specialty(redirected from specialties)
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the aggregate of knowledge and skills acquired by special training and experience and necessary for performing certain tasks within a profession. Examples of specialties are seen in the skills of civil engineers, production engineers, mechanical engineers, toolmakers, patternmakers, repair mechanics, internists, ophthalmologists, and stomatologists. Worker specialization is an aspect of the division of labor by professions. If the functions within a certain specialty encompass the full range of a worker’s activities, the specialty will correspond to a profession. Examples here are provided by drivers, gas welders, librarians, proofreaders, and jurists.
Within the system of higher education and specialized secondary education in the USSR, courses and programs designed to train specialists are also called specialties. Specialties are used to prepare students for careers, and programs and courses are built around specialties. In 1975 there were over 350 specialties offered in the higher educational institutions in the USSR. The 22 groups into which the specialties are combined are as follows: geology and prospecting for mineral deposits; mining; power engineering; metallurgy; machine building and instrumentation; automation, electronics, and the making of electric appliances; radio engineering and communications; chemical technology; forestry and the processing of wood, pulp, and paper; food processing; production of consumer goods; construction; geodesy and cartography; hydrology and meteorology; agriculture and forest management; transportation; economics; law; public health and physical culture; specialties offered at universities; specialties offered at cultural higher educational institutions and pedagogical institutes; and art. Specialized secondary schools offer approximately 500 specialties, which are somewhat narrower in scope than those of higher educational institutions but for the most part are grouped in the same way. In the system of vocational-technical education in the USSR, the term “specialty” is replaced by the idea of vocational skill. As of 1975, there were more than 1,100 such skills, combined in nine professional branches: machine building, shipbuilding, instrumentation, and associated industries; geological prospecting and coal, mining, petroleum, gas, metallurgical, chemical, and other industries; power engineering, electrical engineering, and radio electronics; construction, the building-materials industry, lumber industry, woodworking, and the production of paper and paper products; transportation and communications; light industry and printing; food processing, including the processing of meat and dairy products, the food service industry, and commerce; service industries ; and agriculture.