as an occupation
usually refers to the profession that require some particular kind of skilled work. In historical sense, particularly as pertinent to the Medieval history
and earlier, the term is usually applied towards people occupied in most kinds of crafts
and small-scale production of goods.
The households of the members of the society occupied in trade professions were not as self-sufficient as of those engaged in agricultural work and, as such, had to rely on exchange of goods.
Tradesmen tended to concentrate in urban centers and formed the guilds. Trade occupation and the need to be permanently involved in the exchange of goods also demanded a generally higher level of education and in societal hierarchy the tradesmen were usually in a more privileged position than the peasantry.
Once an apprentice had finished his apprenticeship, he would become a journeyman searching for a place to set up his own shop and make a living. After he set up his own shop he could then be called a master of his trade.
Situation in Germany
In Germany a well-known term is Handwerk
. This is a contrast to trade
which is more translated with the german word Handel
(See also: Salesman
). For a more handmade profession see e.g. Carpentry