Are both the following sentences usual? Do they mean the same or does the first one imply a great effort? Example:

  • Él se hizo doctor.
  • Él se volvió doctor.

The answer is no. Those sentences are not usual. Professions involving a course of study will not take verbs like "hacerse" or "volverse". The usual verbs are "llegar a ser" or "recibirse/graduarse de/como":

  • Después de varios años, llegó a ser doctor / se recibió de doctor / se graduó como doctor.

Occasionaly, "convertirse" can be used. This will suggest a process, a transformation, perhaps similar to "llegar a ser":

  • Después de varios años, se convirtió en doctor.

"hacerse" can be used to indicate a secondary or auxiliary process, not dependent on education but on experience:

  • Después de un tiempo, se hizo médico de frontera.

"volverse" will only be used with adjectives or with nouns denoting a quality:

  • Con el tiempo, se volvió un médico famoso / un héroe de la medicina.
  • I found an exception! Y Dios se hizo hombre. – aparente001 Sep 23 at 0:59
  • @aparente001 "hombre" is not a profession. – Gustavson Sep 23 at 2:03
  • Correct! I'm not disagreeing with your answer. I just felt a tiny satisfaction finding something of the form Se hizo [alguien]. – aparente001 Sep 23 at 3:18
  • @Gustavson Could volverse be used to describe a situation where a person returned to being a doctor after a period of time spent doing some other job? – Traveller Sep 23 at 7:24
  • @Traveller Well, it could, but it would be very unusual to refer to a person ceasing to be a doctor and then becoming a doctor again. Being a doctor is a permanent profession, not just a job. – Gustavson Sep 23 at 9:39

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