Difference Between Vocation and Profession

Vocation vs Profession

There are many different words used to indicate the job or work that an individual does to make a living for himself and his family. These include, employment, job, profession, vocation, occupation, and so on. People remain especially confused between vocation and profession as they have similar meanings and often used interchangeably by people. However, despite similarities and quite a bit of overlap, there are differences between vocation and profession that will be brought out in this article.


What do you do is the most common question that people confront when they go to a new place or find themselves among people he does not know. It is a polite way of knowing about you and your source of livelihood. There are today hundreds of ways to earn a livelihood and so there are different professions or paid occupations that require us to undergo extensive training to achieve skills and a qualification in the form of a degree or certification. For example, there is the medical profession where you have doctors, nurses, technicians, and other medical staff to take care of the sick and the injured. There is the legal profession that is a source of employment for attorneys, judges, clerks, etc. Even teaching is a profession as you need skills and the degree to become eligible to impart knowledge to others. Even a business is a profession as it allows a person to earn income for his livelihood. Teaching and medical professions are considered noble occupations as they allow the practitioner to make money while helping others. You can be a writer or an interior decorator, but what you need is a certain level of qualification obtained through training.


Vocation is an occupation or the employment of an individual that is pursued more for its benefits to others or the society at large rather than for its monetary benefits. Income is a secondary benefit of a vocation. Thus, a vocation is seen as a source of enjoyment for the individual as it fulfills his psychological and spiritual needs. The word vocation comes from Latin Vocare, which means to call.

In Christianity, vocation refers to a divine call to the individual from the god to take up a religious job. If you are a catholic, you know that marriage and celibacy have been regarded as two vocations in Catholicism. The concept of vocation gives a vertical dimension to our lives. It is a calling given to us by God and tells us what he wants us to do with our lives.

However, in modern times, a vocation refers to an occupation for which a person has special abilities or is trained to do that job.

What is the difference between Vocation and Profession?

• Though both vocation, as well as profession, indicates the career or the occupation through which an individual makes a livelihood, vocation is a broader term than profession.

• Profession refers to the career that one opts for, getting extensive training and acquiring special skills to become eligible for a job in it.

• Vocation refers to an occupation for which god gives a calling to the individual.

• Vocation can mean not just the profession or the occupation that an individual pursues for a living but also the occupation for which he receives a calling from god.

• Profession requires training and qualification whereas vocation is the innate ability in an individual towards a particular occupation.

• In modern times, a vocation refers to an occupation for which a person has special abilities or is trained to do that job.