With over 5,000 chapters across the US, FBLA is a massive organization with around 200,000 members, but what does FBLA do? From what the organization is to who can join the FBLA, this article will answer all your burning questions about the FBLA organization.
Let’s start with the question of what does FBLA stand for? FBLA stands for the Future Business Leaders of America and serves middle school, high school, and collegiate students, although we’ll be focusing on what it means to be an FBLA member in high school. Hopefully, we’ll answer all your questions, from what the FBLA does to how to join!
What Exactly Does FBLA Do?
FBLA, also known as FBLA-PBL, is a high school branch of a career and technical student organization. The FBLA engages with its members through various academic and pre-professional ways in order to help them prepare for a career in business. The organization has a massive reach and is able to help support lots of students every year in a pre-professional educational setting.
In a nutshell, the FBLA helps prepare its members for a professional career in business by giving them the tools for success. If you want the broader answer to what the FBLA does, you’ll have to keep reading because they do a lot for their members!
There are six levels that the FBLA members work through while in high school. Think of these awards as levels that you can progress through by doing different things. Throughout their membership time, students achieve these different levels in the form of business achievement awards, which are listed below:
1. Contributor award
The contributor award is the first award you will work towards after joining the FBLA. This award is given out after you understand all your benefits as an FBLA member and how to take advantage of all the opportunities that the FBLA offers you.
2. Leader award
The leader award comes next and is based on a student being able to learn the basics of leadership. A large portion of this award is about developing and discovering your own personal leadership style, which you will continue to develop more as your career progresses.
3. Advocate award
The advocate award is where students start to differentiate themselves. Each student has the opportunity to choose a business skill or concept that they would like to develop further. You can earn as many advocate awards as you want, but you must complete an advocate award on a given subject before you can move on to do a capstone in that field.
4. Capstone award
The capstone award builds on the foundation you created with your advocate award and goes even deeper into your chosen subject or skill. You will design and complete a project that helps to solve a real-world problem. Capstone projects can also be submitted to the national leadership conference to be judged competitively against other capstone projects.
Along with achieving the different award levels, members of the FBLA can also engage with the organization through local service and educational activities with their chapter. These could range from meetings with local professionals to competing as a chapter in a national FBLA challenge or competition.
The national FBLA association also hosts competitive events, known as the national awards program. The program is an excellent way for students to compete against other FBLA members in simulated scenarios to test the skills that they have learned. The competitions are then judged, and awards are given out.
This is only a brief taste of what the FBLA does; each chapter is slightly different. Remember that this is only the surface of what the FBLA has to offer its members! Make sure you reach out to your local chapter to see what they do on a monthly basis and what they expect from their members.
What Do Students Gain from Being a Member of FBLA?
There are tons of things that students can gain from being a member of the FBLA. From experiences like attending FBLA competitive events or FBLA nationals to learning from like-minded peers and professionals, there are so many reasons to join the FBLA. Here are some of our favorite things you can gain from being in the FBLA:
Getting to connect with your peers who share a similar interest and passion for business is an excellent opportunity on its own, but the FBLA does more than that. It also helps connect you to current business leaders in all sorts of fields all over the country. These leaders are the mentors who can help kickstart your career.
Leadership skills training
Through your work towards the FBLA awards and participation in FBLA events and conferences, you will have lots of time and help develop your leadership skills. There is no way to become a leader in a field without leadership skills, and the FBLA is known for having excellent leadership training.
Access to scholarships
Continued education is the only way that you will ever become a leader in your field, and the FBLA wants to help support you along the way. There are lots of scholarships available only to FBLA members. These scholarships recognize the work and dedication you have put in and help support your continuing education.
How Can FBLA Help Students Get Ready for the Future?
The FBLA does a lot to help students get ready for their future careers in business. It does this through a few means, including professional mentorship, intellectual challenges, and career-focused skill development.
Learning from professionals in the field and understanding what they expect from you is a great way to gain insight that will help you as you enter the workforce. With the insight you gain from being in the FBLA, you will have a better idea of how to structure your future educational endeavors as well as how best to build any future professional connections, which just might be the launch pad for your career.
Intellectual challenges with other like-minded individuals are a great way to push yourself academically and with problem-solving and creative thinking. The challenges that the FBLA sets forward to its members are unique as they allow you to develop your skills by practicing solving real-world problems. These challenges will help you grow in so many fields, all of which will help support your future career goals.
Career-focused skill development
Skills like communication, organization, and leadership are essential to success in any career, but especially in a business career. FBLA focuses on developing skills in its members that will help support them through their future educational and career goals. It teaches its members how to present themselves in a way that befits their goals and aspirations.
Colleges and jobs know that the FBLA prepares its members to be outstanding business students who are well set up for success. Another benefit of being an FBLA member that is worth mentioning is how good it looks on a resume. Having an FBLA membership on your college application or resume is a great way to stand out and signify the work that you have put into training to become a future business leader.
What are the Requirements to Join FBLA in High School?
If you are lucky enough to have an FBLA chapter near you, all you have to do to join the FBLA is to reach out to your local chapter advisor. There are no FBLA membership requirements other than the ability to pay your dues, which we’ll discuss later on.
Your local advisor is the person with the answers. The advisor will be able to tell you all the information that you need to know in order to join. They will tell you when meetings are, how many meetings and activities are required, and how your state wants you to pay your dues.
If you don’t have an FBLA chapter near you, you can always start your own. All you will need to start your own chapter are at least five members willing to join and an advisor to help you all out. Your chapter can grow from there, but you will need a minimum of five members in order for the FBLA national office to recognize you as an official chapter.
Next, your new chapter will need to create your own bylaws or rules. You will also be expected to create your own program of work, which defines what the focus of your chapter will be on. These are both recommendations from FBLA nationals that each chapter make its own bylaws and program of work, but the national office also has its own.
Ultimately, joining the FBLA is very simple. If you pay your dues, have an interest in pursuing a career in business, and want to dedicate your time to your local FBLA chapter, you can join the chapter. No IQ or other intellectual testing is required, and no other restrictions about who can join. The goal of the organization is to empower young people and prepare them for a career in business, and everyone is welcome!
How Much Does It Cost to Join FBLA?
Joining the FBLA is not expensive. However, it is essential to pay attention to all the costs. The national FBLA fees are due each year and, for high school members, are only $6 per year. You’ll want to make sure that you check what your state fees are as well, though, since those will be due yearly as well.
While some states don’t charge a state fee for FBLA high school members, most states do. On average, the state fee ranges from $5 to $15, meaning that even the state fees are remarkably reasonable. Each year you are in the FBLA, you should expect to pay between $10 and $25 total in your expenses.
Wrapping Things Up: What is FBLA in High School?
FBLA is a fantastic organization, as we hope we’ve shown you through this article. They offer outstanding support to help elevate their members to be leaders in the business space and foster connections that will help support their member’s future careers. Anyone can join the FBLA as long as you have an interest in pursuing a career in business and can pay the dues, which are pretty cheap.
From meeting with current leaders in business to challenging yourself alongside like-minded peers, the FBLA will set you up for success! Remember that you will be entering a community of individuals all over the country who are rooting for you to succeed.