I own an alphabet soup’s worth of designations (not counting my degrees and a couple of designations I dropped):

  1. P. Eng.: Registered Professional Engineer
  2. ABC: Accredited Business Communicator
  3. MC: Master Communicator (an honour bestowed on me by IABC)

As my career has progressed and I see younger professionals develop and grow, I have been wondering whether the professional designation will have increasing or decreasing value in the next couple of decades.

Professional associations give practitioners a code of professional conduct, a continuing educational path, and a way of assessing their skills against a set of common standards. Some professions, like doctors, accountants, engineers, etc. have licensing bodies with a regulatory mandate to act in the public interest and to discipline members who are unable to meet the acceptable standards of practice.

Unfortunately, for communications, there is no such regulatory/disciplinary element. When we hear of the actions of firms like Bell Pottinger and see spokespeople like the cast of characters at the White House, we are left to wonder who is ensuring that unethical behaviour is censured.

So what do organizations that accredit communications professionals, like the Canadian Public Relations Society and the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), offer professionals and potential clients as a level of assurance that the accredited individual has command of a body of knowledge, experience in the field and ascribes to a code of conduct?

When associations effectively sanction members who do not comply with standards, they become truly professional associations Click To Tweet

What’s missing for both organizations is the ability to sanction members who do not follow the code or whose work standards fall short. I hope someday both organizations will have that ability. Only then, in my view, will communications have truly come into its own as a true profession.

So, does my alphabet soup mean anything for clients of JAd’E Communications? Absolutely! You can expect me to apply my knowledge, skill and experience with an unwavering commitment performing my services adhering to the IABC Code of Ethics.