Stardew Valley Professions
Comparison on Benefits to Help You Choose
Once you hit level 5 in a skill in Stardew Valley, you'll wonder which profession is the better choice. Based upon your first selection, you get a second bonus at level 10, which further specializes you in the selected profession. That said there are dozens of combinations of professions because of this, though only some of them make a huge difference in play style. Overall you should pick that which matches your own preferences. Some are a bit too powerful or weak, however, and that may lead you to wanting to know which is generally perceived as the best pick.
Note that many choices are subjective. A secondary purpose of this list of professions is to let players know ahead of time the choices they will get to make at level 10.
Fighter vs Scout
Fighter (Level 5)
All attacks deal 10% more damage and you receive +15 HP. A nice, reliable boost.
- Brute (Fighter Level 10) - Damage is increased another 15% to 25% over base.
- Defender (Fighter Level 10) - You gain +25 HP.
Scout (Level 5)
Critical strike chance increased 50% over the base amount. Not additive, but does stack with other bonuses. You won't crit half the time like you may think.
- Acrobat (Scout Level 10) - Cooldown on special moves is halved.
- Desperado (Scout Level 10) - Critical hits deal more damage.
Better Choice: Fighter is probably the better pick, just for the reliable damage. You can already spam attacks and stunlock most monsters. Fighter will help you to rip them to shreds and give you a minor defensive boost. Brute makes it all the better. With Scout/Desperado the damage is not nearly as reliable though it probably comes out similarly on an average. Some damage will be wasted with crits on weak monsters though, and that must be considered. Special moves are not very useful most of the time, so I didn't even consider acrobat.
Rancher vs Tiller
Rancher (Level 5)
Animal products are worth 10% more.
- Coopmaster (Rancher Level 10) - Befriend coop animals faster. Incubation time is cut in half.
- Shepherd (Rancher Level 10) - Befriend barn animals faster. Sheep produce wool faster.
Tiller (Level 5)
Crops are worth 10% more.
- Artisan (Tiller Level 10) - Artisan Goods are worth 50% more. This includes things like wine, beer, and cheese. Pretty much any crafted good.
- Agriculturist (Tiller Level 10) - All crops grow "10%" faster.
Better Choice: By and large the biggest boost to profit in Stardew Valley is to be gained from taking Tiller with the Artisan Profession. This is due to the fact that animal products AND garden produce are boosted when turned into artisan goods and you have ample choices for making them. The boosts to coop and barn animals are much more narrow. Even if you have a large animal farm, you may be better off turning those products into artisan goods and benefiting from the higher sale price.
Fisher vs Trapper
Fisher (Level 5)
The fisher profession offers a 25% boost to all fish value. This is a nice, flat boost that affects both reel and crab pot fishing.
- Angler (Fisher Level 10) - Fish are now worth 50% more.
- Pirate (Fisher Level 10) - Chance to find treasure is doubled (around 30% chance, more with higher luck).
Trapper (Level 5)
Trappers get reduced resource requirements to make crab pots. The original requirement is 40 wood and 3 iron bars. This is greatly reduced to 25 wood and 2 copper bars. As easy as copper is to get, this allows you to make many, many more crab pots.
- Mariner (Trapper Level 10) - Crab Pots never catch trash
- Luremaster (Trapper Level 10) - Crab pots no longer need to be baited
Better Choice: Fisher with the Angler job can allow you to easily purchase crab pots for 1500g, though fisher + pirate is not an awful idea so that treasure chests come up a bit more often - you can find great things inside and it will help you find some artifacts for the museum. Pure money is not always the best pick. That said, if you are a crab pot fan and like going about collecting from them you would not be greatly hindered by going that route. Of mariner/luremaster I would prefer the Mariner. Crab pots can disappoint with trash, but not having to bait (5G!) is not that big a bonus when compared to always catching good stuff inside. However if you're a heavy recycling machine user, the trash isn't that bad a problem.
Forester vs Gatherer
Forester (Level 5)
Wood is worth 50% more.
- Lumberjack (Forester Level 10) - Normal trees occasionally drop hardwood.
- Tapper (Forester Level 10) - Syrup is worth 25% more.
Gatherer (Level 5)
Chance for double harvest when foraging.
- Botanist (Gatherer Level 10) - Foraged items are always gold quality.
- Tracker (Gatherer Level 10) - Locations of forgable items are revealed.
Better Choice: These two offer some fairly bland choices. Wood isn't really a money maker, so who cares if it's worth a bit more - that's a lot of energy expenditure for a little return on investment. Tracker is not very helpful compared to other things here, and given you do not really need many foraged items of gold quality it pretty much rules out Gatherer's level 10s as very useful (gold quality foraged items aren't used in bundles or anything). This doesn't make Gatherer useless, and I'd certainly take Botanist with it. You do need some foraged things for recipes (like mushrooms). All that said, I personally prefer Forester with Lumberjack. You need a lot of hardwood, and while there is a reliable source in the secret forest, it's not such a quantity that it makes Lumberjack useless. This is a more obvious choice if you took the mushrooms as opposed to fruit for the cave.
Miner vs Geologist
Miner (Level 5)
Ore veins yield +1 ore.
- Blacksmith (Miner Level 10) - Metal bars are worth 25% more.
- Prospector (Miner Level 10) - Coal find doubled.
Geologist (Level 5)
Gems have a chance to spawn in pairs.
- Excavator (Geologist Level 10) - Geode find doubled.
- Gemologist (Geologist Level 10) - Gems are worth 30% more.
Better Choice: I personally don't consider mining in Stardew Valley to be a money maker, so boosting gem and metal bar values are worthless to me. Because of that, and that ore can be bought, Geologist seems to be the better pick because of Excavator. Finding more coal may be useful, but it can be crafted and farmed from the dust sprites around level 40-80 in the mine. You can find all kinds of nice things inside geodes, so Excavator's kind of a grab bag that may result in some great finds and will help you to have more gifts for residents of Pelican Town.