Jobs are often classified as nonprofessional or professional, though the distinction between the two can be unclear. Jobs tend to be deemed professional if they require specialized knowledge and advanced skills in an area. Teachers, engineers and doctors are all considered professionals. Jobs classified as nonprofessional are often manual or repetitive in nature. Dishwashers and cashiers are often considered nonprofessionals. The characteristics of these jobs vary greatly.
While there is some argument about what level of training is required for a job to be deemed professional, most jobs classified as professional by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics require an associate's degree or higher. Nonprofessional jobs do not require a college degree and usually provide on-the-job training.
On average, professional jobs pay a higher wage than nonprofessional jobs, and earnings generally increase with each additional level of education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009 the median weekly earnings for high school graduates with no college were $626. Median weekly earnings were $761 for associate's degree holders, and $1,025 for workers with bachelors' degrees. The median earnings for those with masters' degrees were $1,257 per week, and persons with doctorate degrees earned $1,532 per week.
Fastest Growing Nonprofessional Jobs
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has compiled a list of the fastest growing occupations in 2008 and projected through 2018. Several nonprofessional jobs made the list, including home health aides, physical therapist aides, dental assistants, medical assistants and occupational therapist aides.
Fastest Growing Professional Jobs
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some of the fastest growing professional occupations are biomedical engineers, network systems and data communications analysts, financial examiners, medical scientists, physicians' assistants, biochemists, biophysicists, athletic trainers, dental hygienists, veterinary technologists and technicians, computer software engineers and veterinarians.