Business English · vocabulary

Difficult Jobs to Say in English

by Jacqueline Schaalje

I want to be... (1)

No, I’m not going to discuss with you which job is the most difficult to do. Is it teacher or waste cleaner? Or maybe psychiatrist?

I want to teach you how to say these job titles correctly, and for completeness’ sake, we’ll also explain what it is.

So this is mostly a pronunciation lesson. I’ve taught many students that were academics but they didn’t know how to say psychiatrist.

(Especially medical jobs seem to cause problems.)

Differences between American and British English

Please note that Americans and Brits can get quite pedantic about how to spell and say these jobs correctly. There are some differences between how Americans and British people pronounce and spell them.

The Syllable Method

If you still have trouble saying these words, also after you’ve read the instruction and watched the video (see below), try breaking down the words into syllables and then say each syllable separately. For example: psychiatrist would be cut up like this: sai-kai-uh-trist. Say the syllables separately slowly, then speed up.

good job

Jobs – from easier to more challenging.

Depending on your mother tongue, you might have a different order of difficulty.

Pharmacist – a person who sells medicines. Don’t be fooled by the ph; it’s pronounced with f.

Veterinarian or Vet – a doctor for animals. This word is not so hard to say when you know where the stress lies: on a.

Radiologist, also Radio Therapist – a person who reads and/or uses radioactive substances, sound waves and electromagnetic waves for diagnosis and treatment of a disease.

Urologist – a doctor specialized in the organs that you use to go to the toilet. Say the u as the word you.

Physician – a medical doctor in American English. The ps is said as s, and the y as (short) i.

Physical therapist – someone who will get a patient walking after they’ve broken their leg, or who improves a patient’s range of movement when they have some limitation or condition. The pronunciation problem here is also with the th in therapist.

Math teacher (Am.) or Maths Teacher (Br.), or in full: Mathematics teacher. The problem is saying the th. And do you  know how to say Geometry Teacher? It sounds djo-muhtry. There is also Mathematician, which is also a nice word to roll over your tongue.

Anthropologist – a scientist who studies human culture in the past and present. Again, you just need to know where the stress is in this word. It’s on the second o.

Psychologist – a therapist who is an expert in behaviour and the workings of the mind. Another word with sy. Don’t say the p!

Podiatrist – a doctor specialized in feet. You can say this in two different ways: Americans tend to say the stress on the i. English speakers put the stress on the a.

Orthopaedic (Br.) or Orthopaedic (Am.) doctor/surgeon – a doctor specializing in the skeleton (bones, tendons, joints, etc.).

Rheumatologist – a doctor specialized in the treatment of rheumatic diseases (like arthritis). The difficulty in this word is with eu. Eu is always pronounced like the word you in English. Or as oo in Am. English.

Statistician – A professional who is specialized in statistics (number crunching). The stress falls on the second ti.

Logistician – an expert in logistics. Guess where the stress is.

Obstetrician – a doctor specialized in delivering babies. Yup, another cian-word. The stress is on tri.

Dental Hygienist – A dental professional who cleans teeth.

Neurophysiologist – a kind of Neurologist (a specialist in the workings of the brain). The eu in neuro is pronounced as the word you, or oo if you’re American.

Optometrist – a professional who measures eyesight and can prescribe lenses. Americans say this word with the stress on the second o, whereas British speakers often put the stress on e.

Gynaecologist (Br.) or Gynecologist (Am.) – a doctor treating conditions of women. The g is pronounced dzj.

Paediatrician (Br.) or Pediatrician (Am.) – Doctor treating children. The stress is on pe which is pronounced pee.

Prosthodontist – a dentist who is specialized in repairing people’s smiles, replacing missing teeth, etc.

Chiropractor – a therapist specialized in the nervous system. The ch is pronounced as k. The i is said as ai.

Mechanical Engineer – a professional who designs or fixes tools and machines. I don’t know how many students I’ve corrected on their pronunciation of this job, even if they were one themselves. The ch is pronounced as k. And engineer is with dzj for the g.

Anaesthetist or Anesthetist or Anestesiologist (US) – a doctor who is qualified to anesthetize a patient (put him in a sleep). Some people, especially Brits, pronounce this [aneestatist] with an ee sound.

Dietitian or dietician – a person who is an expert on nutrition (healthy food).

Psychiatrist – a doctor for your mind. The ps is pronounced s and the ch is said as k.

Epidemiologist – a specialist in the spreading of diseases.

Aesthetician (Br.) or esthetician (Am.), also called beauty therapist – a professional who is an expert in skin care. Pronounced with the first syllable as e or as ee (Br.).

Phlebotomist – a medical professional who draws blood. The ph is said as f.

And the most difficult job to say is:

nightmareBeware! Student nightmare!

Ophthalmologist or eye doctor. This must be one of the most difficult words to pronounce in the English language. The difficulty is with saying the th after oph. You can pronounce oph as op or as of (ph in English is usually pronounced as f, like in telephone). By the way, if this really is a problem for you, like it is for some English speakers too, no one will notice if you said offalmologist. Just with an f.

There are probably many more jobs that are hard to pronounce, but this is a long list already! In short, I suggest that we should just banish all medical professions, and we should all be fine.


Now you can watch this video with some of the more difficult jobs that I demonstrate for you how to say.

And you can do this quiz about the jobs.

That would be like a spelling and comprehension exercise. Fun!


Choose the correct answer.

You can do this quiz online when you click here.

1 A children’s doctor is a paediatrician or a pediatrician. Which is the correct spelling?

They’re both okay.



2 Which is British spelling and which is American spelling?

Gynaecologist is British spelling and gynecologist is American spelling.

Gynaecologist is American spelling and gynecologist is British spelling.

Gynaecologist and gynecologist are both American spelling.

3 What’s the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist?

An optometrist measures your eyes and an ophthalmologist doesn’t do that.

An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor and an optometrist doesn’t have to be one.

An optometrist can see well, and an ophthalmologist is nearly blind.

4 What’s another word for esthetician?

A cosmologist.

A makeup artist.

A beauty therapist.

5 What does a rheumatologist do?

They treat the nervous system.

They treat rheumatoid diseases.

They put your vertebrae in order when your neck feels stiff.

6 Is a prosthodontist a dentist?

Yes, you don’t want to buy a bridge or crown from someone who isn’t a dentist.

They can also be a dental technician.

No, they only need to know about dental prostheses.

7 What does an obstetrician do?

They treat typical women’s conditions such as female infertility.

They assist pregnant women.

They deliver babies.

8 Which of these two doctors treats the feet?

A podiatrist.

An orthopaedic doctor.

A paediatric therapist.

9 Which medical doctor can sedate patients so they don’t feel pain during an operation?

An esthetician.

An anestesiologist.

A phlebotomist.

10 If I have a medical condition that I need to control by consuming less salt and less cholesterol, what professional do I need to see?

An anthropologist.

A psychiatrist.

A dietitian.

Want to do more quizzes about jobs?

Have a look here.

The Best Way to Find a Job Reading Comprehension

Do You Like Your Job? Talking about Work and Jobs

Useful Phrases to Talk about Your Job

Jobs with –er or –or

Jobs Vocabulary

Business Organization


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