Career vs Profession 2023: Differences and Similarities

Choosing the right career and profession is one of the toughest decisions you would ever have to make.

Not only would you have to make this decision for yourself, but you would also have to ensure that it is even the right decision that you made in the first place.

A career is usually seen as an occupation you would be in and develop for the rest of your life. A profession, on the other hand, could be anything you can practice. It is your principal calling, vocation, or employment.

You must be very careful when choosing a career or professional path because it would define your life pattern.

This article is important in helping you understand the difference and similarities between a career and a profession. This is to ensure you do not mistake the two on your life’s journey and end up regretting your mistakes.

Keep reading.

What is a Career?

According to Mariam Webster, a career is a profession for which you are to train and for which would be undertaken as a permanent calling.

It is the roles which you would take on in your lifetime to bring you to a bigger picture. These roles include your education, training, internships, job experiences, work profiles, and soft and hard skills which you pick up along the way.

Your career would determine your orientation to your work, family, and life; this means your commitment to work, and your willingness to grow and develop.

Your career would most often define what you do for a living. If you are a lawyer but at the same time a music producer, the one which you put the most effort into would be seen as your career.

Your career can be different from another person’s since it depends on individual ambition and passion. A determined person may experience growth and development in the career.

To be successful in the career field you have chosen, you must have extensive training in the field, coupled with the willingness to constantly learn.

The success of a career differs from person to person because where some persons may consider occupying the top position and high pay package as the success of their career, others may consider the satisfaction they get out of it as the success of theirs.

A career is a journey of learning and work, which is different for different individuals.

It is the sequence of occupations and work profiles, i.e. jobs that a person carries out, responsibilities undertaken, movement and transition between the jobs, and the sense of satisfaction derived from working with the organization.

It is not concerned with one organization, but with all the organizations in which a person worked throughout his life.

Check Out: What is the Difference Between Career Growth and Career Development?

What is a Profession?

If you are studying a course or specializing in a particular field, odds are that you would take it up as a profession.

A profession is an economic activity which you can take upon the grounds that you have the required knowledge, skills and have undergone training for a specified period.

The person who carries out the profession is called a professional, such as doctors who are engaged in a medical profession, advocates in the legal profession, and engineers in a technical profession.

After going through the rigorous process of training and gaining the skills and knowledge required, you can start practicing by working where the knowledge is needed. It has become a profession by putting it to use and earning money for it.

In a profession, the aim is to deliver a service to a particular set of people. The skills you have obtained from getting a degree or a certification come in handy in pursuing your profession.

You can acquire the required skills and knowledge set from a college, university, or institute specifically dedicated to the course that relates to the profession you intend to study. Some courses require expert training, to become professional in a particular field.

Examples of professions are the medical profession, the legal profession, the engineering profession, accounting profession; amongst others.

Also Read: Career Path: Definition and How To Choose One

Similarities between a Career and a Profession

In a career and a profession, they would require you to network regularly with people with the same interests as you.

By connecting with people, you would grow your profession and career likewise. A career and profession require that your network regularly by connecting with people.

In a career and a profession, you would constantly keep learning.

Learning never ends for you. The world is evolving and you need to acquaint yourself with the new trends relating to your profession or career as the case may be.

Learning is important because you would constantly need to up your game on both hard and soft skills to stay on top of the food chain.

In a career and a profession, always be ready to always find out recent happenings that relate to your profession or career.

Pay attention to industry news, constantly find news sites, blogs, magazines, and newspapers to keep you on top of the chart about the occupational outlook of the career and profession line you are in.

In a career and a profession, they would require you to be a good planner but also be flexible in these plans in case anything falls out.

Be ready to make your plans to suit your present goals. Keep in mind what is most important and what you enjoy most about your profession or your career.

Know what you want out of the future from your profession or career and set goals that align with them.

In both career and profession, you must be ready for anything

This includes being ready to make a career or professional change when you see it isn’t working out.

You must be ready to do what is most important. Be ready to take huge steps towards the betterment of your future.

In both a career and a profession, you must have to retain a positive attitude.

By having a sense of optimism, you’re more likely to work toward the solution rather than dwelling on the problem.

In both a career and a profession, you must be able to easily resolve conflicts.

In a career, in pursuing your ambitions, you may run into a diversified set of people and problems may arise. You must be able to easily resolve conflicts.

The same goes for your profession. You must be able to have interpersonal relationships with your fellow workers and when a problem arises be ready to resolve conflicts.

In both a career and a profession, you have to be helpful

Helpfulness may come in the form of going for unpaid internships and even helping out someone with a task so you can pick up a few things yourself.


In having integrity, people would put a lot of faith in you, and in doing so, it would help you grow faster; both in your career and your profession.

Both career and profession require that you have integrity. This trait ensures that you are

In both career and profession, you must have the skill to work under stress.

It is said that nothing good comes easy. This skill is especially important when you are working with people.

Remember that in achieving your goals, you must be ready to go the extra mile.

In both career and profession, you must be self-motivated.

A self-motivated person can stay on task, maintain their energy and show their ambition.

Finding ways to motivate yourself, such as maintaining healthy habits or creating a personal reward system, can help improve this quality.

In both career and profession, there is a need for you to maintain a certain level of responsibility

This goes to things like keeping to time and minding your work ethics. If you say you’re going to do something, you follow through on it.

In both career and profession, you must have collaborative skills

Everybody need somebody. You have to have skills that ensure you can work with people on projects.

This also shows that you have good interpersonal relationships. This is needed in furthering your career and your profession.

In both career and profession you must show a certain level of confidence to be successful.

It shows that you are sure of yourself and that you know what you are doing. You need to be confident to reach your career ambitions and professional goals.

Check Also: How To Set Career Goals And Achieve Them | Step-by-Step Guide

Differences between a Career and a Profession

A career and a profession are quite similar. However, there are certain differences which even though are not very obvious, still exist.

Some of these differences are-

A profession is basically the type of occupation you have chosen to delve into.

This occupation would take several years to perfect. Years of going through schooling and training to perfect your professional skills.

A career on the other hand has to do with all forms of employment which you have delved into, leading to the bigger picture.

It would include jobs and positions held, projects accomplished, and skills that have led up to your bigger dreams.

A profession is a line of occupation which would require you’re getting paid

For your career, you have to be ready to do selfless things without the hope of getting paid, all for a bigger picture.

A profession is about education and training

A career on the other hand, is strongly driven by ambition

A profession is service-oriented, working jibs and giving services to people based on knowledge you have acquired

A career on the other hand, is growth-oriented. It is focused on doing anything that would lead up to the fulfillment of the ambition.

  • A profession has a code of conduct. It is mostly an occupation and there are codes of conducts necessary to ensure these occupations are kept to the book

For a career, a code of conduct is not necessary.


Is profession different from career?

Yes. Most of the time, your profession leads up to your career.

Profession and career which pays more?

Your profession would pay you now, but in the long run, your career would matter most.

How long does it take to get a profession?

Depending on the course, getting a profession would take about 4-7 years.

How long does it take to build a career?

A career takes longer. Depending on how dedicated you are to it, it could take between 10-15 years.


A career and a profession are both long-term. As weird as it may sound, you might actually need both to get to the level of success you want out of your life.

The main difference between profession and career is that career focus on an individual work-life while the profession is the specialization in a certain field after undergoing thorough training.

I hope in reading this, you have figured out the difference between both so that you can find it easier to know the effort you are putting into each of them.


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