What makes a job a profession?
Traditionally, the “learned professions” have shared several
Self-policing associations that set
standards, define entrance criteria, and discipline members who violate
Requirements for both higher
education and occupation-specific training
Standardized testing to measure
Requirements for on-going education
A code of ethics that governs
Annual or periodic dues, membership
fees and/or licensing fees
Relatively high compensation, based
on annual or monthly salaries rather than hourly wages
Medicine, law, engineering, teaching, counseling etc. all meet this
definition of “professionalism.” Note that there are many
occupations that meet some of these specifications – skilled
tradespeople such as plumbers, electricians, barbers, and the like must
undergo training, pass exams, and obtain licenses. Some may also join
associations, abide by formal codes of ethics, and be well paid. However,
these jobs don’t usually require degrees, and most members of these trades are
paid on an hourly basis.
Other fields, such as law enforcement, real estate, and stock brokering
might be thought of as “quasi-professions” in that they don’t strict
meet every one of these standards but are working toward upgrading the
professionalism of their occupation, primarily by raising educational and
other entry requirements.
Where do high tech occupations fit into this model – if at all?