Difference Between Profession and Career

A profession and a career are both related to an individual working to earn a living. The two terms are similar but have some distinguishable differences.

In that, a profession requires formal qualification after undergoing training in a recognized institution. While career refers to the various jobs which an individual has served over the years.

It shows the positions occupied in the various organizations and the projects done. Notably, the terms are often used interchangeably; however, it is essential to learn the key differences to avoid confusing the two.

Profession vs Career

The main difference between Profession and Career is that Profession refers to a person’s knowledge and skills in a particular occupation, career refers to the decision of an individual for scoping the future in education or job. A profession is based on experience, a career is based on the ambitions of an individual.

Profession vs Career

A profession is to be oriented for service, but a career is to be oriented for growth.

Comparison Table Between Profession and Career

Parameter of ComparisonProfessionCareer
MeaningIt is the activity that requires an individual to apply learned skills and knowledge in an occupation.It is the life of an individual in the job. The critical issues shown are the work profile, salary and growth, and development.
OccupationThe profession is the occupation.It might be a business, employment, or a profession.
Based onIt is mainly centered on the educational background and the training undergone by an individual.It solely depends on the ambitions of an individual on what he/she wants to achieve.
OrientationIt is mainly concerned with the services offered to the customers in line with the acquired knowledge and skills during the training.It is all about the growth of an individual over the years.
Code of conductThere is a professional body which is responsible for setting the rules and regulation son how operations are to be done.There is no code of conduct, and an individual will shift from one job to another while gaining the skills needed to earn higher pay and achieve personal growth.

What is a Profession?

It is an economic activity done by a person with the required skills and knowledge obtained after undergoing training in a recognized institution for a given period.

There are various professions, such as the medical profession for doctors, a technical profession for engineers and the legal profession for advocates.

The professionals are responsible for delivering services in a given profession. The needed knowledge and skills to practice a profession can be obtained from a college, university, or any vocational institution.

There are other professions that require extra expert training for an individual to be considered a professional. A professional body is available to set the rules and guidelines to be followed during the conduct of service.

Practicing professionals do not rely on employment, but they offer their services to customers at a fee.


What is a Career?

It refers to all the activities done by an individual in his/her life, ranging from education, training, jobs, work experiences, and work profile. It is mainly dependent on the personal decision concerning knowledge, professionalism, personal, and social development.

The determination of an individual to work leads to personal growth and development. Careers are different for every individual since it is a journey of life in the education and work field.

It is concerned with various jobs an individual has done, the roles and responsibilities in the multiple positions and the movement from one organization to another.

It also outlines the satisfaction of the individual in various jobs. Different people have different career goals and use different measures to determine their success.

Some individuals consider themselves successful by gaining high salaries and occupying top positions. Others believe themselves by the satisfaction and happiness they gain in their jobs.


Main Differences Between Profession and Career


A profession is an occupation that requires formal qualification after undergoing training in a recognized institution. Career, on the other hand, refers to the various jobs which an individual has served over the years.

It shows the positions occupied in the various organizations and the projects done.


The profession is considered the occupation. Careers, however, outline occupation in various ways. A person can engage in multiple occupations and roles in his life.

In careers, an individual has the option of being an entrepreneur, a doctor, and working for a given organization.

Based on

A profession requires an individual to undergo formal education and gain specific skills and knowledge. It is also needed for a person to belong to a professional body to conduct and deliver the services required.

A career, on the other hand, depends on the ambitions of an individual. The skills and knowledge are acquired throughout the practice.


A professional is service-oriented in the area of knowledge that his profession covers. Professionals are paid but they do not intend to exploit their clients.

In a career, however, an individual is growth-oriented and looks for ways to get better pay and occupy top positions. The various jobs might require different skills and knowledge.

Code of conduct

A profession has a regulatory body that is responsible for setting the code of conduct. The professionals are required to observe the rules and regulations stipulated by the professional body.

Career, on the other hand, does not have a regulating body and an individual is free to venture in any field.

Difference Between Profession and Career

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About Profession and Career

What are the traditional 5 professions?

Even though there are several professions practiced traditionally, 5 major professions that have always dominated the rest and fetched high returns are medicine, architecture, teaching, law, and farming.

Is nursing career or profession?

Career is a comprehensive term used for identifying various jobs or professions practiced by a person throughout his working life. A profession, on the other hand, implies the expert practice of one’s skills and talents in a particular field.
Practicing a profession requires a person to be qualified and the process involves several years of learning. In this sense, the job of a nurse can be termed as a profession because it is based on learning, practice, and skill.
However, while mentioning aspects like income, work profile, and scope of handling various jobs in the medical field, people often refer to nursing as a career.

Which is the most respected profession?

The profession of a doctor is generally considered as the most respected profession. Since ancient times the practice of medicine is considered a service to mankind and is popularly termed as the noblest job in the world.
In the present era, doctors are of various types based on their area of practice.
Accordingly, there are general physicians, surgeons, therapists, psychiatrists, and many more that come under this category.

Which is the most difficult profession?

The most difficult profession in today’s world is that of a pilot. It is generally considered as one of the riskiest and stressful jobs that require lots of expertise and alertness. The fact that an airline pilot is responsible for the safety of the passengers traveling in the flight makes the profession all the more demanding.
However, based on various aspects there are a few other professions that are considered equally difficult. This includes the profession of a soldier who has to work his way through life-threatening situations.
Yet another popular profession that is highly challenging in nature is that of a medical surgeon. It takes lots of expertise, patience, and dedication to be a successful surgeon.


A profession limits an individual to offer service on a given area, careers, on the other hand, offers individuals freedom of choice on what they want to do. Careers are success-oriented, whereby individuals who gain promotions are considered successful than those who gain demotion or remain in their positions.

It takes longer for an individual to be regarded as a professional, and there are guidelines and rules on how to conduct services.

Key Differences Between Profession and Career (PDF Format)

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Difference Between Profession and Career


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0742051X96000212
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