The ARA’s professional development programme – Six Steps to Success

Step 1 – Self-Assessment

Self-assessment is all about seeing where you are today; reviewing the skills, experience and attributes that you already have and understanding where that puts you in terms of the membership level you may already qualify for, as well as the level you aspire to.

To undertake a self-assessment simply:

  • Download the competency framework summary and the three competency framework areas summary here
  • Tick all the competencies you think apply to you
  • Review the five levels of experience and add the appropriate level alongside your checked competency list
  • Align your completed self-assessment with the submission criteria of the three membership levels, Foundation, Registered and Fellow, to understand which level you may already qualify for. Then identify the additional competencies and work required to reach the next level

Step 2 – Find a Mentor

A mentor is someone with more experience and knowledge than you who will help guide your learning and support you in achieving your chosen membership qualification.

We would encourage you to identify your own mentor, but a list of mentors is available if required once you have enrolled.

Agree with your mentor how you will work together, share your latest CV and completed self-assessment and identify key milestones. Reach out to colleagues, professionals and networks for additional guidance and support.

Step 3 – Enrol on the programme

The next step is to enrol on the programme via

After setting up your profile, complete the enrolment form and pay the enrolment fee. You can now get started on your application by following the Foundation, Registered or Fellowship qualification options.

You will need to invite your mentor to collaborate on your application. This is explained in the programme website guide. Your mentor will then have access your application.

Step 4 – Preparing for Assessment

The programme guide explains the different qualification criteria for each level of membership. Up to 10 years’ relevant work experience can be included in your application. Your application should evidence how you meet the required levels in your chosen competencies.  You’ll also need a reference from your mentor if applying for Foundation or Registered Membership

Step 5 – Completing Assessment and Qualification

Once your application is complete and you’ve paid your assessment fee, your application will be assessed by two experienced Registered or Fellow Members of the ARA. The assessment takes around three months to complete.  If successful, you’ll be rewarded with the level of membership and professional qualification that you applied for.

Your success will be published by the ARA and you will receive a certificate confirming your new qualified status.

Step 6 – Maintaining your membership and qualification level

Once qualified with the ARA you’ll need to maintain and develop your knowledge and competency. Professional development is an ongoing process, so it’s important to continue to build on your skills and expertise.

Once qualified, a CPD Review process takes place every five years following qualification to support you with your ongoing professional development.

Look out for our next blog which will include top tips on finding a mentor.

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