Occupation vs Profession: The Differences Explained

Occupation Vs. Profession

Remember all those annoying ample forms you have to fill in every time you visit various institutions? What commonly puzzles you about them? Is it the occupation boxed followed by profession box? Don’t worry; you aren’t the only one since a lot of people don’t know the difference between occupation vs. profession.

However, if you have to ask left and right what other people filled in, then you should read this article. We will try to explain everything in detail and help you understand what these two terms stand for.


This term defines the type of activity a person undertakes to earn his livelihood. Generally, speaking, we all can perform these jobs at some point, since no specialized training is necessary. In the majority of companies, the wages of these people go between lower and medium. However, it mostly depends on their level of skills, as well as performance.

These employees never have a leading position while having an average social status. For example, these jobs include drivers, dog walkers, shopkeepers, receptionists, delivery workers, and so on. Even though the occupation is a rather broad term, it can be used to describe many jobs, as we’ve seen in the previous example.
For instance, if a person engages in manufacturing activities, commerce, and trading, he is then part of some business.


On the other hand, the profession is an occupation you are educated and trained for. In this case, your services are repaid based on your skills and experience in the industry. The better your training is, the more experience you will gain, which means more money.

Professions contain work ethics and a particular professional stature. However, people share a great deal of responsibility, as well. But, compensations received for their work are immense.

For instance, common professions are lawyers, doctors, professors, financial experts, and so on. Professional is paid for his skills and talent, which is also known as an occupation; therefore, the line of demarcation between these two is thin and blurred.

What’s the difference?

Your occupation is what you do for money, while the profession is what you are trained for. In that case, a person who studied medicine and works as a doctor has the same occupation as a profession. On the other hand, a person who was trained to be a doctor, but works as a receptionist has a different occupation than a profession.
Moreover, while you can be the best in your occupation, some jobs come with certain limitations. For example, they require the basics of having someone there to perform the job, often come with little pay, and don’t have a social status.

However, when it comes to professional, he or she always has room to develop and grow. Once the compulsory training has been completed, a professional needs specialized training as well. New experiences, as well as courses, are considered a benefit, which further results in higher pay and status.

There is also a difference in the way we perceive profession and occupation. An individual can work as a shopkeeper, waiter, and baby-sitter. However, if you have a profession, you then have a title at the same time, like a lawyer, doctor, professor, and others.

Also, occupation may change over time, while a profession is a long-term commitment.
Now that you have differences, you can better understand these two terms. While they have some things in common, occupation and profession are entirely different. At some point in life, you may have to deal with both of them. But it’s essential to know the difference, especially in the business environment.