Vocation vs. Profession

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Vocation and Profession is that the Vocation is a occupation to which a person is specially drawn or for which he or she is suited, trained, or qualified and Profession is a vocation founded upon specialized educational training.

  • Vocation

    A vocation (from Latin vocātiō, meaning ‘a call, summons’) is an occupation to which a person is specially drawn or for which they are suited, trained, or qualified. Though now often used in non-religious contexts, the meanings of the term originated in Christianity.

  • Profession

    A profession is a vocation founded upon specialized educational training, the purpose of which is to supply disinterested objective counsel and service to others, for a direct and definite compensation, wholly apart from expectation of other business gain. The term is a truncation of the term “liberal profession”, which is, in turn, an Anglicization of the French term “profession libérale”. Originally borrowed by English users in the 19th century, it has been re-borrowed by international users from the late 20th, though the (upper-middle) class overtones of the term do not seem to survive retranslation: “liberal professions” are, according to the European Union’s Directive on Recognition of Professional Qualifications (2005/36/EC) “those practiced on the basis of relevant professional qualifications in a personal, responsible and professionally independent capacity by those providing intellectual and conceptual services in the interest of the client and the public”.

    Medieval and early modern tradition recognized only three professions: divinity, medicine, and law – the so-called “learned professions”.

    Major milestones which may mark an occupation being identified as a profession include:

    an occupation becomes a full-time occupation

    the establishment of a training school

    the establishment of a university school

    the establishment of a local association

    the establishment of a national association of professional ethics

    the establishment of state licensing laws

    Applying these milestones to the historical sequence of development in the United States shows surveying achieving professional status first (note that George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln all worked as land surveyors before entering politics), followed by medicine, actuarial science, law, dentistry, civil engineering, logistics, architecture and accounting.

    With the rise of technology and occupational specialization in the 19th century, other bodies began to claim professional status: mechanical engineering, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, psychology, nursing, teaching, librarianship, optometry and social work, each of which could claim, using these milestones, to have become professions by 1900.

    Just as some professions rise in status and power through various stages, others may decline. Disciplines formalized more recently, such as architecture, now have equally long periods of study associated with them.

    Although professions may enjoy relatively high status and public prestige, not all professionals earn high salaries, and even within specific professions there exist significant inequalities of compensation; in law, for example, a corporate/insurance defense lawyer working on a billable-hour basis may earn several times what a prosecutor or public defender earns.

  • Vocation (noun)

    An inclination to undertake a certain kind of work, especially a religious career; often in response to a perceived summons; a calling.

  • Vocation (noun)

    An occupation for which a person is suited, trained or qualified.

  • Profession (noun)

    A promise or vow made on entering a religious order.

    “She died only a few years after her profession.”

  • Profession (noun)

    A declaration of belief, faith or of one’s opinion.

    “Despite his continued professions of innocence, the court eventually sentenced him to five years.”

  • Profession (noun)

    An occupation, trade, craft, or activity in which one has a professed expertise in a particular area; a job, especially one requiring a high level of skill or training.

    “My father was a barrister by profession.”

  • Profession (noun)

    The practitioners of such an occupation collectively.

    “His conduct is against the established practices of the legal profession.”

  • Vocation (noun)

    a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation

    “not all of us have a vocation to be nurses or doctors”

  • Vocation (noun)

    a person’s employment or main occupation, especially regarded as worthy and requiring dedication

    “her vocation as a poet”

  • Vocation (noun)

    a trade or profession

    “GNVQs in Leisure and Tourism will be the introduction to a wide span of vocations”

Oxford Dictionary

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