practitioners will only enhance the credibility of the field. There may even be benefit in requiring that Master's Degree students wishing to become HPT practitioners be required to work under the supervision of an experienced HPT mentor for a number of months and demonstrate capability in the basic skills. The result: universities would produce higher caliber students and build their reputations in the business world (a source of students and contracts); experienced practitioners would benefit from low or no cost assistance for a number of months (as in law, accounting and medicine) with the opportunity to judge for 50
themselves the value of potential future hirees; students would obtain opportunities to practice and develop competencies, gain experience (and more substance for their resumes) explore the field hands-on and approach the job market with greater confidence. As Gilley & Eggland (1989) mention, "mentoring programs are more career-oriented in focus" than simple OJT, for example, and use of mentors would fit well with the development of HPT professionals. In summary, many avenues exist for preparing future HP technologists. The number of practitioners, university programs with HPT content and local chapters of ISPI are all growing. This trend in itself suggests that more opportunities to learn, practice and gain experiences are becoming available. This augurs well for future HPT practitioners. How should we keep ourselves current? All groups which view themselves as professional provide means for practitioners to keep current with changes and developments in their fields. Generally, this is done by offering members a variety of developmental opportunities such as books and journals, local professional events, regional or national conferences, workshops, meetings and committee work. All of these have one major purpose: to sustain competency and keep professional practitioners current on important issues. The HPT field is relatively well organized in this respect. ISPI offers HP practitioners two journals, sponsored books and occasional publications, international and local conferences and HPT Institutes. The rapid growth the field has been experiencing over the last fifteen years has been paralleled by a marked increase in publications and events directly aimed at HPT practitioners. 51
Coleman (1992) cites five major means for HPT practitioners to keep abreast of the field’s continuous expansion: joining (professional societies such as ISPI); reading; attending; networking; and sharing. He suggests that each practitioner create a professional development program which includes plans for each of the five activity areas. "These plans should match both current expertise and new interests with the available time, resources, and desired level of effort. Of all the ways HPT practitioners can keep themselves current, participation in professional organizations is one of the best. Besides learning from the activities of the organization, it also provides opportunities for networking. Duncan & Powers (1992, p. 88) make a strong case for developing oneself in this manner.
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