The ARA’s professional development programme – how to get started

Since its launch in August 2017, the ARA’s professional development programme has gone from strength to strength and now has over 160 enrolled members and an additional 30 Registered Members progressing through the CPD Review.

By recognising the knowledge and experience members gain in the workplace, and focusing on reflective practice, the programme is helping in the ARA’s mission to establish the highest standards for the sector and support the careers of all those who work or volunteer within it.

Staff and volunteers working at every level in the sector are invited to engage with the programme. The first step is to join the ARA as an Individual Member. Then, depending on your academic qualifications and level of work experience, you can work towards qualifying professionally as a Foundation Member of the ARA (FMARA), a Registered Member (RMARA) or a Fellow of the ARA (FARA). 

A level of membership to suit everyone

  • Foundation Membership (FMARA) provides professional recognition from the ARA for those new to the profession, volunteers, apprentices and those who don’t yet have the level of experience and knowledge required for Registered Membership.  Members can enrol onto the Foundation programme at any time. We recommend applicants have one years’ work experience, which can be from a volunteering role, before they apply for assessment.
  • Registered Membership (RMARA) is the established level of excellence for the profession. Graduates of ARA accredited university courses are eligible to enrol as soon as they graduate. We recommend candidates have three years’ experience before applying for assessment. We are also developing a route to professional qualification based on experience for those individuals who don’t have an ARA accredited university qualification. Those of you who became a Registered Member under the previous programme will remain Registered but need to complete a CPD Review in order to retain your Registered status.
  • Fellow Membership (FARA) is the highest level of membership offered by the ARA and is only available to Registered Members with significant experience.  Registered Members may enrol at any time but must have completed at least one CPD Review before applying for Fellow Membership. We also recommend applicants have at least nine years’ experience following the acquisition of ARA Registered Membership.

A raft of benefits

There are so many benefits to be gained from engaging with the programme: from obtaining recognised professional qualifications and supporting a clear career development path, to increasing earning potential and earning greater recognition in the workplace and among peers.

Once qualified with the ARA, you will be able to use the post-nominal letters after your name applicable to the membership qualification level you’ve achieved. And you’ll become part of a growing community of archivists, archive conservators and records managers recognised by the ARA.

Getting started

There are six steps to ARA professional status, and the career benefits that will follow.

The first and most important step is to self-assess your current level of knowledge and experience using the ARA’s competency framework. This will help you identify your strengths and areas to improve, and then cross check them against the submission criteria for the different membership levels.  You can very quickly identify which membership level you may already qualify for, and what you need to do to progress to the next level.

Look out for further blog posts on the other steps towards ARA professional status over the coming months or visit Six Steps to ARA Professional Status.

Full article published in March 2019

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