Grammar GuideLanguage BasicsProfessions 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
psychoanalyst
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.

Take a practice quiz!

Practice what you know with our quiz tool.

Quiz: Professions in Spanish

Take a practice quiz on "Professions in Spanish"
SpanishDict is the world's most popular Spanish-English dictionary, translation, and learning website.
© Curiosity Media Inc.
SOCIAL NETWORKS
APPS