Sociological Characteristics of the Professions

1. professions provide a unique, definite, and essential social service

2. there is an emphasis on intellectual skills, techniques

3. there is a defined body of knowledge, skills beyond grasp of lay people

4. practices are grounded in theory and research as well as tradition

5. practitioners demonstrate a lifetime commitment to career

6. high social prestige, rewards ($)

7. practitioners accept broad personal responsibility for decisions; they can be sued for malpractice

8. there is an emphasis on service (not $)

9. professions are granted a high level of public trust

10. professionals are autonomous (independent) and customarily engage in independent decision making about practice-related matters

11. professions are characterized by self regulation: a self-governing organization of practitioners maintains control over licensing and certification standards

12. professional conduct is guided by a code of ethics ratified by organization's membership

13. administrative work is considered secondary to professional practice-related work

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