Professions Overview for Cataclysm Classic

Last updated on Apr 28, 2024 at 00:00 by Abide

Professions allow players to gather items from the world and use them to create items, gear and useful odds-and-ends that can either be used by the player or traded to others.

In Cataclysm, there are 11 primary professions and 4 secondary professions.

Professions allow players to gather items from the world and use them to create items and gear that they can use or can be traded or sold to other players.

In Cataclysm there are 11 primary professions and 4 secondary professions. In addition to their main roles, each profession offers a unique bonus that enhances your character's power, be it through additional abilities or profession-exclusive effects. You can learn more about each of these bonuses in our guide below.


Leveling Professions in Cataclysm

To level your professions you will be required to partake in whatever activity is associated with your profession; If you want to level your Herbalism you must pick herbs, if you want to level Jewelcrafting you must craft gems or pieces of gear, and so on.

As your skill level increases, the rate at which you can level up changes depending on the activity chosen. For any professions that use recipes of any kind, the recipes will be displayed in the profession window with a color that corresponds with your skill level. As you increase your skill level, lower level recipes will change color from Orange to Yellow to Green and, eventually to Gray.

  • Orange recipes will always grant a skill up when crafted unless you are at the maximum skill allowed for your level bracket or profession training level.
  • Yellow recipes will typically give you a skill level when crafted, but there is a chance that it will not.
  • Green recipes will usually not give you a skill level when crafted so unless the recipe you are crafting is exceptionally cheap it is typically not worth crafting these if your intention is to level your profession skill.
  • Gray recipes are too low of level and cannot grant skill ups.

The color of recipes will change as your profession skill rises so be careful of crafting too many of the same recipe if your intention is to level your profession as they will likely change color after several crafts.

For gathering professions you will see the color displayed on the tooltip of the node/mob that you wish to gather from. If it is Red then your skill level is too low and you will not be able to harvest from it.


Types of Professions in Cataclysm

There are multiple ways to categorize professions for Cataclysm.

  • Gathering professions — These professions are mainly used to gather in the open world and are often used as reagents for other professions.
  • Crafting professions — Using the materials used by gathering professions or drops throughout the world you can create powerful equippable gear, consumables, or items for yourself or other players.
  • Secondary professions — there is no restriction on which secondary professions you can learn; you can learn all four.

Listed below we have sorted professions into their assigned categories, based on their status as primary or secondary professions and their utilization in game.


Gathering Professions in Cataclysm

Gathering professions work differently than crafting professions. A gathering profession focuses entirely on collecting materials rather than making items. These professions are typically paired with a crafting profession or used for the express purpose of making gold from selling raw materials.



Herbalism Icon Herbalism allows players to harvest herbs throughout the world and in dungeons. These herbs are needed by both Alchemy Icon Alchemy and Inscription Icon Inscription as they both use herbs as their main source of materials. Herbs are in constant demand for end-game consumables such as flasks and potions, making Herbalism Icon Herbalism a great money-making profession.



Mining Icon Mining allows players to mine ore and gems from veins found throughout the world and in dungeons. Mining Icon Mining also grants you the Smelting Icon Smelting ability, turning ore into much more desirable metal bars.

Jewelcrafting Icon Jewelcrafting, Blacksmithing Icon Blacksmithing, and Engineering Icon Engineering are all strong complements to Mining Icon Mining as they will fully utilize the materials you harvest while mining from nodes. Otherwise, Mining can be used as a great source of goldmaking from simply selling the ore or smelted bars directly to other players.



Skinning Icon Skinning allows players to skin corpses of certain monsters types in the world to obtain leather, hides, scales and plenty of other items. These materials are needed in many end-game item crafts, mostly used by the Leatherworking Icon Leatherworking profession. This makes Skinning Icon Skinning a great combo with Leatherworking Icon Leatherworking as the two professions go hand-in-hand together.


Crafting Professions in Cataclysm

Crafting professions focus on turning raw materials into items, consumables, and gear. Many of these professions are desired in end-game content for the perks they offer, as well as the crafted items they can make. These professions are best paired with a gathering profession to fuel their material needs.



Alchemy Icon Alchemy allows players to use herbs and various other reagents in specific vials to create a variety of potions, flasks, and other consumables that can be used to bolster your power in combat. Herbalism Icon Herbalism is a strong complement to Alchemy Icon Alchemy if you choose it as one of your primary professions, as herbs are the main component to most Alchemy recipes.



With Blacksmithing Icon Blacksmithing, players can craft powerful weapons and armor for Plate wearers. Mining Icon Mining is a strong complement to Blacksmithing Icon Blacksmithing if you choose it as one of your primary professions, as metal bars are the main component to most Blacksmithing recipes.



Enchanting Icon Enchanting allows players to bolster the equipment they already have with powerful enchantments that add stats to specific pieces of gear. Enchanting Icon Enchanting is unique in that the materials used for it cannot be gathered by traditional means; instead, you get the dust, shards, and crystals that you need by Disenchant Icon Disenchanting items of Uncommon quality or higher.

Enchanting Icon Enchanting is a strong compliment to any other crafting profession because you are able to Disenchant Icon Disenchant anything you craft that you may not end up using or needing, effectively recycling the materials into enchanting materials.



While Engineering Icon Engineering is a crafting profession, you do not craft in the same way that most other professions do. The vast majority of the items you will be crafting with Engineering Icon Engineering are situationally useful gadgets, bombs and explosives for combat, or some unique, fun toys.

Mining Icon Mining is a strong complement to Engineering Icon Engineering if you choose it as one of your primary professions, as metal bars and stones are the main components to most Engineering recipes.



Inscription Icon Inscription uses Milling Icon Milling to grind herbs into inks, using these inks for a wide array of crafts. The main feature of Inscription Icon Inscription is the glyphs; a means to enhance some of your most powerful spells to new strengths. Herbalism Icon Herbalism is a strong complement to Inscription Icon Inscription if you choose it as one of your primary professions, as herbs are the main component to most Inscription recipes.



Jewelcrafting Icon Jewelcrafting allows the ability to create Gems that grant stat bonuses in gear that have open sockets. Jewelcrafting can also craft powerful pieces of equipment to fill the Neck, Ring, and Trinket slots. Mining Icon Mining is a strong complement to Jewelcrafting Icon Jewelcrafting if you choose it as one of your primary professions, as you will be Prospecting Icon Prospecting Ore to get the gems you will need.



Leatherworking Icon Leatherworking allows players to create powerful Leather and Mail armor as well as item enhancements for specific gear slots that no other profession can offer. Skinning Icon Skinning is a strong complement to Leatherworking Icon Leatherworking if you choose it as one of your primary professions, as Leather is the main component to most Leatherworking recipes.



Tailoring Icon Tailoring allows players to create powerful Cloth armor as well as item enhancements for specific gear slots that no other professions can offer. Being a tailor also gives you the Northern Cloth Scavenging Icon Northern Cloth Scavenging perk, allowing you to get additional cloth from humanoids you kill in Wrath of the Lich King and Cataclysm zones.

Tailoring Icon Tailoring is almost entirely independent of any other profession as the primary component for most tailoring recipes is cloth which drops from humanoid throughout the world.


Secondary Professions in Cataclysm

Secondary professions are professions that do not take up one of the two main profession slots, allowing anyone to have them in addition to their two main professions.



Archaeology Icon Archaeology is a new profession introduced in Cataclysm. This profession allows you to Survey Icon Survey the area and uncover hidden treasures. These treasures vary from items that can be sold for gold, to gear, and even rare collectable mounts and pets. Archaeology Icon Archaeology is a secondary profession, allowing everyone to train it and uncover the lost artifacts throughout the world.



Cooking Icon Cooking allows you to craft food that can grant many unique and powerful buffs. The reagents required for cooking are typically found from killing mobs so there is no other profession required to effectively level your own cooking, however Fishing Icon Fishing is a strong complement as there are some recipes that require reagents that can only be gathered by Fishing.



Fishing Icon Fishing allows players to catch fish in waters all over the world, as well as various treasures from wreckage. Some of the fish found through Fishing Icon Fishing are needed to make high-end food that is desired for end-game PvE content, giving Fishing a decent potential to make gold. Fishing Icon Fishing is a strong complement to Cooking Icon Cooking as many of the fish you catch will go to waste if not leveling both at the same time.


First Aid

First Aid Icon First Aid allows for players to craft bandages from cloth, healing a moderate amount of damage over a short, channeled cast. These bandages are great in many different situations, being useful from leveling all the way into end-game PvE and PvP content. Classes without the ability to self-heal will especially find First Aid Icon First Aid useful as this profession will allow you to heal yourself very quickly rather than needing to eat food.



  • 28 Apr. 2024: Guide added.
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