Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-21, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 18 June, 2021 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2021.


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Professional recognition

core definition

Professional recognition is the formal acknowledgement of an individual’s professional status and right to practice the profession in accordance with professional standards and subject to professional or regulatory controls.

explanatory context

Professional programmes may not lead to final registration, as this may require a period of (probationary) practice following the programme. However, in many areas, professional recognition is not possible without having completed the professional programme of study.


Professional recognition also extends across national borders. Many countries have procedures in place for the checking, verification and recognition of professional qualifications from another jurisdiction. The European Community has a directive (Directive 2005/36/EC) that specifies the process of recognition of professional qualifications across borders. This Directive came into force in 2007 and has been amended on several occasions. The latest consolidated version of the text of the Directive (dated 24 March 2011) can be found at, accessed 9 January 2017. The extent of implementation by member states (second version 15 April 2010) could be found at, accessed 9 January 2017, but moved elsewhere 30 June 2019.

analytical review

The UNESCO definition of recognition is:

Professional Recognition: Refers to the right to practice and the professional status accorded to a holder of a qualification. Owing to different regulations for the recognition of degrees or titles, a differentiation of two groups should be made: de Jure Professional Recognition applies to the right to work in a specific country in a legally regulated profession (e.g., as a medical doctor). In the European Union, for instance, those regulations exist in both home and host countries and are subject to various European Union Specific Directives. De Facto Professional Recognition refers to situations of unregulated professional recognition, such as situations in which no national legal authorization exists or is required. (Vlãsceanu et al. 2004, pp. 55–56)


The Euroguidance Center of Greece (2003), defined professional recognition as a cross-border recognition of professional status:

Professional recognition is the recognition of a diploma issued in a member state aiming at allowing its holder to work in another member state if his/her profession is regulated.

Professional recognition also applies to the further enhancement of professional status or qualifications. For example the General Teaching Council for Scotland (2016) aks:


GTC Scotland's Professional Recognition recognises the enhanced, significant and sustained enquiry a teacher has undertaken and the development of their professional learning in a particular area. The award of Professional Recognition recognises the expertise and accomplishment of the teacher.

Professional Recognition provides the opportunity for a teacher to be recognised as an accomplished practitioner in a particular area, whose practice is underpinned by ongoing reflective enquiry.

Professional Recognition aligns with the Standard for Career-Long Professional Learning. This Standard is closely aligned to features of SCQF Level 11 and describes the advanced professional knowledge and pedagogical expertise that registered teachers develop and maintain as they continue to progress in teaching and across the education profession. A teacher may also choose to reflect against aspects of the Standards for Leadership and Management and, for lecturers in the College sector, the Professional Standards for Lecturers in Scotland's Colleges (Scottish Government 2011).

Professional recognition can also be used in the sense of peer acknowledgement, i.e. recognition by peers of the professional approach to education. For example, the University of Missouri's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) (2012) announced:

Professional Recognition: Two professors receive Gold Chalk Award [They] were honored with the MU Graduate Professional Council's (GPC) annual Gold Chalk Award. Each year since 1988 the GPC has recognized professors who have made significant contributions to the education and training of graduate and professional students...

Similarly at the association level in the US, professional recognition means recognition of outstanding contribution, thus:

FSCA is committed to recognizing the outstanding work done by school counselors, administrators, and advocates of the school counseling profession. FSCA recognizes individuals who excel in promoting and facilitating the role of school counselors in Florida. (Florida School Counselor Association, 2012)

This second meaning, peer acknowledgement, however, does not require the fundamental of professioanl body (or equivalent) recognised qualification and is thus somewhat peripheral to the core concept of professional recognition that is essentially about a licence to practice (Licensure in the United States).

associated issues


related areas

See also

academic recognition procedures


mutual recognition



Euroguidance Center of Greece, 2003, Professional recognition, available at, accessed 25 September 2012, still available 9 January 2017, not available 30 June 2019.

European Community, 2012, Free Movement of Professionals, available at, last updated 11 September 2012, accessed 25 September 2012, still available 9 January 2017, not available 30 June 2019.

Florida School Counselor Association, 2012, Professional Recognition, available at, accessed 25 September 2012, page not available 1 January 2017.

General Teaching Council for Scotland (2016), Professional Recognition, available at, accessed 9 January 2017, still available 30 June 2019.

University of Missouri's College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) (2012) CAFNR News: June 12, 2012 Story: Claire Deneen, available at, accessed 22 September 2012, still available 30 June 2019.

Vlãsceanu, L., Grünberg, L., and Pârlea, D., 2004, Quality Assurance and Accreditation: A Glossary of Basic Terms and Definitions (Bucharest, UNESCO-CEPES) Papers on Higher Education.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021

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