Profession vs Career: Difference Between Profession and Career

The difference between profession and career is that profession refers to a person’s knowledge and skills in a particular occupation. In contrast, a career refers to the decision made by a person to determine the future in education or work.

A profession is based on experience, while a career is based on how ambitious an individual is. A profession should be service-oriented, but a career should be growth-oriented.

It shows the positions held in the different organizations and the projects carried out. In particular, the terms are often used interchangeably; however, it is essential to learn the key differences to avoid confusing the two.

Profession vs Career

A profession and a career are related to individuals who work for a living. The two terms are similar but have some distinguishable differences.

A profession requires a formal qualification after receiving training at a recognized institution. At the same time, a career refers to a person’s various jobs over the years.

Comparative table between profession and career

Comparison Parameter




It is the activity that requires an individual to apply the skills and knowledge acquired in an occupation.

It is the life of an individual at work. Critical topics shown are job profile, salary, and growth and development.


The profession is the occupation.

It can be a business, a job or a profession.

Based on

It mainly focuses on the educational background and training of an individual.

It solely depends on the ambitions of an individual about what he wants to achieve.


It deals mainly with the services offered to clients in line with the knowledge and skills acquired during training.

It is about the growth of an individual over the years.

Code of conduct

There is a professional body that is in charge of establishing the rules and regulations on how the operations will be carried out.

There is no code of conduct, and a person will move from one job to another while gaining the necessary skills to earn a higher salary and achieve personal growth.

What is a profession?

It is an economic activity carried out by a person with the required skills and knowledge obtained after completing training in a recognized institution for a certain period.

Several professions, such as the medical profession for doctors, a technical profession for engineers, and the legal profession for lawyers.

Professionals are responsible for providing services in a certain profession. The knowledge and skills necessary to practice a profession can be obtained from a college, university, or vocational institution.

Other professions require additional expert training for an individual to be considered a professional. A professional body is available to establish the rules and guidelines to be followed during the performance of the service.

Practicing professionals are not dependent on employment but offer their services to clients for a fee.

What is a career?

It refers to all the activities carried out by an individual, ranging from education, training, jobs, work experiences and job profile. It depends mainly on the personal decision regarding knowledge, professionalism, and personal and social development.

An individual’s determination to work leads to personal growth and development. Careers are different for each individual as it is a life journey in education and employment. It deals with the various jobs an individual has performed, the roles and responsibilities in the multiple positions, and movement from one organization to another.

It also describes the individual’s satisfaction in various jobs.

Different people have different career goals and use different measures to determine their success. Some people consider themselves successful by earning high salaries and holding positions of responsibility. Others believe in the satisfaction and happiness they get from their jobs.

Main differences between profession and career


A profession is an occupation that requires formal qualification after receiving training at a recognized institution. On the other hand, a career refers to an individual’s various jobs over the years.

It shows the positions held in the different organizations and the projects carried out.


The profession is considered an occupation. The careers, however, describe the occupation in various ways. A person can participate in multiple occupations and roles in her life.

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

Based on

A profession requires a person to undergo formal education and acquire specific skills and knowledge. It is also necessary for a person to belong to a professional body to perform and provide the required services.

On the other hand, a career depends on the ambitions of an individual. Skills and knowledge are acquired through practice.


A professional is service-oriented in the area of ​​knowledge that his profession covers. Professionals are paid but do not intend to exploit their clients. However, in a career, an individual is growth-oriented and looks for ways to earn higher pay and top positions. Different jobs may require different skills and knowledge.

Code of Conduct

A profession has a regulatory body responsible for establishing the code of conduct. Professionals are obliged to observe the rules and regulations stipulated by the professional body.

On the other hand, the career does not have a regulatory body, and an individual is free to venture into any field.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about profession and career

What are the five traditional professions?

Although several professions are traditionally practised, the top 5 professions that have always dominated the rest and obtained high returns are medicine, architecture, teaching, law, and agriculture.

Is nursing a career or profession?

Career is a comprehensive term used to identify various jobs or professions practised by a person throughout their working life. On the other hand, a profession involves the expert practice of one’s skills and talents in a particular field.

The exercise of a profession requires that a person be qualified, and the process involves several years of learning. In this sense, the work of a nurse can be called a profession because it is based on learning, practice and skill.

However, people often refer to nursing as a career when mentioning things like income, job profile, and the scope of handling various jobs in the medical field.

What is the most respected profession?

The medical profession is generally considered the most respected profession. Since ancient times, the practice of medicine has been considered a service to humanity and is popularly called the noblest job in the world.

In today’s era, doctors are of various types depending on their practice area.

Consequently, general practitioners, surgeons, therapists, psychiatrists, and many more fall into this category.

What is the most difficult profession?

The most difficult profession in the world today is that of a pilot. It is generally considered one of the riskiest and most stressful jobs that require a lot of experience and alertness. The fact that an airline pilot is responsible for the safety of the passengers travelling on the flight makes the profession even more demanding.

However, some other professions are considered equally difficult based on various aspects. This includes the profession of a soldier who has to fight his way through life-threatening situations.
Yet another popular profession that presents a great challenge is that of a medical surgeon. It takes a lot of experience, patience, and dedication to be a successful surgeon.


A profession limits an individual to offering services in a certain area; careers, on the other hand, offer individuals freedom of choice about what they want to do. Careers are geared toward success, so promoted people are considered more successful than those who get demoted or stay in their jobs.

It takes more time for an individual to be considered a professional, and there are guidelines and rules on how to perform services.

Courtesy: Queens College of Vocational Education

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