the unique training they once underwent. The thing is that professionals should be ready to face new and new challenges in terms of their professional growth and this is unique training that gives them an opportunity to store the tools needed for this;
- Formal education – one cannot imagine a professional without a formal education. The latter is a springboard to a person’s professional success. At the stage of getting a formal education a person decides on his or her professional preferences and determines the steps to undertake to achieve one’s professional goals. Whatever type of education a student gets and the profession he or she strives to master, the knowledge that formal education provides him or her with will never become a burden. Therefore, it is crucial that the student should not neglect the importance of any education he/she gets. Education is a key to the student’s professional success;
Achieving credentials – numerous professions differ in their requirements because of the specificity of the fields they occur in. But there exists one common demand for each of them, this is achieving credentials that involve possessing personal qualities important for professional success, getting an appropriate education and acquiring experience in the field chosen.
- The more successful combination of these three factors is the more chances to succeed one gets;
- Activity in continuing education opportunities – this implies that a person should not be restricted merely to the education activities he or she is provided with. Modern education offers more and more opportunities to those engaged in it. The student’s desire to learn more and readiness to work hard to achieve the goal set is the driving force that involves him/her in continuing education opportunities, which, in their turn, offer more and more opportunities in the professional sphere.
- Active participation in professional associations – a real professional is always open to new ideas in the sphere he or she deals with. Professional association is just a place where these ideas are revealed. People who participate in organizations of the kind willingly share their experiences and work together over solving common problems. Professional associations usually serve a depository of learning and suggest many insights into the profession they are all about.
If one asked me to draw a picture of a professional I would draw a cake consisting of various layers, namely, these would be:
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- Intellectualism – this is the basis of the cake, as intellectual is the dominant component of professionalism;
- Training – normally this period comes after getting a formal education and it usually occurs in a higher education environment;
- Autonomy – without it professionals cannot feel free in their work, always restricting themselves to existing ideas without facing the challenges of the new ones;
- Judgment – professionals’ own judgment in determining the most appropriate approaches to solving this or that problem they deal with is a green line to a professional solution found;
- Pride – without the spirit in their eyes professionals are not capable of reaching the top quality of their work they will later take pride in.
My cake would taste rather delicious, as at the top of it there would be my dearest dream – to become a professional.
Being a student I realize that one day I will have to compete with other experts in my field. Participating in the organizations I have talked about above and following the principles mentioned I hope to become ready for real-world experiences. Though I do realize that the real-life requirements are much more severe than the ones I face during my studies, I suppose that the latter harden me and make me ready for the new challenges as much as possible. I understand that much needs to be done for me to become a professional and, what is more important, the greater part of it depends on me. And this cannot but make me glad. One old proverb says: Practice Makes Perfect, I believe that the day to check its validity has already come.
Kultgen, J. (1988). Ethics and Professionalism. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Marston, R. (1993). Developing Professionalism at the Undergraduate Level. JOPERD–The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 64(7), 36+.
Principles of Organizational Behaviour 4e: Glossary (2005). Web.