While Cambridge Dictionary defines "a practitioner" as "someone involved in a skilled job or activity", it seems to me it is hardly used outside the context of medical professions. Is that so indeed? May I refer to a community of, say, experts in data analytics as "data analytics practitioners"?

  • 2
    The Ngram indicates that there must be many uses of 'practitioner' outside of the comparatively little-used 'medical practitioner'.
    – Nigel J
    Oct 3, 2018 at 18:38
  • When you said practitioner, I immediately thought of magicians. So, yes. I would say that it's not specific to the medical profession. Oct 3, 2018 at 23:05

5 Answers 5


I once gave a talk at an academic conference on public administration. Unlike everyone else there, who were all academics who wrote about public administration but did not do it, I was at the time a 'practitioner' of public administration. When I was thanked for my talk, they said it was good to hear, for once, from a 'practitioner'.

So the word is by no means confined to medicine - and no 'strictly speaking' about it. But the word demands a context: you can't just be a practitioner; you have to have a speciality (or specialty) that you practice.


One can apparently be a practitioner of change and the composer Maurice Ravel must have been (tongue-in-cheek) a practitioner of the dark arts, according to one author. You can also be a practitioner of educational leadership, a practitioner of crime prevention, or a practitioner of low-carbon education.

CPAs (Certified Public Accountants) can be practitioners too and, in Canada, you can get a permit to be a practitioner of foreign law. You can even take a college course to become a practitioner of feminist activism.

I do think that it is most often seen used for practitioners of various healing arts, but I don't see any reason why you can't talk about data analytics practitioners.

  • 1
    There is a religious group in China (and spreading out to everywhere in the world including the West) called Falung Gong (other names are in use, too) that is using practitioners as the term for their followers (what other religions would call their believers, or their faithful or whatever). But then, they insist that they aren't a religion. Well, they are, of course. But the word practitioner is used inflationally whereever they appear. Oct 3, 2018 at 22:11

I've seen it in works of fiction applied to people who practice magic. A person practices law as well, but we don't say they are legal practitioners.


I've seen the terms "Software assurance practitioner" and "Safety assurance practitioner" used in internal documents at work to describe the class of people performing those functions. It was a sample of bureaucratise rather than regular English, but "data analytics practitioner" would have been perfectly natural in that context.


From my specific experience, the term "Childcare practitioner" is common.

  • 2
    @Chappo Surely it does answer the question, at least in part. "Childcare" is a discipline other than medical science, and the term "practitioner" is used there. Oct 4, 2018 at 6:43
  • @PaulJohnson Yes you're right, that format response was the wrong one to choose. SE's software identified this answer for closure as as "low-quality because of its length and content." The problem with EthJ's answer is that it fails to meet our site's requirement that an answer be authoritative, detailed, and explain why it is correct. Oct 4, 2018 at 11:04
  • EthJ, please edit your answer to provide some evidential support for your answer, to differentiate it from personal opinion. In what country and jurisdiction is the term used? If you're unable to link to an example, at least explain what experience you have that makes your answer authoritative. For further guidance, see How to Answer. I can also recommend taking the Tour. Oct 4, 2018 at 11:08
  • I've added a link to an example usage. Oct 4, 2018 at 14:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.