Language Guide
Gender
Professions in Spanish

Professions in Spanish

In general, Spanish profession nouns change according to the gender of the person they refer to. Let's learn the rules for forming profession nouns and, of course, the exceptions to these rules.

Masculine FormFeminine FormEnglish
el panadero
 
la panadera
 
baker

Nouns with O/A Forms

Many profession nouns have masculine forms that end in o. These forms can be made feminine by changing the o to an a. Here is a list of very common examples of this type of profession noun.

SpanishEnglishSpanishEnglish
el médico
 
doctor
el ingeniero
 
engineer
el cirujano
 
surgeon
el maestro
 
teacher
el arquitecto
 
architect
el arqueólogo
 
archaeologist
el abogado
 
lawyer
el peluquero
 
stylist
el biólogo
 
biologist
el carnicero
 
butcher
el carpintero
 
carpenter
el payaso
 
clown
el farmacéutico
 
pharmacologist
el químico
 
chemist
el bombero
 
fireman
el jardinero
 
gardener
el geólogo
 
geologist
el ginecólogo
 
gynecologist
el secretario
 
secretary
el joyero
 
jeweler
el bibliotecario
 
librarian
el cartero
 
mailperson
el mecánico
 
mechanic
el ministro
 
minister
el músico
 
musician
el enfermero
 
nurse
el fotógrafo
 
photographer
el político
 
politician
el psicólogo
 
psychologist
el científico
 
scientist
el camarero
 
waiter
el cocinero
 
cook

Exceptions

The masculine and feminine forms of the following nouns are the same. Only the article changes to match the gender of the person.

Masculine ProfessionFeminine ProfessionEnglish
el piloto
 
la piloto
 
pilot
el modelo
 
la modelo
 
model
Sandra es médica y Dan es músico.
Sandra is a doctor and Dan is a musician.
 
Jake es atleta y Maureen es poeta.
Jake is an athlete and Maureen is a poet.
 

Nouns that End in a Consonant

There are also many profession nouns with masculine forms that end in a consonant. These forms can be made feminine by adding an a to the end of the masculine form. Here is a list of very common examples of these profession nouns.

SpanishEnglishSpanishEnglish
el profesor
 
teacher
el bailarín
 
dancer
el administrador
 
administrator
el embajador
 
ambassador
el director
 
director
el entrenador
 
trainer
el programador
 
programmer
el redactor
 
editor
el agricultor
 
farmer
el pescador
 
fisher
el investigator
 
investigator
el capitán
 
captain
el pastor
 
pastor
el vendedor
 
salesperson
el traductor
 
translator
el escritor
 
writer

Nouns that Don't Change

There are also many profession nouns that always have the same form.

  • If a noun ends in -ista, -ia, or e, only the article changes to match the gender of the person.
  • There are also some nouns that always end in a, regardless of whether they are masculine or feminine. Most of these end in -ta.
Masculine FormFeminine FormEnglish
el dentista
 
la dentista
 
dentist
el policía
 
la policía
 
police officer

Here is a list of common professions that follow this rule.

el contable
 
accountant
el poeta
 
poet
el atleta
 
athlete
el guardia
 
guard
el psiquiatra
 
psychiatrist
el terapeuta
 
therapist
el ayudante
 
assistant
el presidente
 
president
el detective
 
detective
el asistente de vuelo
 
flight attendant
el agente
 
agent
el intérprete
 
interpreter
el cantante
 
singer
el asistente social
 
social worker
el estudiante
 
student
el artista
 
artist
el esteticista
 
beautician
el oficinista
 
office worker
el electricista
 
electrician
el florista
 
florist
el periodista
 
journalist
el psicoanalista
 
psychoanalist
el recepcionista
 
receptionist
el taxista
 
taxi driver

Many nouns that historically only had one form for the masculine and feminine are changing as women take on roles previously only filled by males. For example, it is now fairly common to see the word presidenta  used to refer to female presidents.

Exceptions

Not all nouns that end in -ista, -ia, or e follow the above rule. The following masculine nouns have a very different feminine form:

Masculine FormFeminine FormEnglish
el dependiente
 
la dependienta
 
sales clerk
el duque
 
la duquesa
 
duke / duchess
el alcalde
 
la alcaldesa
 
mayor

Remember, the rules above are more like generalizations for groups of nouns. There are many exceptions to these rules, but the majority of profession nouns you come across will follow them.

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