A profession is a field of study with individuals who adhere strictly to ethical standards, possessing specific knowledge and skills acquired through high level of education for contribution to the society. Every profession possesses code of ethics way beyond moral or religious obligations, that regulate activities within it.
This means professionals are expected to be disciplined, bound by these codes in the profession. These codes differ from profession to profession, and they constitute the characteristics of each. However, there are general characteristics and traits every profession possesses. From the professions in science to technology to the humanities, these characteristics define what a profession is.
Professionalism is essential in a society. Asides the economic contributions of taxation and finance, professions are institutions that organize the society. Every profession is significant with each contributing quotas to societal progress. Professions are characterized by several key features, which are;
- Specialized knowledge and education: One of the defining features of a profession is that it requires specialized knowledge and education. Professionals must complete a formal program of education and training, such as a degree program or apprenticeship and an internship when necessary to acquire the required knowledge and skills to practice their profession. This specialized knowledge and education is often necessary to protect the public and ensure that professionals are able to provide high-quality services.
- Professional associations: Many professions have professional associations that provide oversight and support for members. These associations offer professional development opportunities, networking events, and resources for members. They also establish ethical codes and standards for members to follow and provide disciplinary action when these standards are not met. This helps to maintain the integrity and sacrosanctity of the profession.
- Ethical codes and standards: Professions have ethical codes and standards that guide the behavior of members and promote professional conduct. It is one of the core characteristics of a profession. These codes and standards may include requirements for confidentiality, informed consent, and avoiding conflicts of interest. They are intended to protect the public and ensure that professionals act in the best interests of their clients or customers. They contain the obligations of members, and disciplinary actions if they go against these codes.
- Autonomy and self-regulation: Professions are typically self-regulated, meaning that they have the authority to govern themselves and regulate their own members. This means professionals are allowed to set and enforce their own standards and practices, which can help to maintain high levels of quality and integrity within the profession.
- Service orientation: Professions are generally focused on serving the society, rather than just making money or achieving personal gain. This service orientation is often a key motivator for professionals, and it can help to ensure that they act in the best interests of their clients or customers. It is one of the characteristics of a profession.
- Professional identity and culture: Professions often have a unique identity and culture that differentiates them from other occupations. This identity and culture may include shared values, beliefs, and practices that are specific to the profession. Professionals may also have a strong sense of identity and pride in their work, which can help to foster a sense of community and collaboration within the profession.
- Accountability: Professions are accountable to the public and to their clients or customers for their actions. This accountability is usually regulated through the professional associations and ethical codes guiding these associations. Professionals must act in accordance with ethical codes and standards and be prepared to face disciplinary action if these standards are not met.
These characteristics of profession help professionals maintain high levels of quality and integrity within their profession, and provide valuable services to the public. These characteristics also maintain the education standard of certain professions, and its requirements