Standard of Practice: An association of professional or technical disciplines is established to provide standards of conduct for its members and to set down rules governing their conduct. These fields are real estate, engineering, law and business. Professional standards or realtor licensing are designed to protect the public from unethical or incompetent conduct by realtors and to encourage their performance by the public. These standards of practice are commonly referred to as ethical standards or ethical principles.
Ethical principles are intended to enhance confidence in real estate transactions and to provide guidance to those who seek to engage in them. There are many possible approaches to ethical standards. The most commonly used by associations of professional or technical disciplines is to require attorneys and other licensed representatives to demonstrate continuing training in the areas covered by the code of ethics. Continuing education is often a condition of license to practice. The professional or technical association also may choose to require its members to participate in professional or technical conferences or workshops that include topics related to ethics and professional responsibility.
Ethical principles are usually adopted by professional or technical associations of ethics. When a standard of practice is adopted by a national association of realtors, it is formally acknowledged as an ethical code or a statement of ethical principles. A number of nations have taken different approaches to ethics. In some nations, ethics are adopted by individual states.
The National Association of Realtors is the largest professional organization representing realtors nationwide. Its ethical code and standards of practice are enforced by its executive committee. To be granted a license as a realtor, an individual must comply with the policy adopted by the national board. The policy may be based on a variety of factors including race, color, religion, marital status, age, national origin, sex, or any other protected class. Race and color are often considered negative traits by many realtors and employers.
Another major professional services provider in the field of professional or technical services is the National Association of Securities Dealers, which is accredited by the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM). This association is focused on protecting the interests of its members. Its mission is to ensure compliance by members with the NASSM standards of professional services. The NASSM also publishes a professional Standards of Practice on real estate and securities laws. This standard has been considered a model for other states to adopt.
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), which is the largest professional accounting association in the United States, has also adopted the NASSM’s professional standards of practice. Its ethics code is not legally enforceable, but it is voluntary. AICPA offers several options for membership, including professional membership and non-professional membership. A professional or technical association with a strong commitment to ethics and strong community presence offers the best in quality and services to members. This association has developed a professional debt resolution standard as one of its seven Areas of Practice.
The American Society of Interior Designers has also adopted several professional standards for its members. The most recent standard approved by this society is The Professional Debt Resolution Practice, which was adopted in June 2021. The Professional Debt Resolution Practice reflects a compromise between the need for debt resolution and the need for efficient and timely service to its clients.
In addition to the professional services standard, The National Association of Manufacturers’ Code of Ethics, or NAIMC, has been adopted by many professional associations. The Code of Ethics contains a note about human resources, which states, “The responsible executive should establish a culture of honor that subordinates personal responsibility and promotes teamwork within the company.” This note is incorporated into each of the Code’s sections on professional services, management, sales, business ethics and government relations. This standard is also reflected in numerous voluntary resolutions adopted by associations throughout the US.