By Lee Lehman
The definition of a professional has changed over time, particularly since WWII. Beginning in the 1950's, fields that required significant education and were practiced primarily by upper middle class individuals, began developing educational standards and increasingly sophisticated certification programs. In those fields (for example, law, medicine or psychology) only those individuals who had passed both the educational and certification requirement could call themselves a professional.
In fields like plumbing, education and certification still apply, but the education is geared primarily toward a practical application of knowledge and so is called vocational.
As astrology became more popular in the 1960's and 1970's, individuals who charged for charts began to call themselves professionals and considered astrology to be a profession. But this is a different definition than that held by the mainstream culture.
In the 1990's and later, astrological organizations developed voluntary certification programs. Although these programs are receiving increasing interest, astrologers today do not have to go through the same level of extensive professional education and certification required by other professions. Without this, astrology remains a vocation that calls itself a profession. The cultural terminology has shifted, but astrology has not yet caught up with that shift.
The trend toward a stricter definition of professional continues, and more fields are developing education and certification programs. Will this trend affect astrologers and their practice?