Essential Arabic Professions, Careers & Job Names

Nora Nasr


Nora Nasr

Essential Arabic Professions, Careers & Job Names

Today we’re going to be looking at the names of professions - مهن (mihen) - and jobs - وظائف (wazaif).

Maybe you're embarking on a trip to the Middle East or collaborating with Arab partners in business ventures. Or maybe you’re simply working on improving your Arabic. Whatever the scenario, the art of conversing in Arabic (اللغة العربية) and embracing its cultural subtleties can be a decisive game-changer.

Learning these job terms is highly important, as you'll encounter them a lot.

Let’s jump right into it and learn some new words.

How to say profession or job in Arabic

In Arabic, the term "profession" or "career" is مهنة (mihna). The word مهنة (mihna) is deeply rooted in the concept of effort and labor, as it embodies the respect and importance that Arabic culture assigns to the notion of work.

When someone shares their مهنة (mihna), they’re expressing more than their occupation. They’re unveiling a part of their identity, their life's dedication, and their role within the societal fabric. This is because in Arab culture, a profession isn't merely a way to earn a living, but also an essential fragment of one's persona and standing in society.

The word for "job" is وظيفة.

Medical professions in Arabic

First up on our list we have the health professions.

Let’s start with doctors. At the forefront of this health brigade, we have our heroes clad in white - the طبيب (Tabeeb) and طبيبة (Tabeeba), known to us commonly as male and female doctors, respectively.

Next in line, and of no lesser significance, are the ممرض (mumarred) and ممرضة (mumarreda), our nurses. Tirelessly working round the clock, nurses are the unsung heroes who ensure that the wheels of patient care keep turning without a hitch!

Here is an Interesting fact: The concept of nursing in the Arab world dates back to the era of the Islamic Golden Age (8th-14th centuries) when hospitals started to appear in large Islamic cities. The "bimaristan", as hospitals were known then (and are still referred to in Persian), had wards assigned to different diseases, and there were even rudimentary forms of health insurance, and it was in this environment that nursing began to develop as a profession, with many nurses being well-educated and playing a crucial role in patient care!

Pretty cool, no?

Next up in the health profession, we have our beloved pharmacists!

The word for pharmacist in the Arabic language is صيدلاني (saydalani) and for females صيدلانية (saydalaneya).

Did you know: The world's first known apothecary (a historical term for a medical professional who formulates and dispenses medication, now known as a pharmacist) was actually in the Arab world?

In the city of Baghdad during the Islamic Golden Age, the practice of pharmacy, as we know it today, began to take shape. Pharmacists were respected scholars of natural sciences and played a significant role in public health!

Another important profession in health care is that of the psychologist/psychiatrist.

Our mental well-being is guarded by our دكتور نفسي (doctor nafsi), the psychologists, or psychiatrists, and they are the ones who ensure our minds stay as fit as our bodies.

Then, of course, we have the custodians of our dazzling smiles - the طبيب أسنان (tabeeb asnan) and طبيبة أسنان (tabeeba asnan), better known to us as dentists. They are our first line of defense against the sweet but treacherous attacks of sugar, ensuring we don't end up playing "tooth or dare"!

Now, let's meet our معالج طبيعي (mu'alej tabii) and معالجة طبيعية (mu'alejat tabiiya), the physical therapists. Physical therapists ensure our bodies function optimally, not letting our limbs go on an unexpected vacation!

Last but not least, let's give a nod to our فني مختبر (fanni makhtabar) and فنية مختبر (fanniyat makhtabar), the laboratory technicians, who play the crucial role of unveiling the secrets our blood and tissues hold, ensuring nothing stays hidden from us.

Arabs hold the health professions in very high regard. Each of these health professionals contributes to the fabric of Arab society, ensuring its physical and mental well-being. The high regard for these professions is ingrained in Arab culture, where the act of helping others and serving the community is seen as a noble pursuit. As such, health professionals are celebrated for their dedication to preserving and enhancing life, making their roles indispensable in the eyes of the Arab people!

Education and academic roles

Time to discuss the educational professions.

As we walk through the corridors of education, we encounter the مدرس (mudarris) and مدرسة (mudarrisa), more familiar to us as male and female teachers. These dedicated individuals serve as the catalysts for nurturing curiosity and dispensing knowledge.

Next up and further along our academic journey, we are graced by the presence of أستاذ (ustaz) and أستاذة (ustaza), our esteemed professors. Professors are the torchbearers of deep understanding and scholarly wisdom, pushing the boundaries of our intellectual horizons!

Engineering and technical professions

Now let’s go over the technical professions.

Engineers, the brilliant minds behind the design of everything from your mobile phone to the bridges you cross, are referred to as المهندس (Almuhands) for males and المهندسة (Almuhandsa) for females in Arabic.

In the technical world, we also have فني (fanni) for males and فنية (fanniya) for females, which translates to "technician" in English.

Culinary professions

In Arabic culinary arts, the roles of طباخ (tabbakh, male chef) and طباخة (tabbakha, female chef) are pivotal.

Arabs love to cook! Their passion for cooking and their deep respect for education often intersect in interesting ways.

For instance, the art of cooking is passed down from generation to generation, much like the knowledge in a classroom, and this generational transfer of knowledge, similar to the teaching profession, is highly valued in the Arab world.

For instance, if you've ever wanted to navigate an Arabic bakery with ease, our dedicated article on words and phrases for the bakery provides a plethora of words and phrases to use.

And if the realm of the butcher is where your interest lies, we have curated just the article for you, complete with the necessary words/phrases for the butcher to help you sound just like a Native!

Law enforcement

Next up we have the guardians of the law.

In Arabic society, two roles stand prominently for maintaining law and order: the الشرطي (Al shorti), the male officer, and الشرطية (Al shortiya), the female officer.

Both الشرطي (Al shorti) and الشرطية (Al shortiya) play crucial roles in establishing and sustaining justice. They stand as steadfast pillars upholding societal equilibrium and serve as vigilant guardians, ensuring peace thrives in our communities. Not just in the Arab world of course, but everywhere!

However, maintaining law and order isn't just about enforcement; it's also about interpretation and defense.

That's where محامي (mohami), the male lawyer, and محامية (mohamiya), the female lawyer, who are the custodians of law, meticulously dissecting its many layers, and the champions of justice, tirelessly defending the rights of their client!

Artistic and creative professions

Want to learn the names of creative professions?

Don’t worry we got you.

Artists, the ones adding vibrant colors to our lives, are فنان (fannan) for males and فنانة (fannana) for females.

The ones scripting captivating stories for the silver screen, screenwriters, are كاتب السيناريو (kaatib alseenaryo) for males and كاتبة السيناريو (kaatiba alseenaryo) for females!

Music industry roles

Now let’s discuss music artists.

Musicians, the creators of mesmerizing melodies that capture our hearts, are called موسيقي (musiqi) for males and موسيقية (musiqiya) for females.

Those virtuosos spinning records to get us on the dance floor, DJs, are referred to as دي جي (deejay) in Arabic.

Literary professions

Ready to learn the terms of the literary professions?

In Arabic, a "writer" is كاتب (kaatib) for males and كاتبة (kaatiba) for females.

The people bringing us our daily news, the journalists, are صحفي (sahafi) for a male and صحفية (sahafiya) for a female.

Photography and Film

Let’s go behind the lens.

The ones capturing timeless moments through their lenses, photographers, are مصور (musawir) for males and مصورة (musawira) for females.

Those masters orchestrating the magic of cinema, directors, are مخرج (mukhrig) for males and مخرجة (mukhriga) for females.

Computing and IT

In the ever-evolving digital world, we have مبرمج (mubarmij) for males and مبرمجة (mubarmija) for females, translating to "programmer" in English.

The ones ensuring our digital systems run smoothly, network engineers, are مهندس شبكات (muhands shabakat) for males and مهندسة شبكات (muhandsa shabakat) for females.

Commerce and business

Let’s talk finance.

Those facilitating and managing our financial affairs, accountants, are محاسب (muhasib) for males and محاسبة (muhasiba) for females.

The captains of industry, CEOs, are الرئيس التنفيذي للشركة (alraees attanfidhi lilsharika) in Arabic.

Emergency services

In the eye of chaos, there stand a dedicated few who brave the odds - the heroes of rescue professions, our saviors in emergencies

The ones braving flames to save lives, firefighters, are رجل إطفاء (rajul itfa) for males and امرأة إطفاء (imraa itfa) for females.

Then we have paramedics. They’re the heroes saving lives in the toughest terrains.

In Arabic, we use مسعف (musaaf) for males and مسعفة (musaafa) for females.

Table of profession names in Arabic

We’ve reached the end of our profession list.

The next time you dive into the magnificent ocean of the Arabic language (اللغة العربية), whether in a vibrant souk in Marrakech, a charming café in Cairo, or from the cozy confines of your home through a book or a screen, experiment with these words.

You never know when you'll recount about a مدرس (mudarris) you met or the delectable cuisine a طباخ (tabbakh) conjured!

Here’s a table with a summary that includes all the translations of each profession as well as a transliteration that you can use for revision purposes!

Profession (English) Arabic (male) Transliteration (male) Arabic (female) Transliteration (female)
Doctor طبيب Tabeeb طبيبة Tabeeba
Nurse ممرض mumarred ممرضة mumarreda
Pharmacist صيدلاني saydalani صيدلانية saydalaneya
Psychologist/Psychiatrist دكتور نفسي doctor nafsi - -
Dentist طبيب أسنان tabeeb asnan طبيبة أسنان tabeeba asnan
Physical Therapist معالج طبيعي mu'alej tabii معالجة طبيعية mu'alejat tabiiya
Laboratory Technician فني مختبر fanni makhtabar فنية مختبر fanniyat makhtabar
Teacher مدرس mudarris مدرسة mudarrisa
Professor أستاذ ustaz أستاذة ustaza
Engineer المهندس Almuhands المهندسة Almuhandsa
Technician فني fanni فنية fanniya
Chef طباخ tabbakh طباخة tabbakha
Baker مخبز makbāz - -
Butcher جزار jazār - -
Police Officer الشرطي Al shorti الشرطية Al shortiya
Lawyer محامي mohami محامية mohamiya
Artist فنان fannan فنانة fannana
Screenwriter كاتب السيناريو kaatib alseenaryo كاتبة السيناريو kaatiba alseenaryo
Musician موسيقي musiqi موسيقية musiqiya
DJ دي جي deejay - -
Writer كاتب kaatib كاتبة kaatiba
Journalist صحفي sahafi صحفية sahafiya
Photographer مصور musawir مصورة musawira
Director مخرج mukhrig مخرجة mukhriga
Programmer مبرمج mubarmij مبرمجة mubarmija
Network Engineer مهندس شبكات muhands shabakat مهندسة شبكات muhandsa shabakat
Accountant محاسب muhasib محاسبة muhasiba
CEO الرئيس التنفيذي للشركة alraees attanfidhi lilsharika - -
Firefighter رجل إطفاء rajul itfa امرأة إطفاء imraa itfa
Paramedic مسعف musaaf مسعفة -

Please note that Arabic, like many languages, is gendered, hence the differentiation between male and female in the professions listed.

Some professions (like a DJ for example) don't have a distinct grammar for females and hence the same term is used.

Hopefully you've learned some new professions for today.

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