Difference between Career and Profession

Career and profession are two words we often use interchangeably. However, there is a subtle difference between these two words and in this article we are going to look at this difference between career and profession.

What is Career?

The term ‘career’ is derived from the Latin term ‘carrus’, meaning wheeled vehicle. Career is an occupation that needs a special training or formal education and is followed as one’s lifework. However, the meaning of the term might slightly vary according to usage.

Career could mean,

  • An occupation undertaken for a major period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.

“Please contact your local careers center for information  on careers and learning opportunities.”

  • a person’s progress or general course of action through life or through a phase of life,  as in some profession or undertaking

“His career as an army doctor ended with the armistice.”

“As a missionary nurse, She spent much of her career outside Europe.”

career vs profession

Her career as an army doctor took her to many foreign countries.

What is a Profession?

The term ‘profession’ is derived from the Latin term ‘profiteri’ meaning declare publicly. “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.” In simple terms, a profession is a paid occupation, one that especially requires a long training and formal qualifications.


“She was dedicated to her chosen profession of teaching.”

“He was a pianist by profession, and spent most of time doing concerts outside India.”

difference between career and profession

He was a pianist by profession.

Difference Between Career and Profession


Career: Career is an occupation that needs a special training or formal education and is followed as one’s lifework.

Profession: Profession a paid occupation, one that especially requires a long training and formal qualifications.

Prepositions used

Career: The term career is used with the preposition “as”

 Ex:“She is  destined for a career as a doctor like her father.”

Profession: The term profession is often used with the preposition   “by”

Ex:”He was a lawyer by profession”


Career: refers to the occupation

Profession:” profession” can refer to the particular field of occupation

Ex: “Her experience in the medical profession makes her the ideal candidate for the job.”


 , 21 April 1917, article by  and  quoted with approval at paragraph 123 of a report by the UK Competition Commission, dated 8 November 1977, entitled  (in Chapter 7).

About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.

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