To not actually understand what constitutes a "professional job"?

(110 Posts)
BakerStreetSaxRift Tue 17-Dec-13 16:22:57

Hello, this could be a stupid question, but I did try googling it and couldn't get a straight answer.

Could someone please explain what the criteria are for having a professional job? I'm trying to work out if I have one.

I've read various things that say doctors, nurses, teachers, lawyers, electricians, train/bus drivers (or anything you need a licence for), engineers etc are all professional jobs. But that seems a bit like any job can be described as professional. Would it be easier to work out which ones aren't?

Thanks in advance!

WidowWadman Tue 17-Dec-13 16:24:25

isn't "professional" just a synonym for "white collar" - i.e. anything you do in a suit?

angelos02 Tue 17-Dec-13 16:24:33

I'd say something you need substantial training and/or qualifications for. Anyone could do my job grin

Preciousbane Tue 17-Dec-13 16:28:04

I would hazard a guess at a University degree and then membership of an association such as chartered accountants.

ElizabethBathory Tue 17-Dec-13 16:28:46

Not a stupid question at all - I have no idea. My grandma would say 'a professional' was a doctor or a lawyer or a teacher. And that's about it grin

It's anything that you do yourself to earn money isn't it? e.g. professional singer, professional artist, professional proofreader. You don't do any of those in a suit, unless you want to. So...any job you get paid for?!

evilkitten Tue 17-Dec-13 16:31:21

A profession is something that's more than a job - a vocation. You'd typically have academic training, followed by a period of on-the-job training before 'qualifying'. You would not be able to work in the professions without this qualification.

Typical professions are medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, actuary, engineer, lawyer, architect, surveyor etc.

These days, there's other roles that are included - nursing used to be a school-leaver job, but it's better positioned as a profession now, for example.

In your list, I'd argue with a couple: electrician is not a profession - it's a trade, while bus driver is semi-skilled manual work.

Ultimately, it's pretty subjective though.

BakerStreetSaxRift Tue 17-Dec-13 16:31:21

Hmmm widow, but I would say a doctor is a professional job, but they wear scrubs and crocs smile

So would a train driver be a professional job, as you need to train for a year or more?

(I'm not a train driver, by the way).

My job is office based, I'm working towards chartered status, but I wouldn't necessarily need to work towards this to do my job, but it would be a big help. So what would that be? I guess it's like a teacher doesn't actually need to have teaching qualifications to be a teacher?

frogspoon Tue 17-Dec-13 16:31:39

I'd say something you need substantial training and/or qualifications for.

How do you define "substantial"?

Degree level? Or would a job where you need any form of higher education qualification e.g. a professional diploma or certificate be suitable?

millymolls Tue 17-Dec-13 16:32:00

one where you have to have post graduate qualifications and usually membership to a professional association

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 17-Dec-13 16:34:12

I would say a professional has to be registered with and is regulated by their professional body ensuring certain standards are maintained.

ElizabethBathory Tue 17-Dec-13 16:34:58

Wikipedia explains it well. Still, there are loads of jobs that would probably not fit exactly into 'profession' or 'trade'.

evilkitten Tue 17-Dec-13 16:35:25

A train driver, I'd say no. It's skilled, but doesn't require that much brain work, and is ultimately quite repetitive. You'll be required to work to a book of rules rather than using discretion.

I might be a bit inconsistent, as I would include 'ships captain' as probably being a profession. However, that would be down to the responsibility for the lives of others, and a certain amount of autonomy.

BakerStreetSaxRift Tue 17-Dec-13 16:36:58

Whoops, cross-posted with everyone.

But I don't think a doctor or engineer would need post-grad qualifications, but a teacher would, but I'd say they are both "more professional" than a teacher? Or have I got this all wrong?

I'm glad others don't quite know either!

Have nursing and teaching become professional recently because you generally do a degree first now?

WidowWadman Tue 17-Dec-13 16:37:14

There are professional jobs, where, even though a professional qualification exists, they are not essential/held by everyone in the profession, even if desirable.

E.g. I'm a buyer (MCIPS, achieved via Professional Diploma route, but it can also be done via NVQ or corporate award), and many of my colleagues don't have the professional qualification, some of them are studying towards it, others don't. Not everyone has a degree either.

I accidentally ended up in the profession working my way up from lowly admin assistant and gaining qualifications on the job.

AlbertGiordinHoHoho Tue 17-Dec-13 16:39:34

Professionals have to be qualified in their area, teachers, doctors, accountants etc. Qualifications must be issued by a professional body e.g. Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, Royal Institute of Chartered surveyors etc. and professionals have to continually keep up to date with developments within their industry through contiunous professional development.

Sallyingforth Tue 17-Dec-13 16:40:48

Well professional used saimply to mean that you were paid to do a job, rather than an amateur that did it without pay.
That was before the 'Professions' took over the word.
Interestingly, the term 'Engineer' went the other way. It used to have some status, but now anyone working with any sort of equipment likes to call him/herself an engineer.
So, engineers who are properly qualified now have to call themselves 'Professional Engineers'.

DreamingofSummer Tue 17-Dec-13 16:41:51

A profession, in my opinion, is where there is a recognised body of knowledge that you have to use and where there is some sort of sanction if you do not perform to proper standards. So being a doctor is a profession as there is a body of medical knowledge and you can be struck of if you stray outside this.

On the other hand, homeopathy is not a profession as there is no body of knowledge and no system of regulation

Trills Tue 17-Dec-13 16:43:56

The reason you don't know what people mean when they say it is that different people mean different things when they use it.

It used to mean a job that had particular (specific to the job) qualifications that were required in order to do that job - e.g. being a qualified doctor or accountant or lawyer. Not just having "some qualifications" but where you must have the exact qualifications for the job.

Now it is often used to mean a job in an office where you have to have a degree to do it, or where you are paid a salary rather than paid by the hour.

FredFredGeorge Tue 17-Dec-13 16:44:01

It's either pretty much everything that takes longer than a very short time to learn - so most things beyond the most basic "labourer" / shop assistant.

Or it's a pretty short list of those jobs which are allowed to limit their own people - by providing qualifications / registration etc.

HarderToKidnap Tue 17-Dec-13 16:44:16

The professions have professional bodies which admit their own members and control the ability of the members to practise. They set the standards of admission and regulate their members.

roadwalker Tue 17-Dec-13 16:44:23

Protected title
Regulated by a professional body
Has its own code of ethics
Recognised qualification

Trills Tue 17-Dec-13 16:44:39

Cross posted with loads of people smile

thebody Tue 17-Dec-13 16:45:04

I think anyone doing any job, and doing it to the best of their ability, is a professional.

lot of snobby bollocks otherwise.

roadwalker Tue 17-Dec-13 16:50:02

It is not snobbery
It sets a standard and prevents anyone from using a title which would be dangerous everyone
Wouldn't you rather have a qualified GP rather than any person calling themselves a GP?

AlbertGiordinHoHoho Tue 17-Dec-13 16:50:03

Bakers - sorry only read half your post. I would assume that if you are working towards Chartered Status (Note Capiltalised Initials To Denote Importance!) your job may well be a profession.

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