Professional Development

Professional Development

The Archives and Records Association has introduced a new competency-based framework that supports current and future needs of employers and professionals across the record-keeping sector.

Developed in consultation with employers and ARA members across the UK and Ireland, the framework specifies the key competencies and levels of experience required by those working in the sector.

ARA Competency framework

The competency framework summary sets out 39 competencies that are grouped under three areas; organisational, process and stakeholder/customer. In addition to the competencies, the ARA has set five levels of experience; level 1 novice, level 2 beginner; level 3 competent; level 4 proficient, level 5 expert/authoritative. The level of experience a member has will determine whether they are eligible for Foundation, Registered or Fellowship of the ARA.

Foundation, Registered and Fellow membership

The ARA now offers three levels of professional membership; Foundation, Registered and Fellowship. They offer designatory letters, known as professional qualifications, equal to those offered by many other comparable professions.

These types of membership demonstrate that you have met an industry recognised standard of knowledge and expertise. They also confirm your commitment to continuing your professional development, ensuring your skills and knowledge remain competitive in a competitive job market. They are also a public declaration of trust and integrity, as members of the ARA must follow a code of professional ethics. We will work to establish these levels of membership as the recognised standard for the sector.

A description of the three levels and application criteria are as follows:

Foundation Member (FMARA)

For those relatively new to the profession, existing professionals who do not yet have the level of experience required for Registered membership, or volunteers and apprentices.

Application criteria: 6 competencies at a minimum of attainment levels 1-2 with a maximum of 3 competencies at level 1, and a minimum of 3 competencies at level 2. Applicants must select at least 1 competency from each of the 3 areas.

Registered member (RMARA)

As currently offered, for those with a formal qualification or significant experience in a professional role.

Application criteria: 8 competencies at a minimum of attainment levels 2-3 with a maximum of 3 competencies at level 2, and at least 2 competencies from each of the 3 areas.

Fellow of the ARA (FARA)

For Registered members with significant experience and who have contributed to the wider profession.

Application criteria: 6 competencies at a minimum of attainment levels 4-5 with a minimum of 3 competencies at level 5, and competencies from a minimum of two areas.

Next steps

We will be accepting submissions for Foundation, Registered and Fellow in 2018. Please check the ARA website regularly, as we will be publishing more information and guidance over the coming months.

In the meantime we recommend that members interested in applying for the new types of membership read the competency framework, and self-assess themselves using the following competency and level documents below. By reflecting on your work experience to date, you will be able to identify which level of membership is appropriate for you.

For additional information and advice please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. An article following the launch of the ARA’s competency framework during the ARA annual conference 2017 is also available.