There´s no shortage of information on the web about how to take photographs like a pro or copywriter like an industry insider. But where is the line? How can you for sure say that someone is working as a professional?
The educational model in which you have to follow a strict route in order to graduate properly is on the edge of being replaced. Mostly because it isn´t important what degree you have (except you are more into the medical sector) but when it comes to creativity it is an unwritten law, that your graduation or a degree is no guarantee for a great collaboration.
Soft skills, talent and persistence are the ingredients for success in creativity today. A degree from this or that Art-center may help to get connections and some mutual respect in a very small circle of other academics. But the rest of the world? You can guess it, they don´t care.
If your work is great, you are in, if you can keep your work great and up, you are even longer in the game. But that is certainly not all. You have to reinvent yourself from time to time to broaden your horizont to new opportunities and that is the key. There are certain things a professional working artist does, that hobbyists can only dream of and vice versa. So it is on us to decide what habit we should keep.
Professionalism begins in the head, with discipline, with respect and a certain mindset that leads to repeated success, without the fear of failure and with the ability to learn from the smallest mistakes and with a passion for risks. It is not the price-tag or degree that makes an artist a professional, it is the intention to deliver that separates the ambitious artist from the successful professional one.