Is Internal Communication a profession?

This was one of the points we explored at our career pathways round table last month.
We were discussing if internal communication is a profession. Or is it based more on ‘experience’ than qualifications? And what is a profession anyway?

Here’s a definition –
‘a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to high ethical standards and uphold themselves to, and are accepted as, possessing special knowledge and skills in a widely recognised, organised body of learning derived from education and training at a high level and who are prepared to exercise this knowledge and these skills in the interest of others.’

If we want to be considered a profession, should we compare ourselves to other acknowledged professions, such as law or medicine? The group struggled with this – these are highly evolved areas of expertise and internal communications is relatively new and is still evolving. These traditional professions have evolved to the point where individual practice areas such as employment law or paediatrics have developed into specialisms.

With Internal Communication, the view was that we are more likely to be generalists than specialists and only the largest organisations can afford to employ specialists such as digital media or change communication experts.
On the subject of education and training, there are still only a few opportunities to study internal communication at a high level.

In VMA Group’s recent research, we could see that x% of respondents did not feel a specialist I/C qualification to be essential. However many respondents felt that general communications skills and qualifications are essential or worthwhile.

Does this mean that Internal Communication should be seen as an element essential to a broader communications education? Well, maybe that depends on your career aspiration.

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