From the Oxford Online Dictionary
adj. 1. [only before noun] connected with a job that needs special training or skill, especially one that needs a high level of education; 2. (of people) having a job which needs special training and a high level of education; 3. showing that somebody is well trained and extremely skilled; 4. suitable or appropriate for somebody working in a particular profession; 5. doing something as a paid job rather than as a hobby; 6. (of sport) done as a paid job rather than as a hobby.
n. 1. a person who takes part in a sport or other activity for enjoyment, not as a job; 2. (usually disapproving) a person who is not skilled.
From the MacMillian Online Dictionary
adj. 1. relating to work that needs special skills and qualifications, a. showing a high level of skill or training, b. behaving in a correct way at work and doing your job well; 2. relating to a profession and its rules, standards, and arrangements, a. working in a profession; 3. relating to your work or career; 4. playing a sport or doing an activity as a job rather than for enjoyment.
From the Mirriam-Webster Online Dictionary
adj. 1. a: of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession; b: engaged in one of the learned professions; c (1): characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (2): exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace.
2. a: participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs <a professional golfer>; b: having a particular profession as a permanent career <a professional soldier>; c: engaged in by persons receiving financial return <professional football>.
3. following a line of conduct as though it were a profession <a professional patriot>.
A professional is a person who is engaged in a certain activity, or occupation, for gain or compensation as means of livelihood; such as a permanent career, not as an amateur or pastime. The traditional professions were doctors, engineers, lawyers, architects and commissioned military officers. Today, the term is applied to nurses, accountants, educators, scientists, technology experts, social workers, artists, librarians (information professionals) and many more.
The term is also used in sports to differentiate amateur players from those who are paidóhence "professional footballer" and "professional golfer". Many companies include the word professional in their store name to imply the quality of their workmanship or service.
In some cultures, the term is used as shorthand to describe a particular social stratum of well-educated, salaried workers who enjoy considerable work autonomy and are commonly engaged in creative and intellectually challenging work.
Due to the personal and confidential nature of many professional services, and thus the necessity to place a great deal of trust in them, most professionals are subject to strict codes of conduct enshrining rigorous ethical and moral obligations.Definition
The main criteria for professionals include the following:
1. Expert and specialized knowledge in field which one is practising professionally.
2. Excellent manual/practical and literary skills in relation to profession.
3. High quality work in (examples): creations, products, services, presentations, consultancy, primary/other research, administrative, marketing, photography or other work endeavours.
4. A high standard of professional ethics, behaviour and work activities while carrying out one's profession (as an employee, self-employed person, career, enterprise, business, company, or partnership/associate/colleague, etc.). The professional owes a higher duty to a client, often a privilege of confidentiality, as well as a duty not to abandon a genuine client just because he or she may not be able to pay or remunerate the professional. Often the professional is required to put the interest of the client ahead of his own interests.
5. Reasonable work morale and motivation. Having interest and desire to do a job well as holding positive attitude towards the profession are important elements in attaining a high level of professionalism.
6. Appropriate treatment of relationships with colleagues. Consideration should be shown to elderly, junior or inexperienced colleagues, as well as those with special needs. An example must be set to perpetuate the attitude of one's business without doing it harm.
7. A professional is an expert who is a master in a specific field.Criticisms
Although professional training appears to be ideologically neutral, it may be biased towards those with higher class backgrounds and a formal education. They are more likely to have conservative political opinions and are unlikely to challenge the orthodoxy of the profession. In his 2000 book, Disciplined Minds: A Critical Look at Salaried Professionals and the Soul-Battering System that Shapes Their Lives
, Jeff Schmidt observes that qualified professionals are less creative and diverse in their opinions and habits than non-professionals, which he attributes to the subtle indoctrination and filtering which accompanies the process of professional training. His evidence is both qualitative and quantitative, including professional examinations, industry statistics and personal accounts of trainees and professionals. A study on journalistic professionalism argued that professionalism is a combination of two factors, secondary socialization of journalists in the workplace and the fetishization of journalistic norms and standards. In this way, undesirable traits in new employees can be weeded out, and remaining employees are free to cynically criticize their professional norms as long as they keep working and following them. The latter concept adapted from philosopher Slavoj éiěek and his concept of ideology.
The etymology and historical meaning of the term professional seems to indicate an individual whose philosophy and habits have been conditioned by a professor. So, a professional is the follower of a professor. Plumbers are therefore not considered professionals. While they certainly make a living doing what they do, with a particular expertise, and with a certain expectation of manners, plumbers do not acquire their skills through a professor, or even through a professional professor. They learn from private firms that distribute the knowledge, or they learn from friendly association with a master plumber.