A profession is a large trade-oriented set of skills that player characters may incrementally learn in order to gather, make, or enhance items that can be used in World of Warcraft game-play. Professions are both learned and improved from a trainer (or sometimes with Recipes), for a cost. Professions can be learned regardless of their character faction, race, or class (although there are a few class specific skills that are similar to professions.)
Specific trade skills within a profession allow you to do specific things — craft a specific item or add a specific enhancement. These are learned from the profession trainers, from Recipes, or occasionally directly from a quest trainer. Each profession starts out with 1-3 basic trade specific skills.
Through practice, a character gains skill levels within the profession and becomes more capable within that profession. Note the distinction, professional skills are capabilities within a profession, whereas professional skill level is a progression metric which is used as a prerequisite for professional skills and as a prerequisite for the ability to gather specific items within a gathering profession.
There are four proficiency levels that constrain how much skill you can currently acquire within your professions.
Primary professions and secondary professions
Two classes of professions exist: primary professions and secondary professions. You can have only up to two primary professions at any time (but are not required to take any). You can have any number of the secondary professions, and they do not count against your two primary professions limit.
You can drop primary professions, freeing up the profession slot, but you lose the knowledge and experience within the profession; if you take it again later, you will start over from scratch. Secondary professions cannot be dropped, and there would be little point in doing so.
Categories of professions
Professions fall into one of three categories:
"Gathering" professions gather or harvest items from resources throughout the game world to supply ingredient materials ('mats') for crafting professions. Occasionally, these harvested items will be directly useful. The gathered materials can be sold in the Auction House, unless Binding on Pickup prevents it.
"Crafting" or "Production" professions make items from other ingredient items (herbs, bars, meats, etc.) Blizzard calls these "production professions". Most folks in game call them crafting or building. Most of the items produced will be directly useful, but some will be ingredients for further crafting. The products can be sold in the Auction House, unless binding on pickup prevents it.
- The first recipes you get are useful for gearing up low level characters (assuming a higher level character is not helping to support you). Some contend that as soon as you start running instances, the drops will usually be better than most crafted items from the same level, but this is not always the case. Quite often crafted items will provide comparable stats or utility benefits that are quite useful for characters of all levels.
- High end crafting, including specializations, can be extremely useful and lucrative, especially from patterns that come from end game faction grinding or drop in high level instances (some of which Bind on Pickup). There are also several quests which require crafted items for completion.
"Service" professions provide a service, such as buffing items. These will generally change the properties of an existing item without changing the in-game identity of the item. Characters that want to make money with a service profession will usually have to actively solicit customers.
There is some overlap, where a profession of one type will have some functions that are of another type.
| ||Harvest herbs from the ground and some dead mobs.|
| ||Mine ore, minerals, various gems and stone from protruding veins or deposits. Requires a Mining Pick. The smelting sub-profession uses a Forge to smelt the ore into bars of metal (Smelting works like a crafting profession.)|
| ||Skin skinnable corpses for hides, leather, and scales. Requires a Skinning Knife.|
| ||Mix potions, elixirs, flasks, oils and other alchemical substances (usually liquid) using herbs and other reagents. The concoctions you create can temporarily ward against any kind of magic and power any attribute. Most recipes require various types of vials. High level alchemists can also transmute essences and metals into other essences and metals. Alchemists can specialize as a Master of Potions, Master of Elixirs, or a Master of Transmutation.|
| ||Smith various metal weapons as well as mail and plate armor and other useful trade goods like keys, shield-spikes and weapon chains to prevent disarming. Blacksmiths can also make items from stone to temporarily buff weapons. Blacksmiths can also socket one-handed weapons, bracers, and gloves.|
| ||Extract magical dusts, essences and shards for use to enchant various attributes, powers, and properties to all sorts of equipable items. Enchanters can also make a few low-level wands, as well as oils that can be applied to weapons providing a temporary buff. All Enchanters make their own magical rods which they need in order to cast enchantments. The disenchanting ability available to all enchanters could be considered the "gathering component" to enchanting.|
| ||Engineer mechanical devices, trinkets, guns, ammunition, goggles, and explosives, such as grenades, explosive sheep, mechanical pets, etc. Pretty much, being an Engineer gives you all sorts of unconventional and sometimes useful abilities. Usually these items are crafted with metal, minerals, and stone. Most engineering products can only be used by engineers. While not as profitable as the other professions, Engineering is often taken to be one of them most entertaining ones. Engineers can specialize as Goblin or Gnomish engineers.|
| ||Work leathers and hides using such items as thread and salts into goods such as leather armor and armor kits. Leatherworkers can also make very low level cloth capes and, after level 40, sets of mail armor. Other things they can craft are different bags, drums giving various buffs and abilities, and riding crops.|
| ||Sew all sorts of cloth goods, including cloth armor and many kinds of bags. Also weave raw cloth items such as linen cloth into bolts of that type of cloth. Other crafted goods are nets to slow enemies with, flying carpets to ride on, and magical threads which empowers items they are attached onto. Usually requires various types of thread to make finished items.|
| ||Crafting - Cook ingredients to create food that can also provide temporary buffs. The buffs can increase nearly every stat, and some give you unusual passive abilities. In order to cook, you must usually create a campfire. Completing certain cooking quests give cooking awards which unlock new recipes and even a Chef's hat which increases cooking speed.|
| ||Crafting and Service - Create bandages and poison-cleansing anti-venoms and apply them. Considered a must-have-profession for all classes who are not able to heal themselves via magic or the like. Bandages can be used on targeted players of the same faction that are within range of the caster.|
| ||Gathering - Fish from lakes, rivers, and oceans (and more) using a Fishing Pole. The items you fish up can be anything from gray junk to epic treasures and even a couple of raid bosses. Many fish can be eaten raw, but Cooking them usually enhances their restorative powers or duration of buffs provided.|
These skills are not true professions in that they are not available to all classes and do not gather or create something directly to make money via something like the Auction House (which all true professions can now that Enchanting can be applied to scrolls which can be sold).
| ||Service - Open locked chests and doors. Lockpicking used to be a Rogue class skill. It is now an ability within the rogues spell book. The rogue's lockpicking ability scales with the rogue's character level times five (LVL*5), up to a maximum of 425 at level 85. Lockpicking services are often in demand and are marketed/solicited on the trade chat channel. Not really a profession. Almost purely a class skill, but can be used like a service profession.|
| ||Enhancement - Poisons is an ability that enables Rogues to coat their Main Hand, Off Hand, or Ranged weapon with poisons. When a poisoned weapon strikes an enemy it has a chance of applying a debuff that damages, slows, or otherwise hinders the enemy, depending on the poison applied. Learned at level 10, Poisons are a core part of the Rogue class and their use is required to maximize effectiveness.|
| ||Movement - Required to ride a mount. Riding is a skill that is taught like a profession, but it only provides a single skill (a riding ability) at each major proficiency level. It costs much more than a normal profession and it requires a much higher level than normal professions. It does not gather, nor produce. Some recently added mounts allow passengers, which might be used to provide a service, generating income. (Mounts are quite helpful when gathering.) Resembles a secondary profession in that it is available to all characters.|
Professions can be trained to four levels of proficiency. Your professional proficiency level represents a range of professional skill points, and your maximum professional skill points is capped by your professional proficiency level.
|Title of Professional Proficiency Level|| Min Required|
| Min Required|
Professional Skill Points
| Max Allowed|
Professional Skill Points
|Cost to train||Note|
|Apprentice|| Gathering (Herbalism, Mining, Skinning): 0|
Other secondary: n/a
|none||75|| Primary - 10 (at Neutral)|
Secondary - 1 (at Neutral)
|Journeyman|| Gathering: n/a|
Other Secondary: n/a
|50||150||5 (at Neutral)|
|Expert|| Gathering: 10|
Other Secondary: n/a
|125||225|| Primary - 50|
Secondary - 10
|Artisan|| Gathering: 25|
First Aid: 35
|200||300|| Primary - 5|
Secondary - 2 50
| Some specializations are done during this level.|
The gathering professions mining and herbalism (and fishing if you find and use the ) can make use of the minimap to locate resources. Only one kind of thing can be tracked at a time on the minimap. But Hunters and other classes with trackers who are either Miners or Herbalists must be wary that aciviting either of these tracking abilities will deactivate your current tracking ability.
The idea of companion skills is to use one profession or skill to complement another. Typically, this is a crafting profession and the corresponding gathering profession that gathers the bulk of the materials for the crafting profession. It is by no means necessary to actually have both skills; however, having them both greatly lowers your character's reliance upon the auction house for materials, thus, it is highly recommended.
The following is a list of recommended companion skills that generally work well together. Only crafting and service skills and their corresponding gathering skill are listed here. Two gathering skills can be used to make money if you are not interested in crafting at all:
|Profession||Recommended Profession||Alternate Profession||Secondary Profession|
- Alchemy: The best companion skill for this profession is Herbalism. However, Fishing is also highly recommended as it supplies a number of oils needed for Alchemy. Since Fishing is a secondary profession, Herbalism can be taken simultaneously to assist with Alchemy. At higher levels, Mining can be used to provide materials for some potions as well as transmutes. Check your server for Auction House prices for both herbs and minerals. Choose the profession that has the highest sales prices and volume and use your profits to purchase the materials you cannot obtain for yourself. New players should stick with Herbalism and Fishing until they get used to dealing with the auction house.
- Blacksmithing: The best companion skill for this profession is Mining. Ore is typically in high demand and thus expensive to purchase on the auction house. While blacksmithing does utilize components from other professions (mainly leather from Skinning), it does not do so in sufficient quantity to justify losing a big money maker. Very few low-level blacksmithed items sell for more than the value of the materials needed to make them. Thus, blacksmiths should only make the most basic items that will either advance their craft (items with low material requirements) or produce money from the auction house (such as rods needed by enchanters or buckles needed by tailors). All other mined materials should be sold on the auction house for profit until your skill is sufficient enough to sell weapons and armor that are in high demand and sell for more than the value of their materials. Check your server's auction house frequently. Add-ons such as Auctioneer are very helpful in determining to craft for sale or post raw materials.
- Cooking: While Cooking is a secondary profession and utilizes many dropped meats from creatures in the game, its companion skill is Fishing. Before patch 2.4, there was no way to get the cooking skill up to high level without taking up fishing or purchasing the raw fish from someone who has taken up the skill. However, patch 2.4 corrected this short-fall and removed the need to take fishing to advance cooking. It should be noted though that fishing and cooking go hand-in-hand with each other and it is still recommended to take both skills regardless of the fix in 2.4. Don't forget that since both are secondary skills, you can have both of them in addition to two primary skills.
- Enchanting: Enchanting actually comes in two parts: enchanting and disenchanting, of which the latter skill is used to produce the materials needed to enchant. Since the enchanting/disenchanting combination only takes up one profession slot and requires disenchantable items, it is a common practice to couple Enchanting with Tailoring. This is mainly because Tailoring requires no gathering skills, and can produce many green items that can be disenchanted to obtain the materials for the enchanting craft. If you do not like farming for cloth, or if the cost of leather is cheaper on the auction house, then Leatherworking can also produce the green items needed for disenchanting. However, this practice (though not unheard of) is not common, as everyone can farm for cloth and only someone with the Skinning profession can farm the leather needed by leatherworkers. Note that it is also customary for enchanters to farm green and blue items from instanced dungeons and to buy up cheap disenchantable items from the auction house to provide the materials needed for their craft.
- Engineering: The best companion skill for this profession is Mining. Ore is typically in high demand and thus expensive to purchase on the auction house. Like Blacksmithing, Engineering is ore intensive. However, it is also stone intensive and uses a fair number of gems. Mining provides most of the raw materials needed for engineering. While this trade also uses items provided by Skinning, like Blacksmithing, it is not in sufficient enough quantity to justify not taking Mining.
- Leatherworking: The best companion skill for this profession is Skinning. Skinning produces almost all of the raw materials needed to work leather. Additionally, you don't have to kill the mobs yourself in order to skin them. If the creature has been looted, a skinner can skin the corpse for leather, hide or scraps and a leatherworker can turn those items into usable pieces of leather or items. Similar to the above professions, Leatherworking does occasionally utilize other professions' crafted or gathered materials. However, like the above professions, these are not in sufficient enough quantity to warrant not taking up Skinning.
- Tailoring: Unlike other primary professions, tailoring doesn't directly have any other associated companion profession as most of the raw materials are obtained by farming cloth from humanoids in the game. However, it is common practice to couple this profession with a gathering skill such as Skinning, Herbalism, or Mining. It is also common practice to couple this profession with Enchanting. However, except for Skinning to a minor degree, none of these are for the purpose of helping with Tailoring. They are all for either making money on the auction house from selling raw goods to other professions, or for increasing the enchanting profession's skill. Tailors that do not wish to pick up the enchanting profession should consider Skinning. This is for two reasons. First, Skinning provides a few items needed by tailors (such as leather for tailored boots or bags). Secondly, both skinning and tailoring are professions that rely upon gathering items from mobs that you will be killing in the game anyway. In other words, if you kill a humanoid, it will most likely be dropping cloth for your tailoring. If you kill a beast or dragon, you can skin it to grab useful materials. Having both Tailoring and Skinning is a great way to both save and make money at the auction house.
Increasing professional skill level
Skill level is increased by practicing the skill. This works differently for different professions.
For most professions, you have a chance to gain skill level as you craft items, perform your service, or gather from a resource. As you increase in a skill, more recipes and resources reach a 0% chance to increase the skill (at this point the recipe will appear grey in the profession window). When a recipe turns green, a skill raise seldom occurs. A yellow recipe will raise the skill by 1 point roughly 60% of the time. An orange recipe always raises the skill 1 point.
The chance of skilling up changes within a color band as well. For example, if a particular item goes from orange to yellow at 240 and from yellow to green at 255, the chance of skilling up will be almost as good as orange from 240-245, middling from 245-250, and barely better than green from 250-255. It is often beneficial to make high yellow items to skill up more cost effectively than orange items, but low yellow items should only be used if inexpensive (or if profitable!).
The formula describing the chance to gain a skill level, given your current skill level, the level at which the pattern you are using turns "yellow", and the level that it turns "grey", appears to be:
chance = (greySkill - yourSkill) / (greySkill - yellowSkill)
This means that a recipe that has just turned yellow will still be guaranteed to grant a skill point for its next craft (in the above formula, if yourSkill and yellowSkill are the same, the result is 1). It can be observed that the level at which recipes turn green is the point where the chance of a skill-up is 0.5. Thus, yellow recipes have a skill up chance tending from 1 to 0.5 as the recipe approaches green. The number of crafts of a recipe required to get 1 skill-up is geometrically distributed, thus the expected number of crafts is given by 1/chance. This may help in which recipe is the 'cheapest' to use to level up regarding material cost.
One exception to this rule is Skinning, wherein skinning a corpse which appears orange does not guarantee a skill increase, and often many such corpses must be skinned in order to raise the skill).
Fishing also works differently. Each item fished has a contribution to raising your fishing skill, regardless of the item level fished or the location fished. Raising your fishing skill requires progressively more catches, but it doesn't matter where you fish nor what you catch (other than you will miss more fish in more difficult areas where you have a chance to miss some fish, so it will take longer - so raising fishing skill can be inversely related to the difficulty of the fishing.)
Creating a Basic Campfire has a chance of increasing cooking skill. This has 5 min cooldown so it is not so useful.
Bonus to profession skill
You can also increase your profession skill level with certain racial abilities, items, and enchants. Principally the chance to skill up is based on the characters base skill level - i.e. the skill level before the racial or item bonus. This makes it much easier to level up the skill. The Draenei Jewelcrafting skill bonus of 5, for example, means that a recipe that turned from orange to yellow at 30 for other races would not turn yellow until 35 for a Draenei jewelcrafter.
You must have training in the profession (at least one skill point) to use a skill bonus in that profession. With no training, the skill bonus does not apply - so you can not use the skill bonus instead of training in a profession.
Certain races receive a profession skill bonus as a racial trait.
Certain enchantments create a permanent profession skill bonus on an apparel item, which is then worn to apply the profession skill bonus. Currently, all of these work on gloves.
- adds 2 to Fishing skill.
- adds 2 to Herbalism skill.
- adds 2 to Mining skill.
- adds 5 to Skinning skill.
- adds 5 to Mining skill.
- adds 5 to Herbalism skill.
Casting these enchantments on a very low level non-binding white or gray quality cloth glove enables the glove to be worn by any character. This will also prevent anyone from accidentally disenchanting the glove. (The materials for the enchantment cannot ever be recovered in any case.)
(Some folks may prefer the enchantment on a Bind on Equip glove they can't accidentally give away.)
The herbalism enchantment can be cast on for a total bonus of +7 or +10 herbalism skill. This is the only way to get both bonuses at once, since individual herbalism skill bonus items would occupy the same equipment slot.
Certain items give profession skill bonuses when wielded or worn.
- adds +10 to Skinning skill.
- adds +10 to Skinning skill.
- See Skinning equipment for a detailed discussion.
- Mail adds +5 to Mining skill.
- Crafted by engineers who have specialized in Goblin Engineering.
- Can be worn by Paladins and Warriors, and also by Shamans and Hunters above level 40 who have trained to wear mail armor.
- As it is Bind on Pickup, it can only be created and worn by engineers who have the Goblin Engineering specialization; you can continue to wear it if you change specializations as long as you remain an engineer.
- Note that this item is not available to miners who have anything other than engineering as their other profession.
- With the mining enchantments on gloves, total bonus to mining skill is +7 or +10.
- Leather adds +5 to Herbalism skill.
- Crafted by leatherworkers.
- Cannot be worn by Priests, Mages, or Warlocks.
- With the herbalism enchantments, this glove is +7 or +10 herbalism skill.
- For Tauren, that's +20 with no enchantment, +22, or +25 with enchantment. (All Tauren classes can wear the glove.)
- The pattern for making the is sold only by an Alliance NPC vendor. The pattern can be traded and sold; Horde will have to get it from the Neutral Auction House.
- The are Bind on Equip and can be traded and sold the same way.
- See Items That Increase Fishing Skill or Fishing equipment for a table of the many items that add to Fishing skill.
Bonuses you only get with a certain Profession
The crafting professions each have recipes for items that require skill in that profession.
Blacksmiths can create skeleton keys to open locked doors and chests, providing a limited alternative to a rogue's lockpicking services.
In addition, Blacksmiths are able to craft gear that only they can wear. These items become available at several points:
Skill level 47 260 65 330 70 350 78 415
Note: As of Cataclysm, Blacksmiths no longer have specializations.
Almost every item an engineer makes is usable only by other engineers, making it difficult to compare to other professions. They have custom made items that do everything from snare or mind control opponents to gaining access to a Repair bot in the middle of the wilderness.
Much like Blacksmiths, they are able to make a small selection of items (headgear) exclusive to engineers.
And in common with most other crafting professions, they are able to augment select items of their own gear. Most of these changes are gadgets (increased movement speed, rockets, parachutes).
As with Blacksmiths, Leatherworkers are able to create a fair selection of armor items that only they may use, at pretty much the same levels as blacksmiths.
Easy money making
- Main article: Guide to making money
Every profession offers opportunities to make money. The gathering professions offer an obvious avenue: Sell what was gathered. Some of the crafting professions also have "value added services". The value of those services depends on the market prices for the source and completed items, or upon the price players are willing to offer for the "cooldowns".
All of the skills have reduced cost to train depending on your reputation with the Faction to which the trainer belongs. Since you can generally have at least one reputation at Honored by 20th level, selecting where to train will save you 2 50 (5% as compared to the cost when Friendly). This is also true for all recipes for the building professions.
- The Trainer page has links to a comprehensive list of trainers for each profession/skill.
- The Profession trainers by skill page lists where to find trainers.
Many good high-level recipes are sold by factions. Faction grinding keeps many crafters busy for several weeks and can often be very expensive if you are not backed by a guild. It is not uncommon for a crafter to start out with two collecting professions (usually Skinning/Mining or Skinning/Herbalism), later learn the first production craft, and in the end learn a second production craft to maximize benefit from the faction.
Unlearning a profession
You may unlearn a profession and start a new one but this removes the chosen profession. If you were to learn it again, you would have to start leveling it from a skill level of 1 again. You will also forget any recipes you may have acquired in your old profession, so they must be reacquired if you take it up again. Note, however, that you do not unlearn your speciality, if you have one. If you later re-acquire an unlearnt profession for which you had a speciality, you will still have the speciality. The new profession you choose to replace it with also starts with a skill level of 1. You can unlearn a profession from your skills tab (the hotkey is k). To do so, click on the appropriate profession, and in the bottom part of the panel is a tiny icon that when moused over will tell you it lets you unlearn your profession. Be sure you really want to unlearn a profession; Blizzard will not undo it if you change your mind!
One way to make use of this is to look at primary professions from a different perspective. You can only have two. But they are not 'cast in concrete', you can discard a primary profession and replace it. And they are dirt cheap - Apprentice level training in a primary profession costs 9 copper in your starting area. When you are first starting, you might benefit by switching professions to meet a goal. You can use this to get a fair upgrade to your starting gear cheaply, and stock up on some low level consumables.
The downside is that you lose all of your built up skill and recipe knowledge.
Professions and Identity
Often, professions may coincide with your interests in real life. It may be to your advantage to pick a profession which interests you in real life so that your interest in your profession in WoW stays strong. Likewise, allowing your online identity to carry over into real life through professions can be just as rewarding. However, choosing a profession that is new to you can be equally enriching as a way to explore new identities.
- Beginner's guide to professions for helpful general info.
- Choosing your primary professions discusses your options.
- Farming is a term used to describe the act of gathering reagents/materials to make Profession items — usually referring to hard-to-find ingredients. See the Places to Farm article for more details.
- For leveling guides please visit Tradeskill leveling guides