A profession is something a little more than a job, it is a career for someone that wants to be part of society, who becomes competent in their chosen sector through training; maintains their skills through continuing professional development (CPD); and commits to behaving ethically, to protect the interests of the public.

We all rely on professionals at many points of our lives – from dentists to teachers, from pension managers to careers advisers, from town planners to paramedics. We rely on professionals to be experts and to know what to do when we need them to. 

Back in the nineteenth century, the professions were defined as law, religion, and medicine. Nowadays, the number of professions is much wider and ever-increasing, as occupations become more specialised in nature and more ‘professionalised’ in terms of requiring certain standards of initial and ongoing education – so that anything from automotive technicians to web designers can be defined as professionals. 

Check out our Profession Finder to find out just how many professions there are. Then find out more about the role of professional bodies and what they can do to support you in your career.

The professions are for you if you want...

  • an occupation which will help you to build your skills and develop your expertise in a field which interests you;
  • to keep learning, be challenged and stay up to date with the latest developments in your chosen area;
  • to solve problems, do good work, and be involved in making decisions which help to improve people’s lives.
  • to earn more money! Professionalism pays: people with professional body membership will earn more than those without (an average of £152,000 more in fact).

Not all of us know what we want to be when we grow up (however grown up we might be...!) Not all of us make the right decisions at 16. There are multiple routes into the professions, and it is never too late to proceed down one of these paths. Find out about professional training and qualifications at our career sectors pages. Get inspired by different people's stories about becoming a professional by taking a look at our career videos.