Difference between occupation and profession

Difference between occupation and profession

Have you ever found yourself confused about which word to use, occupation or profession? Do you want to find out once and for all about the difference between these two terms? If you have answered 'yes' to any of these questions, then you will find our article very useful, as we are going to talk about the difference between occupation and profession. With our help, you will never mix up these two terms ever again!

Difference between occupation and profession

What is occupation?

Occupation is what a person does to earn a living. If we are being literal, it is the thing that occupies a person’s time and brings them money in return for hours spent. Synonyms of occupation are employment, job and, in some cases, even profession. However, it is occupation that you mostly see in many official documents that require information about your employment status.

Anything that earns you money is an occupation. Most occupations do not require any special skills or prior training. However, this results in lower wages and decreased stability. Some people go through dozens of occupations throughout their lives to stay afloat.

Did you know?

There is also a different occupation meaning. It can also mean the military presence of one country on the territory of a different country. However, it has nothing to do with what we are talking about, so we will not spend too much time on it.

Now that you know what occupation means, take a look at some of the examples of different occupations.

Occupation examples


We live in a time when there are more occupations than we can even comprehend. Every type of work that brings a person money could be considered their occupation. Here are some fascinating occupations that can serve as examples:

  • cartographer;
  • confectioner;
  • debt collector;
  • ergonomist;
  • fortune teller.

Let’s also use the word ‘occupation’ in different sentences:

  • My mom’s occupation is agricultural adviser.
  • What is your father’s occupation?
  • Please state your place of work and occupation in the field below.

To sum up, everything that takes up your time and brings you money is an occupation. Now let’s move on to profession.

What is profession?


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Professionals can be defined as a group of disciplined individuals that have certain ethical standards they adhere to. These individuals possess certain skills and knowledge that come from training, education and research, which are recognised by the wide public. Profession is a way of applying the exercise and knowledge of said individuals for the good of others (and earning them some money in the process).

It might surprise you, but profession is actually a type of occupation. However, it is not a regular occupation. Profession requires significant prior education and training. It is essentially what we attend universities for, to learn a profession.

Profession examples


Just as with occupations, there are many professions out there. Each one is useful and important, and all of them require special training and skills. Here are some of common professions, so that you can get a grasp on what a profession is:

  • teacher;
  • engineer;
  • professor;
  • pharmacist;
  • architect.

See how you can use the word ‘profession’ in a sentence:

  • Benny is an accountant by profession.
  • All professions in the field of medicine require long years of studying and hard work.
  • What is your profession?

Now that we have figured out what occupation and profession mean, let’s finally talk about the difference between the two terms.

What is the difference between profession and occupation?

Difference between occupation and profession

Even though these two words are often used as synonyms, there are some slight differences between the two.

Take a look:

  • Occupation describes the work a person does to earn a living. While profession can also describe the result of formal education.
  • While occupation can mean any type of job (waiter, lawyer, janitor, astrophysicist), profession only encompasses jobs that require special training and education (web-designer, game developer, sociologist).
  • Profession could be considered a subset of occupation. This means that the term ‘occupation’ contains several subcategories, among which is ‘profession’.
  • In occupations, people earn money for the time they spend on the job. In professions, people earn money for their skills and expertise.
  • In some instances, profession can also point to higher status and respectability than just any regular occupation.
  • A person’s profession and occupation can differ. For example, Mark’s profession is a dentist, but his occupation is a copywriter. This means that Mark has studied to become a dentist, but he works as a copywriter instead.
  • Usually, people change multiple occupations during their lives. However, most people have one or maybe two professions, while some have none. In the same line, you can change occupations, but profession stays with you for life; you can only add more to the list.

And there you go, now you can tell the difference between occupation and profession. Despite the fact that the two terms are virtually interchangeable, there are some slight differences between them. Thanks to our article, you will be able to figure out which word would be more appropriate for your context. We wish you best of luck in exploring the depths of the English language!

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Source: Legit.ng

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