Skills In Stardew Valley: How To Master All Five

Farming, Mining, Foraging, Fishing, Combat – which is your favorite? This guide will help you understand each of the five skills in Stardew Valley and teach you to master them all.

A screenshot from Stardew Valley depicting the skills tab.
A fully maxed-out farmer!

What Are Skills in Stardew Valley?

Your farmer in Stardew Valley can obtain and master five different skills. As you gain experience in any skill, you’ll unlock new crafting recipes, dishes, and new ways to earn money.

When the game starts, you’ll have zero experience in every skill. However, over the course of the game, you can keep gaining more and more experience and eventually reach level ten. It takes precisely 15.000 experience points to get a skill to level ten, and master it.

The five skills in Stardew Valley are:

  1. Farming
  2. Mining
  3. Foraging
  4. Fishing
  5. Combat

What Are Professions?

You can choose one of two possible professions at levels five and ten of every skill. Professions allow you to specialize your farmer and make a decision about how you want to keep interacting with any given skill. For example, suppose you choose the Fisher profession at level five of Fishing. In that case, you’re proclaiming a preference for fishing with a fishing pole over using Crab Pots, which the Trapper profession supports more heavily.

The choice you make at level five influences your available choices at level ten. If you choose profession A at level five, you can choose between professions C and D at level ten. If you choose profession B at level five, you can choose between professions E and F at level ten. In total, each profession has six possible professions.

List of All Professions In Stardew Valley

SkillLevel Five Profession #1Level Ten Profession OptionsLevel Five Profession #2Level Ten Profession Options
FarmingRancherCoopmaster / ShepherdTillerArtisan / Agriculturist
MiningMinerBlacksmith / ProspectorGeologistExcavator / Gemologist
ForagingForesterLumberjack / TapperGathererBotanist / Tracker
FishingFisherAngler / PirateTrapperMariner / Luremaster
CombatFighterBrute / DefenderScoutAcrobat / Desperado

The Farming Skill

Stardew Valley is a farming simulator at its core, and farming is the first skill you’ll come into contact with. At the start of the game, you’ll be prompted to plant some Parsnip seeds on your newly acquired farm! In fact, the farming skill is more than just fruits and veggies. You can gain experience in this skill by harvesting crops and taking care of animals as well.

As you level up in farming, you’ll gain access to the following recipes and perks:

Level OneLevel TwoLevel ThreeLevel FourLevel Five
Basic Fertilizer
Mayonnaise Machine
Stone Fence
Bee House
Farmer’s Lunch
Preserves Jar
Basic Retaining Soil
Iron Fence
Level SixLevel SevenLevel EightLevel NineLevel Ten
Cheese Press
Hardwood Fence
Quality Sprinkler
Quality Retaining Soil
Oil Maker
Deluxe Speed-Gro
Seed Maker
Iridium Sprinkler
Quality Fertilizer

Why Level Farming?

  1. Achieve Tool Proficiency
    Leveling up in farming will increase your Hoe and Watering Can tool proficiencies. This means you’ll expend less Energy while taking care of your crops – leaving you with more Time and Energy to do other things in Stardew Valley!
  2. Gain Access to Artisan Goods
    You’ll also need to level up in order to gain access to all the machines that create Artisan Goods. Artisan Goods are processed products – Wine, Jelly, Pickles, Cheese, and more. These products tend to be twice as valuable as their raw components, and are a great way to earn some serious cash in Stardew Valley.
  3. Harvest Higher-Quality Goods
    Having a higher level of farming guarantees higher quality crops and animal products. Higher quality goods sell for more and allow you to regain more Health and Energy upon consumption.
  4. Ensure Festival Success
    Certain Festivals, such as the Luau and Stardew Valley Fair will reward you if you have access to high-quality products. Gold Quality Wine, Cheese, or Goat Milk is all you need to win the hearts of all your fellow Pelican Town residents and the Governor too! Artisan Goods, Vegetables, Fruits, Flowers, and Animal Products are five separate categories for the Grange Display. Nurture high-quality crops and befriend your animals to possibly earn 1.000 tokens at the Fair.

How to Level up: Crops

You gain a small amount of experience each time you harvest a crop. The amount of experience you get varies depending on just what it is that you’re harvesting. More valuable crops, such as Cauliflowers or Starfruit, provide you with more experience. Less valuable crops like Coffee Beans provide you with very little.

To illustrate with numbers, Coffee Beans provide you with four points of experience each time you harvest. Starfruits provide you with 43 points of experience per harvest.

You gain the same amount of experience whatever the quality of the crop is. For that reason, if your primary goal is to level up, rather than to earn money, you don’t need to focus on quality at all. Instead, it’s recommended you purchase or craft Speed-Gro fertilizer, and make the process of growing and harvesting crops faster.

A brimming garden!

How To Level Up: Animals

Gaining experience with animals may seem tougher, but the two are actually quite similar. You gain five points of experience for caring for your animals – petting them, shearing Sheep, milking Cows and Goats, and harvesting animal products.

Five experience sounds like not much, but keep in mind that you can gain this experience every single day. With crops, you only gain experience when you harvest, not for watering every day or keeping your crops crow-free. To illustrate, in 13 days, you can harvest a field of 25 Starfruit to gain 1075 experience. You can gain 1560 experience for taking care of twelve Chickens in the same timeframe.

The Mining Skill

The Mining skill illustrates how efficient you are in the mines and how much profit you gain from your exploits down under. You can gain experience in this skill by spending many a day toiling in the Pelican Town mines just North of town.

As you level up in mining, you’ll gain access to the following recipes and perks:

Level OneLevel TwoLevel ThreeLevel FourLevel Five
Cherry BombStaircaseMiner’s TreatGlowstone Ring
Transmute (Fe)
Level SixLevel SevenLevel EightLevel NineLevel Ten
BombTransmute (Au)Mega BombCrystalariumProfession

Why Level Mining?

  1. Achieve Tool Proficiency
    Every level in mining increases your Pickaxe proficiency. This allows you to spend less Energy while mining. This is super useful because it allows you to spend more time in the mines without needing rest or rejuvenation.
  2. Collect Gems
    Gem Nodes can be found on any level in the mines. They’re tougher to mine but far more valuable than Ore and Stone. You can sell Gems you find in the mines, donate them to the Museum, or give them to your friends and neighbors. Gems are generally universally liked, and eight different villagers love Diamonds in particular.
  3. Amass Ore
    Ore is one of the most essential resources in Stardew Valley. You can collect Copper, Iron, Gold, and Iridium Ore by working hard in the mines and in the Skull Cavern. These are used for crafting useful items or constructing buildings. You can even manufacture Ore into Metal Bars and sell them to earn a pretty profit.
  4. Amass Stone
    While not as precious as Ore and Gems, Stone is also an incredibly important and versatile resource in Stardew Valley. You need Stone to build almost any of the buildings, and it’s required in many crafting recipes. For example, 100 Stone can be used to craft Staircases, which can greatly aid you in the Skull Cavern.
  5. Find Geodes
    Geodes are unique clumps of stone that can contain valuable items within. Crack geodes at home using a Geode Crusher or visit Clint at the Smithy. Inside, you can find Gems, Ore, artifacts, minerals, and more. These can be used as gifts, for crafting and tailoring or donated to the Museum.

How To Level Up

Almost everything you do in the mines grants experience, but different types of rocks, veins and nodes grant different amounts. There are two exceptions: brown rocks and large boulders. Brown rocks don’t grant any experience and are different from the light-grey rocks you can find that take at least two hits of your Pickaxe to mine. Large Boulders, although they are much tougher to crack, also don’t grant any experience.

Focus your Energy, instead, on special Nodes. Copper, Iron, Gold, Iridium, and Radioactive Nodes grant more and more experience. Gem Nodes, too, grant a lot of experience, particularly Diamonds which grant a whopping 150 experience.

Ore Nodes provide plentiful experience.

The Combat Skill

The Combat skill measures how powerful your farmer is in a duel with monsters. Level it up by duking it out with the denizens of the mines.

As you level up in combat, you’ll gain access to the following recipes and perks:

Level OneLevel TwoLevel ThreeLevel FourLevel Five
Sturdy Ring
Bug Steak
Life ElixirRoots PlatterWarrior RingProfession
Level SixLevel SevenLevel EightLevel NineLevel Ten
Slime Egg-Press
Oil of Garlic
Ring of Yoba
Thorns Ring
Slime Incubator
Explosive Ammo
Iridium Band
Squid Ink Ravioli

Why Level x?

  1. Stat Increase
    Leveling up in Combat allows you to improve passive stats such as your farmer’s Health (HP), attack damage, critical strike chance, and more.
  2. Kill Faster
    Increasing these stats and gaining access to professions such as Fighter and Brute allow you to dispatch monsters much quicker than normal. Monsters can be quite frustrating in the mines when your main goal is collecting resources, and leveling in Combat solves this problem faster.
  3. Mine Longer
    If you spend less time fighting monsters, because you can kill them much quicker, you’ll have more time to spend on mining. A weaker farmer can get low on Health and need to eat or leave to survive, but a combat expert can stay healthy and energized enough to spend the whole afternoon in the mines.
  4. Unlock Slime-Farming
    Unlocking the Slime Egg-Press at level six and the Slime Incubator at level eight is all you need to get started farming Slimes. Construct a Slime Hutch and spend some time caring for the little guys to have a dependable source of Slime all the time.

How To Level Up

The only way to level up in Combat is to fight monsters. You can find monsters all over Stardew Valley, but namely in dungeons and caves. The most familiar locations are probably the Pelican Town mines, North of the town, and the Skull Cavern in the Calico Desert. You can also visit less popular spots like the Quarry Mine, the Mutant Bug Lair in the sewers, and the late-game available Volcano Dungeon.

The Pelican Town mine has monsters that scale in difficulty the deeper you go. The Skull Cavern, on the other hand, is difficult from the get-go, and a great place to find and kill monsters.

You gain more experience by defeating stronger enemies, so the best way to farm Combat experience is to seek out tough enemies. This means you’ll likely want to focus on the Skull Cavern in particular. Stock up on high-quality food like Cheese or some dish from the Stardrop Saloon, and get some Bombs, Stairs, and a good weapon. After that, get to killing!

The strongest enemies in the mines appear after Floor 80.

The Fishing Skill

Fishing determines how successful you are at catching high-quality fish. You can level up fishing by grabbing a fishing pole and heading to the river, or by sitting back while the Crab Pots do their work!

As you level up in fishing, you’ll gain access to the following recipes and perks:

Level OneLevel TwoLevel ThreeLevel FourLevel Five
Increased Cast DistanceBait
New items at Willy’s Fish Shop
Crab Pot
Dish O’ The Sea
New items at Willy’s Fish Shop
Recycling Machine
Increased Cast Distance
Level SixLevel SevenLevel EightLevel NineLevel Ten
Trap Bobber
New items at Willy’s Fish Shop
Cork Bobber
Treasure Hunter
New items at Willy’s Fish Shop
Worm Bin
Barbed Hook
Dressed Spinner
New items at Willy’s Fish Shop
Increased Cast Distance
Seafoam Pudding
New items at Willy’s Fish Shop

Why Level Fishing?

  1. Achieve Proficiency
    Proficiency with a fishing pole doesn’t just conserve energy, like proficiency in other tools, but allows you to become better at fishing. As you level, you’ll be able to cast your bait farther, increasing the quality of fish you catch.
  2. Earn Profit
    Fish of high quality can be sold at a great price. Invest your time and energy into fishing and grab the right professions to enjoy major profits. This is particularly useful in the early game when crops aren’t as profitable as later on.
  3. Craft and Cook
    Fish can be used to craft Quality Fertilizer, which increases the quality of your crops. Different kinds of fish are used in various recipes. Many of these dishes, such as Escargot or Lobster Bisque, grant a temporary boost to your fishing skill.
  4. Complete Collections
    Challenge yourself to complete the Fish collection in Stardew Valley to earn achievements and bragging rights. If you get very good at fishing, you can even catch all of the Legendary Fish in the game.
  5. Gain Health and Energy
    Gold and Iridium fish tend to grant a significant boost to your Health and Energy. For example, an Iridium quality Flounder, a relatively common Summer saltwater fish, grants you nearly 100 Energy and 50 Health.
  6. Acquire Treasure
    You can find treasure by investing in the fishing skill. Increase your fishing level to gain access to the best rods and tackles. You can purchase the Treasure Hunter tackle and the Magnet bait to increase your chance of finding treasure. Furthermore, the Pirate profession will increase your odds as well.

How To Level Up: Fishing

To gain the most amount of experience, you’ll want to catch fish of the highest value and quality. To illustrate, a regular quality Carp nets you just eight points of experience, but 20 points if it’s Iridium Quality.

On the other hand, if we’re talking about an inherently valuable fish like the Lava Eel, those numbers change drastically. A regular quality Lava Eel grants 33 points of experience, and 45 for Iridium Quality.

This means to level up, you need to try to catch fish at their highest quality. The Quality Bobber increases the quality of fish, so that tackle is a good place to start. Furthermore, food that temporarily increases your fishing skill is very valuable.

Lastly, make sure you play the fishing mini-game as well as you can. Keep the fish in your bar at all times to ensure the best quality. You should also try to cast the line as far away from the shore as possible to ensure a perfect catch.

How To Level Up: Crab Pots

Harvest fish from Crab Pot grants significantly less experience. Even catching a regular quality Carp, which takes little time and effort, grants you more experience. Taking something – fish or trash – out of the Crab Pot gives you five points of experience.

However, if you’ve got a lot of Crab Pots, the numbers aren’t so bad considering the low effort needed to replenish Pots. If you have 50 Crab Pots, for example, you can easily gain 250 points of experience every day. That said, getting 50 Crab Pots requires a lot of money and resources.

The Foraging Skill

The foraging skill refers to your farmer’s ability to find high-quality forageables on the ground. Additionally, a good forager is an excellent wood-cutter and gains more Wood than the average player.

As you level up in foraging, you’ll gain access to the following recipes and perks:

Level OneLevel TwoLevel ThreeLevel FourLevel Five
Wild Seeds (Spring)
Field Snack
Survival BurgerTapperCharcoal Kiln
Wild Seeds (Summer)
Level SixLevel SevenLevel EightLevel NineLevel Ten
Lightning Rod
Wild Seeds (Fall)
Warp Totem: Beach
Wild Seeds (Winter)
Warp Totem: Mountains
Tree Fertilizer
Warp Totem: FarmRain Totem
Cookout Kit

Why Level x?

  1. Acquire Tool Proficiency
    A higher level of foraging leads to increased axe proficiency. This means you can spend all day chopping down trees and still conserve enough Energy to do something else like mine or farm.
  2. Amass Wood
    Like Stone, Wood is a very important resource in Stardew Valley. It’s used for crafting, constructing farm builds, and upgrading the farmhouse. You’ll need hundreds of pieces of Wood throughout the game, and a high level of foraging will allow you to gather more than the average farmer.
  3. Amass Hardwood
    Hardwood is a more valuable and far rarer type of Wood. It, too, is used for crafting, construction, and various upgrades. However, unlike normal Wood, there’s only a finite amount of out in the wild. You’ll need to make use of Mahogany Seeds to farm this tree.
  4. Collect Syrups
    You can use Tappers to collect three kinds of Syrups from trees – Maple Syrup, Pine Tar and Oak Resin. These are used in various crafting recipes. Oak Resin in particular is useful because it’s necessary to make Kegs. Wine is one of the best avenues for profit.
  5. Improve Forageables
    Grabbing the Botanist profession is the only way for your farmer to collect Iridium Quality – the highest quality – forageables. This will increase profit from selling all forageables exponentially. If you want to focus on pigs and Truffle farming in your playthrough, this is a must-have. However, you’ll need level ten first, and grab Gatherer at level five. Gatherer gives you a chance for a double harvest of forageables – another great reason to level this skill.

How To Level Up: Collectables

Leveling up by collecting forageables in Stardew Valley is unreliable at best. You can find a handful of forageables around Pelican Town, but it would take many in-game hours to comb through all of the areas and find them all. Further, collecting a foraged item will only net you about seven points of experience.

Foraged items can be found everywhere.

How To Level Up: Wood

Chopping down Trees may just be the superior way to earn foraging experience. You gain 12 points of experience for chopping down a tree and one more point for removing the stump. Furthermore, you get 25 points for chopping down Large Stumps and Logs, which drop Hardwood instead of normal Wood.

A good tactic to level foraging is to create a field of trees using Seeds. Utilize the Tree Fertilizer – unlocked at level seven of foraging – to expedite this process dramatically.

Hot tip: The Forest Farm has renewable Large Stumps for daily Hardwood collection.

Meet the author

I'm a content writer and an avid video game player whose favourites are either chill RPGs or super competitive shooters with no in-between! If anyone is still reading this please help, Joja has trapped me in a guide-writing factory and I'm so tired of drinking Joja Cola.

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