Stardew Valley Best Professions Revealed (All Professions Ranked)

The best Stardew Valley Professions
A farmer chose a wrong Profession, and now has to spend 10,000 gold to correct the error of his judgment.

While few games are as relaxing as Stardew Valley, it can get a bit intense at times. One of the difficult decisions is choosing your Profession. Many players just choose them randomly based on the brief in-game descriptions they get in the game. However, these can be very misleading. 

Like in most games, some options are simply better than others. And although you can change your Professions later (by visiting the Statue of Uncertainty in the Sewers), it costs 10,000 gold to do so. Why not just make the right choice the first time?

In this article, I’ll show you what the best Stardew Valley Professions are for each skill. I focus on level 10 Professions, since these are the ones, you want to build towards. I provide a brief explanation on what makes each Profession good or bad. 

Best Foraging Professions

The farmer tapped a lot of oak trees to make kegs for wine.

4. Tracker

Tracker stems from the level 5 Gatherer Professions. As the name suggests, it allows you to track forageable items on the map. It does so through tiny yellow arrows at the edge of the screen. The Tracker Profession also reveals artifact spots and panning areas. However, it doesn’t work on berry bushes. 

The Tracker Profession brings minimal value to your skill arsenal. When looking for forageable items, you already walk around a lot. Besides, the map scenes aren’t all that big anyway. After a few in-game weeks, you’ll know roughly where to look for these items. 

The only time I’d suggest picking Tracker is if you can’t be bothered walking around the map and just want to harvest forageables as quickly as possible.

What Makes Tracker Useful:

  • Makes finding forageables much easier
  • Prevents you from searching for items pointless if there are none in your current scene
  • Works during all seasons and in most maps

Choose Tracker If:

  • You’re averse to in-game cardio
  • You don’t know where these items generally spawn
  • You wish to try a niche Profession just for fun

3. Tapper

You can choose Tapper at level 10 if you’ve chosen Forester at level 5. This Profession increases the value of all syrups by 25%. The affected items are Maple Syrup, Oak Resin, and Pine Tar. 

This is arguably one of the worst Professions in Stardew Valley. Firstly, I doubt any player taps trees specifically to sell syrups. Syrups are extremely useful for crafting items such as Kegs or Rain Totems. They won’t ever sell for that much anyway. Not to mention it takes from 5 to 9 nights to get syrup. That’s simply not worth it.

Later in the game, you may get your hands on a Heavy Tapper. Though this item produces syrups much faster, selling syrups will be useless at this point. Late in the game, most players make their money by selling wine. The price of syrups simply pales in comparison.

I only recommend going for Tapper if you plan to create a funky, unorthodox farm in your current playthrough.

What Makes Tapper Useful:

  • Increases the value of syrups
  • Allows you to create a unique farm
  • Mass planting trees may be viable if you use the Heavy Tapper

Choose Tapper If:

  • You like to experiment with new playstyles
  • You place fun over efficiency
  • You don’t mind planting and tapping trees across the whole Valley

2. Lumberjack

Lumberjack stems from the level 5 Forster Profession. It adds a small chance for regular trees to drop hardwood when you fell them. 

This Profession is very straightforward. You chop down a tree and you may get extra hardwood in the process. But with the introduction of the Ginger Island patch, this isn’t nearly as useful anymore. Farming hardwood is easy once you gain access to the Secret Woods. Moreover, all Mahogany trees drop hardwood. Mahogany seeds aren’t even that difficult to find. 

However, Lumberjack may be an okay choice if you’re working on a big project on your farm and it requires a lot of hardwood.

What Makes Lumberjack Useful:

  • Makes hardwood more accessible
  • Improves your time efficiency since you can farm both types of wood at once
  • Can be invaluable if you’re working on a large project for your farm

Choose Lumberjack If:

  • You could use every single piece of hardwood you can get (yes, we’re still talking about Stardew Valley)
  • You need more hardwood that you can get from the Secret Woods
  • You seek to maximize your wood-cutting efficiency

1. Botanist

Botanist is derived from the level 5 Gatherer Profession. If you choose it, all forageable items will be iridium-quality. This extends to all items you pick up from the ground (including mushrooms, coconuts, and seashells.) 

Of all the Foraging Professions, Botanist reigns supreme. Do you also find it annoying how items of different quality occupy different slots? This Profession puts an end to them. Now, you’ll only have one slot for every type of forageable item. Iridium items not only sell for more, but they also grant you more friendship with the villager you gift them to. Some iridium-quality forageable also work as an Elixir of Life. These include the Purple Mushroom and Magma Cap. 

Most Stardew Valley players go with Botanist in all their playthroughs, including me. Botanist also affects the crops grown from season-specific crafted seeds, making them excellent for maximizing your winter profit. 

What Makes Botanist Useful:

  • All forageable items will become iridium-quality
  • The best Foraging Profession in the game
  • Great if you tend to have inventory issues (and believe me, we all do at some point)

Choose Botanist If:

  • You’re tired of your inventory filling up all the time
  • Want to befriend the villagers as fast as possible
  • You plant Winter Seeds every year


Best Farming Professions

The farmer has planted a lot of Ancient Fruit plants to make a lot of money.

4. Agriculturist

Agriculturist stems from the level 5 Tiller Profession. It makes all crops grow 10% faster.

Sadly, Agriculturist is among the worst Stardew Valley Professions. The 10% bonus is laughable at best. Even worse, it doesn’t make subsequent harvest come faster. Consider strawberries. It takes 8 days for the plant to mature. Then, it produces strawberries every 4 days. Agriculturist would simply make it take 7 days to mature. The subsequent harvests remain the same. 

Agriculturist allows you to get one extra harvest for specific crops, at the very best. However, you can achieve the same results by using Speed-Gro fertilizer. It simply isn’t worth a Profession slot.

What Makes Agriculturist Useful:

  • Makes all crops grow 10% faster
  • Might allow you one extra harvest for some crops
  • Works as a permanent Speed-Gro fertilizer

Choose Agriculturist If:

  • You don’t trust me when I say it’s not worth it
  • You wish to compare the theory to practice
  • You wish to try a lackluster Profession just for fun

3. Coopmaster

Coopmaster stems from the level 5 Rancher Profession. It cuts down incubation time in half and increases the chance of better-quality coop products. When you pet animals, you also gain 30 friendships with them (instead of the base 15). 

Coopmaster isn’t necessarily bad. It’s simply outshined by the other Professions on this list. The incubation time becomes irrelevant once you fill up all your coops. And with the introduction of Auto-Petters, gaining and maintaining friendships is much easier. And as far as the product quality goes, you turn most of them into Artisan products anyway. 

I’d only choose Coopmaster temporarily to fill up my coop with animals. After that, I recommend swapping it for Artisan. 

What Makes Coopmaster Useful:

  • Helps you incubate Chickens, Dinosaurs, Ostriches, and Slimes much faster
  • Improves the quality of all coop products
  • Helps you befriend coop animals a lot quicker

Choose Coopmaster If:

  • You want to focus on coop production
  • You need to fill several coops with animals
  • You use Slime Hutches and/or barns filled with Ostriches

2. Shepherd

Shepherd is the alternative final choice to the level 5 Rancher Profession. It improves barn product quality and makes sheep grow wool faster. At max friendship, they’ll produce wool every single day (instead of every other day.) It also makes you befriend barn animals faster ( works similarly to Coopmaster, except it affects only barn animals.)

Shepherd is definitely more useful than Coopmaster. More wool means more profit. The only issue is that you can achieve even better results by going for Artisan. Turning animal products into Artisan goods is always more profitable. Besides, the Artisan Profession affects all Artisan goods, whether they come from crops or animals. 

While Shepherd isn’t a bad option, it simply pales in comparison to Artisan. 

What Makes Shepherd Useful:

  • Makes sheep grow wool every single day
  • Allows you to befriend all barn animals much quicker
  • Increases the quality of all barn products

Choose Shepherd If:

  • You’re building a sheep farm
  • You wish to focus more on barn animals than crops
  • You play for fun rather than efficiency

1. Artisan

Artisan stems from the level 5 Tiller Profession. Once you choose it, your Artisan products will be worth 40% more gold. These include all Keg products, Honey, and all processed animal goods. 

Artisan is the most valuable Profession in the entire Stardew Valley game. You’ll always want to sell Artisan products instead of raw goods, which makes the 40% extremely useful. All players shift to selling wine once they hit the late game. Depending on the fruit it came from, wine can be the most expensive product in the game. The extra 40% thus makes a huge difference. 

In terms of efficiency, no other Farming Profession can match Artisan.

What Makes Artisan Useful:

  • Makes your Artisan products more valuable
  • Maximizes your profits
  • Works on both crops- and animal-oriented farms

Choose Artisan If:

  • You want to become Bill Gates of Stardew Valley as quickly as possible
  • You focus on selling expensive Artisan products such as Starfruit Wine
  • You wish to boost your economy with as little effort as possible


Best Mining Professions

The farmer is looking for iridium nodes with no luck.

4. Blacksmith

Blacksmith stems from the level 5 Miner Profession. It allows you to sell Metal Bars for 50% more gold.

I don’t see any reason for picking Blacksmith. Metal Bars are essential materials for most crafting recipes in Stardew Valley. Simply farming them in large amounts requires a ton of work. And no matter how far into the game you are, you can never have enough of them. It thus makes no sense to sell them. I even find myself raw ore from Clint just so I can meet my Metal Bar demands. 

Blacksmith is only viable if you’ve reached the end game and don’t need Metal Bars for anything. However, the income from them may not be worth the time and energy, especially compared to Wine production. 

What Makes Blacksmith Useful:

  • Allows you to sell Metal Bars for 50% more gold
  • Viable in the late game
  • Considerably increases the value of Iridium Bars

Choose Blacksmith If:

  • You love spending time in the Mines
  • You wish to try out a different playstyle
  • You have a lot of excessive Ore and Coal on your hands

3. Gemologist

Gemologist stems from the level 5 Geologist profession. With it, all minerals and gems will be worth 30% more. 

One of the better Stardew Valley Professions, Gemologist helps you make some extra profit during the early game. Once you donate one piece to the museum, most gems become useless. Thus, your go-to option will be to sell them. Gemologist can help you with this. The Profession is also great if you have several Diamond-loaded Crystalariums on your farm. 

However, the Profession becomes less useful as the game progresses. 

What Makes Gemologist Useful:

  • Allows you to make an extra 30% profit from gems and minerals
  • Great Profession in the early to mid-game
  • Synergizes well with Crystalariums

Choose Gemologist If:

  • You plan to build a Crystalarium-oriented farm
  • You spend a lot of time in the Mines or Skull Cavern
  • You don’t need the material benefits granted by the alternative Mining Professions

2. Excavator

You can choose Excavator if you’ve chosen Geologist at level 5. This Profession doubles your chance of finding geodes. It applies to all 4 types. 

I often swap to Excavator as I near the late game. I mainly do so to farm Omni Geodes in the Skull Cavern. You can exchange these for Artefact Troves. This is the surest way to complete your museum collection if you’re missing only a handful of artifacts. You can also use Omni Geodes to buy special clothing pieces and Desert Warp Totems from the Desert Merchant. 

Though Excavator has a very niche use, it’s still a useful Profession, especially in the late game. And once you get enough Omni Geodes, you can always swap it for another one. 

What Makes Excavator Useful:

  • increases your odds of finding Geodes
  • Great for finding all minerals for the museum
  • You can use it farm Omni Geodes for Artifact Troves

Choose Excavator If:

  • You’re missing only a few items for the museum
  • You no longer need much ore
  • You want to buy cool hats from the Desert Trader

1. Prospector

Prospector stems from level 5 Miner Profession. It doubles your chances of finding coal.

Coal drops randomly as you destroy rocks. Together with ore, you need to create Metal Bars. I can’t count the number of times I ran out of coal. This can be frustrating, especially if you have loads of ore sitting in your chests. If you don’t want to farm Dust Sprites all day long, you can simply pick this Profession. 

Prospector remains valuable at all stages of the game.

What Makes Prospector Useful:

  • Great for farming Coal
  • Remains relevant throughout the whole playthrough
  • Can save you a lot of time

Choose Prospector If:

  • You tend to run out of Coal often
  • You dislike farming Dust Sprites
  • You need a lot of Metal Bars for your project


Best Combat Professions

The farmer explores the depths of the Danger Mines.

4. Acrobat

Acrobat branches from the level 5 Scout Profession. If you choose it, your special moves will have a 50% reduced cooldown.

However, this is completely useless. The best weapon in Stardew Valley is the Sword, it hits multiple targets and knocks them back. Its special move is a block, which you’ll barely ever use. Thus, going with Acrobat is rarely a good idea.

What Makes Acrobat Useful:

  • Halves the cooldown of your special moves
  • Works on all weapon types
  • Opens a new type of playstyle

Choose Acrobat If:

  • You wish to try something new
  • You don’t mind the lower damage output
  • You rely on special moves a lot

3. Desperado

Desperado also stems from the level 5 Scout Profession. It doubles your critical strike damage.

Unfortunately, Desperado only sounds good on paper. Even if you build full crit, you’ll barely be able to pass a 10% Crit Chance. And once you get your Galaxy Sword, all monsters will likely die regardless of the amplified Crit Damage. Still, it may be a fun Profession to run if you just want to experiment.

What Makes Desperado Useful:

  • Doubles your Crit Chance
  • Might help you kill some enemies in one move if you’re lucky
  • Satisfying when it works

Choose Desperado If:

  • You want to try out a new combat style
  • You don’t mind the inconsistency of this Profession
  • You like Crit Strike-oriented builds

2. Defender

Defender branches off from the level 5 Fighter Profession. Once you choose it, you gain an extra 25 HP. 

I find this bonus health quite useless. When you run the Skull Cavern, you always take some food to replenish any lost HP. This makes your max HP irrelevant. The only time Defender does anything is if you choose to run Skull Cavern or the Volcano without any food, something barely any player does.

What Makes Defender Useful:

  • Permanently increases your max HP by 25
  • Good for running dungeons without any food, such as for the Mr. Qi challenges
  • Increases your survivability

Choose Defender If:

  • You tend to get hit a lot
  • You don’t like timing your attacks and blocks
  • You don’t have the patience to farm food for your Skull Cavern runs

1. Brute

Brute stems from the level 5 Fighter Profession. It increases your damage output by 15%.

Brute is as straightforward as it is useful. The bonus damage is the most reliable buff out of all Combat Profession. It’s especially useful early on when you haven’t unlocked the Galaxy Sword yet. 

What Makes Brute Useful:

  • Increases your damage by 15%
  • The most stable Combat Profession
  • Remains relevant throughout the whole playthrough

Choose Brute If:

  • You want to choose the best Combat Profession in terms of efficiency
  • You want to make your Skull Cavern runs a bit easier
  • You wish to maximize your damage output


Best Fishing Professions

The farmer uses Crab Pots so he can make juicy Sashimi.

4. Angler

Angler stems from the level 5 Fisher Profession. Choosing it makes all fish worth 50% more gold. 

While it may sound great, in theory, it’s quite lackluster in practice. Because most fish don’t sell for much in the first place, the extra percentage barely adds any value. By the time you hit level 10 on fishing, you’ll be making decent money off your farm produce. The tiny gold bonus is not worth sacrificing a profession slot for.

 However, it is decent in the early game if you fish a lot and hit level 10 in the first year. 

What Makes Angler Useful:

  • Helps you earn more money
  • Good to speed up your early game
  • Applies to all fish you catch (by using either a fishing rod or a crab pot)

Choose Angler if:

  • You’re still in Year 1 and already a level 10 Fisherman (congratulations, by the way)
  • You love fishing a lot
  • You seek to maximize your gold income

3. Pirate

Pirate will be your second option if you’ve chosen the Fisher Profession at level 5. It doubles your chance of finding a Treasure Chest while fishing (30% chance instead of a 15% base one.) 

This Profession is only good while you still need plenty of artifacts and minerals to complete your museum collection. And though you can receive rare items from these chests, the odds are quite low. Not to mention you can achieve the same boost by using Magnet. And if you wish to finish your museum collection, exchanging Omni Geodes for Treasures Troves is a much better way to do so. 

Still, the Pirate Profession can be useful early when you haven’t encountered some of the rarer items in the game. 

What Makes Pirate Useful:

  • Good if you haven’t found some of the rare items in the game yet
  • Treasure Chests contain many minerals and artifacts for your museum collection
  • Makes Treasure Chests easy to farm, especially when paired with the Magnet and Treasure Hunter tackle

Choose Pirate if:

  • You still need a lot of items to complete the museum collection
  • You search for rare items such as the Ancient Seed, Dinosaur Egg, or Prismatic Shard
  • You like the excitement of rolling for a random item

2. Luremaster 

Luremaster branches off from the Trapper Profession. Once you choose it, your crab pots will work without bait. All you need to do is place them in water and wait until the next day.

 However, they can still catch trash. This may not matter much if you have several recycling machines. You can use them to turn Broken Sunglasses and Broken CDs into Refined Quartz, which is hard to mass produce early on. 

But what makes crab pots so strong is that they can catch a lot of low-value fish. You can then use these fish to create Sashimi for your Skull Cavern runs. I prefer to turn them into Deluxe Fertilizer to get as much gold from my crops as I possibly can. With crab pots, mass-producing Deluxe Fertilizer becomes a walk in the park. That is if you don’t mind the fishy smell on your farm.

The reason I place Luremaster second is that Mariner achieves the same thing, only more efficiently.

What Makes Luremaster Useful:

  • Allows you to catch fish with no effort on your part
  • Can be a decent source of Refined Quartz early to mid-game
  • Doesn’t cost anything apart from the initial crab pot materials

Choose Luremaster if:

  • You don’t care much for fishing but still want to catch some
  • You don’t like farming Bug Meat for Bait
  • You don’t mind hauling in trash

1. Mariner

The best Fishing Profession is easily Mariner. It ensures your crab pots catch nothing but fish. While you still have to load them with bait, they won’t catch trash ever again. 

This is much stronger than Luremaster. Refilling the pots is simple and doesn’t take long, especially if you place them on your farm. You’ll haul in more fish, which means more Deluxe Fertilizer. And more Deluxe Fertilizer means more high-quality crops that you can sell for a lot of gold. 

You shouldn’t have trouble with farming Bait either. Apart from crafting Worm Bins, you can also slay bugs found in the Mutant Bug Lair. This is a great method to mass-produce bait, especially if you own a Burglar’s Ring. Bugs also spawn in the first 39 levels of the Mines. 

In terms of boosting your economy, Mariner is one of the best Professions in the game. 

What Makes Mariner Useful:

  • Allows you to catch a lot of fish
  • Great for crafting Sashimi and Deluxe Fertilizer
  • Can boost your income via the Fertilizer

Choose Mariner if:

  • You want a free source of fish
  • You wish to boost the value of your crops
  • You don’t mind farming bait regularly

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