Names of Occupations in Spanish

Job Titles for Women Not Treated Consistently

Su hermano es pintor. (Her brother is a painter.). Photo by Jared and Corin; licensed via Creative Commons.

It's very common when getting to know someone to talk about your occupation. Or, if you're young, you may be asked frequently what you want to do for a job when you grow up. If you're speaking Spanish, there's a fair chance the word you want to describe your occupation, current or potential, is on the following list.

Many of the job titles will seem familiar, as many are English cognates. Keep in mind, though, that in a few cases the meanings in similar-sounding titles don't always line up exactly, sometimes because of cultural differences. A secondary-school teacher in Latin America, for example, might be known as a profesor, while in the United States, at least, the word "professor" is used primarily at the university level.

One matter of some confusion can be the gender of the occupational names. In many cases, the same word is used to refer to a man as to a woman. For example, a male dentist is el dentista, while a female dentist is la dentista. In some cases, there are distinct forms, such as el carpintero for a male carpenter and la carpintera for a female carpenter. In many cases, both forms can be used to refer to a female. For example, the boss is el jefe if he's male, but either la jefe or la jefa if she's female, depending on the region and, sometimes, who's speaking. Similarly, la médica is used to refer to a female doctor in some areas, but in other areas la médico is used and/or might be considered more respectful. In nearly all cases, using la with the masculine form is the safer choice if you're not sure of local usage.

Otherwise, the feminine form of the occupations ending in -o are formed by changing the -o to an -a. Occupations that end in -dor are changed to -dora for the feminine. Occupation names that already end in -a are the same in masculine or feminine.

In the list below, the masculine forms are given. The feminine forms are given following a slash (/) in cases where they don't follow the rules above.

Note also that different words may be used in some areas, or for certain specialties.

Occupations — occupaciones
Accountant — contador, contable
Actor/actress — actor/actriz
Administrator — administrador
Ambassador — embajador
Archaeologist — arqueólogo
Architect — arquitecto
Artist — artista
Athlete — atleta
Attorney — abogado
Baker — panadero
Barber — barbero
Bartender— mesero
Beautician — esteticista
Biologist — biólogo
Businessman/businesswoman — hombre/mujer de negocios, empresario
Butcher — carnicero
Captain — capitán
Carpenter — carpintero
Chemist (pharmacist) — farmacéutico
Chemist (scientist) — químico
Chief executive officer — director general
Clerk (office worker) — oficinista
Clerk (retail worker) — dependiente
Coach — entrenador
Computer programmer — programador
Cook — cocinero
Dancer — bailarín/bailarina
Dentist — dentista
Doctor, physician — médico
Driver — conductor
Editor — redactor
Electrician — electricista
Engineer — ingeniero
Farmer — agricultor, granjero
Firefighter — bombero
Florist — florista
Geologist — geólogo
Guard — guardia
Hotelier, innkeeper— hotelero
Jeweler — joyero
Journalist — cronista
King/queen — rey/reina
Landlord — dueño
Lawyer — abogado
Librarian — bibliotecario
Mail carrier — cartero
Mechanic — mecánico
Midwife — comadrona
Minister (politics) — ministro
Minister (church) — pastor
Model — modelo (no separate feminine form)
Musician — músico
Nurse — enfermero
Optometrist — optómetra
Painter — pintor
Pharmacist — farmacéutico
Pilot — piloto (separate feminine form rarely used)
Poet — poeta
President — presidente/presidenta
Professor — profesor, catedrático
Psychologist — sicológico
Rabbi — rabino
Sailor — marinero
Salesman/saleswoman— dependiente, vendedor
Scientist — científico
Secretary — secretario
Servant — criado
Social worker — asistente social
Soldier — soldado
Student — estudiante
Surgeon — cirujano
Teacher — maestro, profesor
Therapist — terapeuta
Veterinarian — veterinario
Waiter — camarero, mesero
Welder — soldador
Writer — escritor