Professional vs. Professionalism — What's the Difference?
By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on August 29, 2023
A professional is someone skilled in a specific field, while professionalism refers to the conduct, qualities, and behavior expected of such an expert.
Difference Between Professional and Professionalism
Table of Contents
A professional is an individual who possesses specific skills, knowledge, or expertise in a particular field or occupation. This expertise is often gained through extensive training, education, or experience. On the other hand, professionalism represents the standard of behavior and conduct associated with those who are trained and skilled in a particular area.
Being a professional implies a level of excellence and competence in a specific domain, ensuring that the individual can deliver services or results as expected. Conversely, professionalism is the embodiment of qualities like integrity, responsibility, and accountability that uphold the reputation of a profession.
For instance, a professional lawyer would have passed the bar exam and holds the required credentials to practice law. However, professionalism in law involves adhering to ethical standards, respecting client confidentiality, and representing clients diligently.
A doctor can be referred to as a professional because they've undergone rigorous education and training in medicine. Yet, professionalism in the medical field entails treating patients with respect, staying updated with medical advancements, and ensuring patient safety.
While the term professional identifies an individual's capability or status within a profession, professionalism speaks to the qualities, conduct, and decorum that uphold the dignity and reputation of that profession.
An individual skilled in a specific field.
The conduct, behavior, and qualities expected of a professional.
Descriptive of a person.
Descriptive of behavior or attitude.
Noun (often used as an adjective).
A trained lawyer.
Displaying ethical conduct.
Qualification and training.
Ethics, integrity, and standards within a profession.
Compare with Definitions
An individual trained and skilled in a specific occupation or activity.
She is a professional musician with a renowned orchestra.
The competence or skill expected of a professional.
His attention to detail showcased his professionalism.
Someone who conducts activities for money as opposed to a hobby.
He switched from amateur to professional golf last year.
The standard of behavior and ethics associated with a particular profession.
Upholding patient confidentiality is a key part of medical professionalism.
Having or showing qualities that typify a skilled practitioner.
His work is very professional and meticulous.
The quality of performing at a high standard and maintaining the reputation of a profession.
She received an award for her professionalism and dedication.
Engaging in a specified activity as one's main occupation rather than as a pastime.
He became a professional actor after years of community theater.
Demonstrating respect, courtesy, and integrity in one's profession.
His consistent punctuality and preparedness highlight his professionalism.
Conforming to the standards of a profession
Professional status, methods, character, or standards.
(by extension) Expert.
The status, methods, character or standards expected of a professional or of a professional organization, such as reliability, discretion, evenhandedness, and fair play.
Of or relating to a profession;
We need professional advice
Professional equipment for his new office
The use of professional performers, as in athletics or in the arts.
Engaging in a given activity as a source of livelihood or as a career
A professional writer.
The use of professionals rather than amateurs in any sport etc.
A person who earns their living from a specified activity
The following of a profession, sport, etc., as an occupation; - opposed to amateurism.
A person who prosecutes anything professionally, or for a livelihood, and not in the character of an amateur; a professional worker.
The expertness characteristic of a professional person
A professional is a member of a profession or any person who earns a living from a specified professional activity. The term also describes the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular knowledge and skills necessary to perform their specific role within that profession.
Adhering to the standards and guidelines of a specific profession.
The seminar aimed to instill a sense of professionalism in new recruits.
Of, relating to, engaged in, or suitable for a profession
Lawyers, doctors, and other professional people.
Performed by persons receiving pay
Having or showing great skill; expert
A professional repair job.
A person following a profession, especially a learned profession.
One who earns a living in a given or implied occupation
Hired a professional to decorate the house.
A skilled practitioner; an expert.
A person who belongs to a profession
A reputation known by name
Of, pertaining to, or in accordance with the (usually high) standards of a profession.
That is carried out for money, especially as a livelihood.
Of or pertaining to a profession, or calling; conforming to the rules or standards of a profession; following a profession; as, professional knowledge; professional conduct.
Engaged in by professionals; as, a professional race; - opposed to amateur.
An athlete who plays for pay
An authority qualified to teach apprentices
Engaged in a profession or engaging in as a profession or means of livelihood;
The professional man or woman possesses distinctive qualifications
Began her professional career after the Olympics
A professional cook
Professional actors and athletes
Of or relating to or suitable as a profession;
A professional field such as law
Characteristic of or befitting a profession or one engaged in a profession;
A thoroughly professional performance
Engaged in by members of a profession;
Professional occupations include medicine and the law and teaching
A person who exhibits a courteous, conscientious, and businesslike manner.
As a professional, she always responds promptly to emails.
A person engaged in one of the learned professions
Can professionalism be learned?
Yes, professionalism, encompassing behavior and ethics, can be cultivated through guidance, experience, and self-awareness.
Can someone be a professional without formal education?
Yes, expertise and skills can be gained through experience, self-study, or alternative training paths.
Why is professionalism important in the workplace?
Professionalism ensures a respectful, ethical, and efficient environment, fostering trust and credibility.
Are all professionals bound by a code of ethics?
Many professions have specific codes of ethics, but not all. However, professionalism universally implies ethical conduct.
What makes someone a professional?
A professional possesses specific skills, training, and qualifications in a particular field.
How can I improve my professionalism?
Embracing continuous learning, upholding ethics, enhancing communication skills, and seeking feedback are ways to enhance professionalism.
Is every paid worker a professional?
Not necessarily. While a professional often works for pay, the term implies specialized skills and training in a field.
Can someone be a professional in multiple fields?
Yes, individuals can possess expertise in multiple domains with appropriate training and experience.
What can harm a professional's reputation?
Unethical behavior, incompetence, or lack of professionalism can negatively impact a professional's reputation.
Can a single act of misconduct tarnish professionalism?
Yes, professionalism is built on trust and ethics; a significant breach can damage one's professional standing.
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Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.