Profession is systematically learned as part of a division of labor economic order due to special abilities and interests and provided with proof of qualification, permanent paid exerted specialized activity of a human.

Word origin and history

Job goes to " invoke " ( mhdt. beruofen ) back, " call " a Präfixbildung of the verb.

The stands Teaching of the Middle Ages knew the " vocatio international " and the " vocatio externa ". In the Middle Ages in particular theologians considered the profession under two specific aspects, the " internal occupation" ( vocatio spiritualis or vocatio interna) and the " outer profession" ( vocatio externa). Martin Luther translated the Latin vocatio as the appeal by God. " Let every man abide in the profession in which the call of God met him " or " Let every man abide in the calling wherein he was called " (1 Cor 7.20 EU). He used the word occupation for the state and the office of the people in the world. Luther had both aspects together, because Christians followed in every activity of an inner and outer appeal for him. This inner work doing any activity, even the. Within the family, to the profession Vocatio interna is the outgoing of God inner calling a person to the Holy Office ( priest or monk), which received new weight by Gisbert Voetius in his " Politica ecclesiastica " ( 1663-1676 ). The inner calling is occupied ministry, the external appeal concerned secular professions.

During the later secularization disappeared the religious components, while the social obligation remained in the division of labor. Artisanal activities were controlled by occupation and vocational training in the guilds and represents the feudal social order. Only since the transition to the 19th century, the term profession receives that content of a professional qualification presuppositional, usually associated with an earned income activity. Profession is "the circle of activities with associated rights and duties, the man in the context of the social order fills as an ongoing task and the mostly used him to acquire a livelihood ". The sociologist Max Weber sees 1925 industrial occupation, the " specification, specialization and combination of services " that the " basis of a continuous supply and commercial opportunity, " made ​​for people. Since Weber's definition professions are officially ascertained and published in Statistics. The official German statistics meant by profession " directed to the acquisition, requiring special knowledge and skills as well as experience and confluent in a typical combination of work chores ... and also form the basis of life for him and his non-working members in the rule. "

Professional content, in addition to earning the income and the acquisition of pension rights, the personal life content, interests, values ​​and goals, the specific social esteem and social prestige. Occupations and job content are today a more or less pronounced change in particular as regards working conditions. The vocational training was originally designed so that a person should exercise the once learned profession his entire career. Technical progress, economic change and increasing division of labor have led the world to the fact that a given profession, were superfluous and does not represent the profession as " life's work " more conceptual content. This is due to go with the change from vocational orientation to process orientation, which can force by changing the job descriptions and requirements for career change and retraining.

Social Historical Aspects

The skills and knowledge necessary for the pursuit of a profession are acquired through training, practice or self-study. However, the inclusion in a profession can also be done by write ( adscription ), for example in succession (eg, as a farmer, hearty artisans), by vows (soldiers), oaths (officials ) or by surgery ( clergyman ).

Most occupations are the result of progressive differentiation of the work. They often have a centuries-long tradition, since many used by the Company or required services are essentially remained constant. Hence also the striking social phenomenon of occupational inheritance.

One of the oldest prehistoric occupations include blacksmith, carpenter, healers, priests, hikers counter and singer and guardian. Since the Middle Ages, many professional groups came together in guilds and guilds that took over the training of the younger professionals. Also " dishonest professions" formed their own organizations.

In some professions is placed on the so-called vocation of / the individual specific value (eg, pastors, priests, but also a doctor, teacher, pharmacist, judge). Noteworthy in this context is the obligation to work within the Ordo Socialis.

Legal Issues

The Basic Law guarantees the fundamental right of free choice of employment, because all Germans have the right to vote, work, workplace and training center free (Art. 12 para 1 of the Basic Law ). Under professional understands constitutionally any stable, earning the income serving human activity. The constitutional term career are two elements immanent, namely life's work and livelihood. For the profession as a mission in life is essential that someone has an inner relationship with his profession for which he is committed to and responsible. Livelihoods in turn requires that a profession for a certain period is exercised against payment. Gerhard Pfennig explains the working status, the example of the soldiers and points out that conscript soldiers merely fulfilling a public service. The soldier's service as a profession come only for professional soldiers in question, whose military service had become by the soldier's career to a profession. The term of the profession is not limited to certain traditional or legally fixed job descriptions, but includes any freely chosen form of ( allowed ) employment and is therefore open for the development of new job descriptions.

A profession is therefore not only a short-term activity immanent; well he has to earn income targeting ( employment). The term income is to be interpreted broadly, here below, in addition to the typical money income and benefits in kind ( such as Deputatlohn free place to live, food and drinks) are understood.


One distinguishes the learned and the profession. The learned profession based on a completed vocational training and documented confirmed qualification. Profession is the work done by an employee actually work for which no completed vocational training can be demonstrated. Those who practice the profession for which he has completed a vocational training, is active in the learned profession. Anyone working in a profession, however, he did not originally learned working in a profession. Liberal professions are predominantly self-employed activities, which are not subject to trade regulations. These are applied to a certain period and based on professional qualifications, but differ from other occupations by economic independence.

Profession, identification and status

A professional can identify with both his employer and to his profession. If an activity is considered important for the self-esteem of a person, it is called identification with the profession ( "job involvement" ). A high level of professional identification may contribute to higher goals at work performance. While work ties in with the techno-economic dimension of the power operation, the professional term characterizes the qualitative conditions and their social integration and the resulting identity.

The profession is also an important mechanism for the social status of a person. Here, the professional status applicable in modern societies as the best single indicator of social status of a person. The prestige of occupations depends on the qualification and the income earned. The formal status results from the classification of workers, employees, civil servants and self-employed, while the material status is usually reduced to the level of income.

Occupational classifications

The indication of the skill is indispensable in all worldwide statistics and surveys to the labor market or to the socio -economic situation. The profession continues to be a dominant aspect in the description of labor market trends. Also in the mediation work of employment offices of occupations is of central importance. An occupational classification makes it possible to have meaningful and practical summaries of similar professional activities and apply for mediation.

International uses the International Standard Classification of Occupations ( ISCO) since 1957 a scheme for the classification of occupations. In Germany, the Federal Employment Agency uses since January 2011, a largely compliant with this schema Neusystematisierung the professions, which was adopted as the classification of occupations also by the Federal Statistical Office.

Regulation of professional practice

Today the vocational training ( content, duration ) is fixed by the state in most European countries. The state regulation of occupational choice is but in Germany and most other countries, their borders in the fundamental right of freedom of occupation.

Who may exercise what profession was and is handled differently in different cultures. In Europe, in principle, subject to the law practice of the profession, however, is subject to some restrictions. In so-called regulated professions appropriate training and qualifications required for the exercise: As a doctor or lawyer may for example only be active, who successfully completed a medical or legal university degree, can demonstrate appropriate practical experience ( internship ) and the approval of a General Medical Council or Bar Association possesses. Also, the exercise craft professions to certain restrictions: For example, a master craftsman, for example, for the independent exercise of a craft in Germany required.

Successful social out educated professionals develop a more or less pronounced professional ethics.


The demarcation of the job is usually done by the aspect of the durability. Job is a temporary, short-term activities without inner relationship and responsibility to the business, an opportunity to work. This is the word " casual work " expresses the temporary employment for the purpose of earning income is circumscribed. This definition also takes place in Anglo-Saxon countries, where in professional of "profession " (Latin professio ) or "occupation " is mentioned, and "job " is rather classified as a secondary activity.

The professional term is also used to emphasize income generation and technical qualifications. Professional musicians ( professional athletes, professional soldiers, professional judges ) are professionally trained and are paid for their work performance, an amateur musician or lay judges more or less does not.

Largest professional codes in Germany

According to the Federal Statistical Office, professions in 369 so-called professional codes are distinguished in which all existing occupations are grouped to form a classification of occupations arises. See percentage of women in the professional world.

Employed men in the most populated of professional conduct (2006)

Working women in the most busy professional codes (2006)