Skip to Content

French Jobs (Professions) Vocabulary

This page explores French jobs and professions vocabulary. There are two words for profession in French: un métier and une profession. Whenever possible we have listed out the masculine and feminine forms of the job. There is only a masculine form for many professions.

French jobs vocabulary: List of 80+ words.

French jobs and professions vocabulary

How to ask somebody their profession in French

To ask somebody their profession, say, “Quel est votre méter?” or “Quelle est votre profession?”.

When answering this question, treat the profession like an adjective. For example, to say I’m a dentist, say: “Je suis dentiste”.

Do not use the indefinite article un or une. Use the indefinite article if you want to quality the sentence with an adjective. For example, “Je suis un bon dentist” (I’m a good dentist).

Arts & Entertainment

In French there are two words for actor: un acteur/une actrice, as well as un comedien and une comédienne.

These words can be used synonymously. The word comedian (as in stand-up) in English translates to un(e) humoriste or un(e) comique in French.

The word for photographer can also cause some confusion. The actual person is un(e) photographe, which is almost the same as the actual picture or photograph in English!

Je suis artist. I am an artist.
  • Actor acteur / actrice
  • Architect architecte / architecte
  • Comedian comédien / comédienne
  • Composer compositeur / compositrice
  • Dancer danseur / danseuse
  • Designer, draughtsman dessinateur / dessinatrice
  • Film producer producteur / productrice
  • Painter, artist peintre / peintre
  • Photographer photographe / photographe
  • Playwright dramaturge / dramaturge
  • Singer chanteur / chanteuse
  • TV anchor présentateur / présentatrice

Business & Offices

There are many words describing manager, director and higher-ups in general. One word not included in the list below is un(e) responsable.

While this looks like the English adjective responsible, it translates to head, supervisor and manager in French.

The words for personal assistant are un(e) assistant(e) de direction and secrétaire de direction. The word direction here means management.

Je suis agent de change. I'm a stockborker.
  • Businessman un homme d’affaires
  • Businesswoman une femme d’affaires
  • Accountant comptable / comptable
  • Receptionist réceptionniste / réceptionniste
  • Salesperson vendeur / vendeuse
  • Secretary secrétaire / secrétaire
  • Staff member employé / employée
  • Stockbroker agent de change / agente de change
  • Manager directeur / directrice
  • Manager gérant / gérante
  • Merchant marchand / marchande
  • Trainee stagiaire / stagiaire

Construction & Trades

Knowing the vocabulary for jobs in the trades is very important if you live in France and need to find a repairman.

According to Wordreference.com, the word for handyman is un homme à tout faire, which translates to a man who does everything.

Another word for handyman is bricoleur, which comes from the verb bricoler. Bricoler means to tinker.

Je suis électricien. I'm an electrician.
  • Appliance repair man dépanneur
  • Carpenter charpentier / charpentière
  • Electrician électricien / électricienne
  • Engineer ingénieur / ingénieure
  • Handyman homme à tout faire
  • Mason maçon
  • Mechanic mécanicien / mécanicienne
  • Painter peintre en bâtiment
  • Plumber plombier

Education & Publications

There are many words for teacher and this can cause confusion. At the elementary school level, the word for teacher is un instituteur, une institutrice.

Another word that is used at the elementary school level is un maître, une maîtresse. At the junior high school and high school level the word is un(e) enseignant(e).

The word un professeur can be used for both high school and university level teachers and professors. The slang word for un professeur (only exists in the masculine form) is un(e) prof.

Je suis écrivaine. I'm a writer.
  • Editor rédacteur / rédactrice
  • Illustrator illustrateur / illustratrice
  • Interpreter interprète / interprète
  • Journalist, reporter journaliste / journaliste
  • Novelist romancie / romancière
  • Student étudiant / étudiante
  • Teacher professeur, instituteur, enseignant / professeur, institutrice, enseignante
  • Writer écrivain(e) / auteur

Food & Restaurants

In modern language the word for waiter is ‘un serveur’. Many people like to use the word un garçon, but this term has become quite dated.

The word for waitress is simply une serveuse. In the restaurant setting the French differentiate between somebody who just physically prepares food and a grand master of high-level cooking.

A lower-level cook is un cuisinier (une cuisinière) and a higher-level chef is un/une chef.

Je suis chef. I'm a chef.
  • Baker boulanger / boulangère
  • Butcher boucher / bouchère
  • Brewer brasseur / brasseuse
  • Chef chef / chef
  • Cook cuisinier / cuisinière
  • Farmer agriculteur / agricultrice
  • Pastry chef pâtissier / pâtissière
  • Pork butcher charcutier / charcutière
  • Waiter, waitress serveur / serveuse

Government & Town Services

In politics, it is seen as impolite to refer to a politician as un(e) politique. It is more polite to say, un homme politique or une femme politique.

It is noteworthy that the word for soldier only exists in the masculine form: un soldat. There is no feminine form.

Je suis soldat. I'm a soldier.
  • Civil servant fonctionnaire / fonctionnaire
  • Diplomat diplomate / diplomate
  • Fireman pompier
  • Judge juge
  • Police officer policier, agent de police policière
  • Politician homme / femme politique
  • Prosecutor procureur
  • Soldier soldat
  • Mail carrier facteur / factrice

Homes & Real Estate

There are several words for maid with varying levels of politeness. A maid in a house is une femme de ménage and a maid in a hotel is une femme de chambre.

A maid in a house can also be called une domestique. The term, une bonne also means housemaid but is outdated and most likely considered impolite.

  • Gardener jardinier / jardinière
  • Maid femme de chambre
  • Real-estate agent agent immobilier / agente immobilier

Medical

In French, the words un docteur and un médecin can be used interchangeably for doctor. Interestingly, there is no feminine for for either of these terms.

For the words psychiatre and psychologue below, both the -p and -s must be pronounced French, just as the -s and -t must be pronounced in the English word ‘stop’.

Je suis médecin. I'm a doctor.
  • Dentist dentiste
  • Doctor médecin / médecin
  • Nurse infirmier / infirmière
  • Optician opticien / opticienne
  • Pharmacist pharmacien / pharmacienne
  • Nutritionist nutritionniste
  • Psychiatrist psychiatre
  • Psychologist psychologue
  • Veterinarian vétérinaire

Retail

In French the word for sales clerk (un vendeur, une vendeuse) can also translate to sales man or saleswoman. Note that the two terms for bagger listed below only are used in Canada and not in France.

  • Bagger ensacheur, ensacheuse, aide de caisse
  • Cashier cassier / cassière
  • Sales clerk vendeur / venduse
  • Stock boy magasinier

Religion

Maybe the French language will one day become more advanced and more open, but for now the following terms for religious leaders only exist in the masculine forms.

  • Bishop evêque
  • Monk moine
  • Nun religieuse, sœur
  • Reverend révérend
  • Priest prêtre
  • Rabbi rabbin

Science & Exploration

Almost all science-related words are the same in English and French. Hence, almost all of the terms below are the same in both languages. The word or scientist is un(e) scientifique.

Je suis scientifique. I'm a scientist.
  • Astronaut astronaute
  • Chemist chimiste
  • Computer engineer informaticien / informaticienne
  • Information specialist documentaliste
  • Physicist physicien / physicienne
  • Researcher chercheur, chercheuse
  • Scientist scientifique

Services

The French word hairdresser is un coiffeur or une coiffeuse. The word coffeur can also mean barber. In French, un barbier is somebody who only trims beards. An, ouvrier is a general term for a manual laborer or somebody who works with their hands.

  • Beautician esthéticienne
  • Hairdresser coiffeur / coiffeuse
  • House cleaner homme de ménage / femme de ménage
  • Janitor gardien / gardienne
  • Laborer, worker ouvrier / /ouvrière
  • Lawyer avocat / avocate
  • Surveyor géomètre-expert

Sports

  • Coach entraîneur
  • Lifeguard maître-nageur, surveillant de baignade / surveillante de baignade
  • Physical therapist kinésithérapeute
  • Professional athlete athlète professionnel / athlète professionnelle
  • Referee arbitre

Transportation

  • Bus driver conducteur d’autobus / conductrice d’autobus
  • Engineer (train) conducteur, conductrice
  • Flight attendant steward / hôtesse de l’air
  • Pilot pilote
  • Taxi driver chauffeur de taxi

Let’s review French jobs vocabulary:

Download PDF Lesson

More French lessons by David Issokson

More vocabulary lists:

More resources:

See all French vocabulary lists

Sharing is caring!

David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on FrenchLearner, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

See all posts by