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German Jobs: Names & Vocabulary

Instructor: Michelle Reyes

Dr. Michelle Reyes is an Assistant German Professor at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX and has a Ph.D. in German literature.

In this lesson, we will learn about a variety of names and vocabulary for German jobs. Included are cultural discussions on the differences in jobs based on gender and age as well as important vocabulary for job applications and interviews.

Germany's Job Market

Did you know that Germany has one of the top grossing economies in the world? That is quite an accomplishment, considering the country is only the size of Montana!

Germany is a big player in today's global society and a lot of it has to do with its strong economic hub. Jobs are booming in Germany and they certainly set an example of what it means to have a successful job market on the global stage.

So, what are typical German jobs? Which jobs make the most money? Are there differences in jobs between German men and women? What kind of jobs do students normally have? We are going to learn about all of this and more in today's lesson.

Translation: German Jobs
German Jobs

Typical German Jobs

Here is a list of typical German jobs. It's important to note that, when talking about German professions, men and women have different titles. Give special attention to the how female professions derive from the male professions in the following list.

German Job Pronunciation Translation
der Arzt dare AHR-tst the doctor (male)
die Ärztin dee AIR-tst-een the doctor (female)
der Krankenpfleger dare krawn-ken-FLAY-ger the nurse (male)
die Krankenpflgerin dee krawn-ken-FLAY-ger-een the nurse (female)
der Pilot dare PEE-lote the pilot (male)
die Pilotin dee PEE-lote-een the pilot (female)
der Richter dare RICK-ter the judge (male)
die Richterin dee RICK-ter-een the judge (female)
der Anwalt dare ON-vault the lawyer (male)
die Anwältin dee ON-veil-teen the lawyer (female)
der Verkäufer dare fair-KOY-fur the salesperson (male)
die Verkäuferin dee fair-KOY-fur-een the salesperson (female)
der Bauarbeiter dare BOW-ahr-bite-ehr the construction worker (male)
die Bauarbeiterin dee BOW-ahr-bite-ehr-een the construction worker (female)
der Architekt dare ahr-key-TECHT the architect (male)
die Architektin dee ahr-key-TECHT-een the architect (female)

Job Activities

Let's first look at the type of work (i.e., the activities) that these professionals do:

Activity Pronunciation Translation
helfen HELL-fin to help
arbeiten AHR-buy-ten to work
bauen bow-IN to build
verteideigen fair-TYE-dee-gen to defend
fliegen FLEA-gen to fly
zeichnen TSEY-shen to draw

Example sentences:

  • Der Arzt hilft kranken Menschen. (The male doctor helps sick people).
  • Die Anwältin verteidigt den Angeklagten. (The female lawyer defends the accused).
  • Die Architektin zeichnet ein Haus. (The female architect draws a house).

Locations

Now let's see where these people would work:

Location Pronunciation Translation
im Krankenhaus im krawn-KEN-how-s in the hospital
im Gericht im gair-IKT in the courthouse
ein Flugzeug ayn FLOOG-zoy-g an airplane
in einem Laden in EYE-nem LAH-den in a store
ein Parkhaus ayn PARK-how-s a parking garage

Example sentences:

  • Der Verkäufer arbeitet in einem Laden. (The salesman works in a store).
  • Der Pilot fliegt ein Flugzeug. (The female pilot flies an airplane).
  • Der Richter arbeitet im Gericht. (The male judge works in the courthouse).
  • Die Bauarbeiterin baut ein Parkhaus. (The female construction worker builds a parking garage).
  • Die Krankenpflegerin arbeitet im Krankenhaus. (The female nurse works in the hospital).

Student Jobs

As you can see from the lists above, there are a lot of similarities between jobs in Germany and the U.S. However, when it comes to students, this can be different. But let's start with the ones that are similar in both countries:

German Job Pronunciation Translation
kellnern KELL-nern waiting tables
Nachhilfe geben KNOCK-hill-fuh tutoring
babysitten BABY-sit-ten babysitting
im Supermarkt kassieren im ZU-pear-markt kah-SEAR-wren supermarket cashier

Example sentences:

  • Ich kellnere nach dem Studium, um Geld zu verdienen (I'm waiting tables to make some extra cash while in school).
  • Ich gebe Nachhilfe am Wochenende (I offer tutoring on the weekend).
  • Babysitten ist ein leichter Studentenjob für mich (Babysitting is an easy student job for me).
  • Ich möchte im Supermarkt kassieren (I would like to work as a cashier in the supermarket).

Now let's look at some unique student jobs in Germany that your average American college (or high school) student may not imagine doing!

Some German students work at their local airport and chase birds away from the airplanes! These students are called Vogelvertreiber (pronounced: FOH-gull-fair-try-ber, literally, 'bird chasers'); an important job, as many planes have crashed in Germany from birds flying into their engines.

Another popular student job is in the hot air balloon industry. These students, called Verfolger (pronounced: Fair-FOLL-ger, 'followers'), follow a hot air balloon with their car and, when the trip is over, they bring the travelers back to their original location.

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