What do you think, is teaching considered a profession or an occupation? Teaching is a respectable job in every part of the world as teachers help shape the next generation of leaders and contributors to society.
Most of us wouldn’t be where we are without the help of some dedicated and brilliant teachers. However, is teaching itself considered a profession or an occupation. Is there a real difference even between profession and occupation.
Before we answer this question, let’s first take a look at the terms profession and occupation and find out the difference between these.
What’s A Profession
According to the Oxford dictionary, a profession is a paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification. What does this mean?
A profession is an occupation that requires knowledge of some form of advanced education or training. Here an individual undergoes specialized training in their chosen field and professions are also governed by a recognized professional body.
Typical examples of professions include physicians, lawyers, nurses, engineers, police officers, chefs, architects, accountants, and many more.
What’s An Occupation
An occupation is a person’s usual or principal work or business. Simply put, it’s a job or an activity undertaken by an individual to earn a living.
Examples of occupations include shopkeeping, driver, delivery person, freelancer, construction worker, and many more.
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Types Of Occupations
Occupations can further be classified into three types which include:
A profession is a sort of career that skilled and trained individuals undertake in order to give service to consumers.
- Tailor or seamstress
A business is a profit-making activity that involves the production or distribution of goods and services. The primary goal of business operations is to produce a profit, and these activities are classified into industries.
These are the manufacturing and distribution of commodities and products, as well as commerce, which is the exchange of goods and services for money.
Employment is a type of occupation in which workers provide services to consumers in exchange for money in the form of a salary or wage. Working hours, duties and responsibilities, and the amount of compensation and wage are all subject to particular terms and conditions in the workplace.
Typical examples include:
- Bank workers
- Factory workers
- Government office workers
- Private organization workers
Differences Between Profession And Occupation
|Respect||Highly respected||Little respect|
|Qualifications||Requires relevant qualification||No qualification required|
|Education level||Higher education/training||None required|
|Code of conduct||Present||None|
|Opportunities outside professional field||None||Several|
Is Teaching A Profession Or An Occupation
Now that we have an understanding of the differences between a profession and an occupation, let’s see where teaching falls.
While this would be easy to answer in the original sense of the role of a teacher, our modern society has thinned the line between a profession and an occupation in the field of teaching.
Someone in our modern society could be called a teacher simply because he provides lessons to another person on a topic or a skill. This doesn’t necessarily mean the individual has an academic qualification to go with the activity.
People are paid to teach without any prolonged training or formal education both online and offline in our information age.
Teachers who teach in our educational institutions are required to have some form of certification and a teaching license. Activities of these teachers are then regulated by some regulating bodies and these teachers can lose their license for breaching these regulations.
A typical example is a teacher found drunk in public or having an OnlyFans account could stand the risk of losing their licenses or severe punishment by their institution, districts, or other regulating bodies.
While this is true for a professional teacher, some people engage in teaching activities without the necessary license. In this case, this teacher would not be subject to the regulations of any governing body.
The main difference here is that while anyone with the requisite knowledge could engage in some form of teaching activity, professional certification is required for a teacher to work in an educational institution. So our answer is:
Yes, teaching is both a profession for licensed teachers and an occupation for anyone (financially motivated or otherwise) involved in teaching activities without a teaching license or the necessary professional qualification.
When Is Teaching An Occupation
Online teachers on platforms like Udemy and other platforms where students could register to take courses, may not possess the necessary license of a teacher and may not belong to any governing bodies.
They simply teach with the knowledge they have accumulated. Let’s take a typical example of a professional Chef. If a licensed Chef decides to start teaching online, does this make them a professional teacher?
While they may be teaching, they do not possess the necessary teaching qualification, licensing nor have they undertaken any training on teaching methodologies.
That said, this doesn’t mean they can’t be called teachers by their subscribers or students enrolled in their course. In this case, teaching becomes an occupation for the Chef instead of a profession.
Their motivation may be purely financial or otherwise in this case. These are teachers but teaching is simply an occupation. This also applies to individuals without the necessary licensing engaged in teaching activities in offline environments.
When Is Teaching A Profession
To put it simply, a professional teacher possesses the necessary academic qualifications, training, and licensing from recognized bodies.
They belong to a regulating body that issues these licenses which can be revoked on breach of any specified regulations.
You’ll mostly find these in most educational institutions as these institutions ensure that employed teachers have the necessary training on teaching methodologies.
Reason Why Teachers Are Sometimes Not Considered Professionals
While in times past, the best thinkers in society could always be found in the academic field, our modern world has seen significant changes. While the love for the teaching profession still remains, it’s become a form of a fallback for some people when they’re unable to achieve their goals.
Availability of the internet has also led to various individuals, irrespective of their academic knowledge or professional training to create courses and provide instructions to students. Even in offline environments, people provide various forms of training to people without any real qualification.
This leads to the debate on whether teaching should be considered a profession or an occupation. While we’ve answered the question of whether teaching is a profession or an occupation above, we will look at the reasons why some do not consider teaching a profession.
Fall Back Career
While it’s true that most teachers genuinely love to teach, work with children, and the satisfaction they get from the honorable role, teaching has become a fallback for people who are unable to achieve their goals in some cases.
With fluctuations in the market and high unemployment levels in some fields, it can be difficult to secure a job in your chosen career.
As a result, some graduates who are unable to find a job resort to teaching as an occupation.
A teaching license is provided to individuals who have undertaken the necessary academic work and training to work as professional teachers.
Unfortunately, a teacher license has become unnecessary in many places as, any individual with a higher education qualification, irrespective of their know-how on teaching methodologies is given the opportunity to teach in some schools.
Someone with a degree in the arts unable to secure a role as an actor would end up in the teaching field without training. This presents the mentality that being a teacher doesn’t require any real professional certification or licensing so long as you have a higher education qualification.
That said changes are being made in various places to ensure quality professional teachers are available to train students. Various NGOs and organizations are enabling teachers without the necessary training to acquire these for free or at subsidized prices.