20 Vocabulario: las profesiones

For most occupations, change the “o” ending to “a”, or add “a” to “or” endings to refer to a female. Use the corresponding male / female article (el-la / un-una) as needed. Some “o” endings for the professions don’t change to refer to a female. Refer to the examples after the chart.

Las profesiones (occupations)

las profesiones occupations las profesiones occupations
abogado/a lawyer juez/a judge
el actor / la actriz actor mecánico/a mechanic
el / la artista artist médico/a doctor
arquitecto/a architect mesero/a waiter / waitress
autor/a author el / la periodista journalist
bombero/a fireman el / la piloto pilot
cantinero/a bartender pintor/a painter
carpintero/a carpenter plomero/a plumber
científico/a scientist el / (la mujer) policía policeman
cirujano/a surgeon el / (la mujer) politico(a) politician
contador/a accountant profesor/a professor
cocinero/a cook el / la recepcionista receptionist
el / la dentista  dentist el / la salvavidas  lifeguard
diseñador/a designer secretario/a secretary
doctor/a doctor el / la soldado  soldier
enfermero/a nurse trabajador/a de fábrica factory worker
farmacéutico/a pharmacist traductor/a translator
fotógrafo/a photographer vendedor/a salesperson
ingeniero/a engineer veterinario/a veterinarian
jardinero/a landscaper

OJO: a few observations about gender with professions:

  • Nouns ending with -ista do not change for gender: el dentista / la dentista
  • The use of the definite article “la” with “policía” and “política” changes the meaning of these words from occupations to something else:
  • “la policía” means “the police department”, or the idea of police in general. To refer to a female office, “la mujer policía” is used.
  • Similarly, “la política” means “politics”. To refer to a female politician “la mujer política” is used.

Using SER with professions

To say what one does for a living, use the verb “ser” (to be); however, the indefinite article “a / an” (un / una) is omitted in Spanish.

Ella es doctora. She’s a doctor.
Él es policía. He’s a policeman.
Yo quiero ser abogado. I want to be a lawyer.
Ana estudia para ser veterinaria. Ana is studying to be a veterinarian.

However, if you want to qualify the profession, then the indefinite article is used:

Ella es una profesora interesante. She’s an interesting professor.
Él es un juez justo. He’s a fair judge.
Yo quiero ser una actriz famosa. I want to be a famous actor (actress).

¿Cómo se dice…?:

Now you try out some sentences: use the professions vocabulary from the charts above to translate the sentences below.

Some vocabulary you might need: trabajador = hardworking; desear = desire / want; or = o

  1. Javier is a very hardworking carpenter.
  2. My niece is an accountant.
  3. The nurses are very nice.
  4. My daughters are studying to be designers.
  5. She’s an intelligent author.
  6. The boys want to be police officers or firefighters.
  7. He’s a good artist.


  1. Javier es un carpintero muy trabajador.
  2. Mi sobrina es contadora.
  3. Las enfermeras son muy simpáticas.
  4. Mis hijas estudian para ser diseñadoras.
  5. Ella es una autora inteligente.
  6. Los niños desean ser policías o bomberos.
  7. Él es un buen artista.

Grammar Details:

#1 from above: Javier es un carpintero muy trabajador.
The article “un” is used because we’ve qualified “carpintero” with “trabajador”; descriptive adjectives like “trabajador” follow the noun they describe.

#2 from above: Las enfermeras son muy simpáticas.
If the group of nurses consisted of male and females, then the sentence would change to: “Los enfermeros son muy simpáticos”.

#7 from above: Él es un buen artista.
The adjective “bueno” can also follow the noun: “Él es un artista bueno”.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

First Year Spanish 1 Copyright © 2019 by Paul Eckhardt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book