Earning a language major may be a choice made out of passion, but once you hold the degree in your hand, you can face a conundrum. Obviously, you didn’t choose to pursue this degree without knowing the career you want to pursue, but did you know that there are a number of jobs out there that pay big bucks to language majors? Leading law firms, international organizations like the UN, and a host of other companies hire linguists and foreign language majors for various substantial roles.
In 2018, roughly 17,000 people earned bachelor’s degrees in foreign languages or other related subjects. At the same time, more than 3,000 got graduate degrees, while 1,200 people in the US earned their doctoral degrees in similar subjects. The median salary for a language major in the US can range between $50,000 and $54,000, which, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is higher than the median wage across all professions in the country. The current American workforce has nearly 800,000 language majors in the US, and 22% work in learning institutions. But what if you are looking for a role that pays more? Here are a few high-income career choices for language majors:
With a language major, people can easily find a job as a tutor and help students improve their knowledge of specific subjects. Tutors are always in demand, and once you are done with your online master’s in ESL, you can easily get to work, that too almost instantly. The great thing about becoming a tutor is that it allows you to apply not just the knowledge, but also several skills you learn during your academic journey.
Your communication skills and a sense of empathy that develops during the course of study can come in handy when helping other students.
The next profession on the list is an obvious addition. Being a degree holder in a particular language makes you a master of it. This means that you can work as a translator in various capacities. Most commonly, if your major is in a different language than your native tongue, you can find work translating text, verbal material, and a host of other content between the two languages. From freelance to diplomatic delegations, translators are needed on multiple levels, and their salaries can thus vary accordingly.
3. Creative writer
Although it may sound cliché, the work of a creative or copywriter is to develop promotional materials to use in marketing campaigns. This includes not just text and scripts for videos or images but also social media posts, blogs, articles, web copy, and product descriptions, to name a few. With the world being vastly interconnected, marketing materials are designed to be used across different markets and demographics.
Naturally, then, as a language major, you can fit right in because you don’t just have the ability to communicate in different languages, but you also have the ability to research and write effectively. You can definitely create unique content for various international brands earning top dollars in the process.
4. Healthcare interpreter
A healthcare interpreter translates verbal or written details provided by a medical practitioner to a patient while working in the healthcare service industry. They might interpret spoken exchanges between the patient and the clinician in the patient’s native or preferred language, convert textual diagnosis notes, test results, or other instructions, or transcribe audio notes. Foreign language proficiency can help you score employment in a medical facility, private practice, or another healthcare setting to deliver these services, especially in areas with multicultural demographics.
5. Investment analyst
Although you can’t work as an investment analyst with a language degree alone, having a foreign language certification can greatly facilitate the job. Since an investment analyst is often required to present their detailed findings to clients from different locations, nationalities, and communities, their proficiency in the native language can go a long way. You can increase your competency and efficiency in the industry because of your ability to adequately speak another language. As a professional, your communication is one of the biggest assets, and even as an investment analyst, this skill can pave the way for you to excel in the field.
6. Director of corporate culture and people
An organization’s company culture, as well as the policies, objectives, and budgeting that go into its creation and improvement, are overseen by a senior-level management executive known as a director of people and culture. They may assist in creating the company’s purpose and vision statements and oversee the development and execution of HR guidelines and processes, employee engagement initiatives, finances for ongoing education and skill development, and recruiting and training procedures.
They could also deal with disagreements and improvements to recruiting diversity and eliminating prejudice. A language major can use their experience, cultural sensitivity, and communication skills to lead in this position.
7. Customs officer
A customs officer at any international airport has to deal with passengers of multiple nationalities on a daily basis. These people have different dialects and languages, which can sometimes hinder effective communication. As a language major, you can find work as a customs officer, which is also one of the higher-paying professions on this list. Besides the ability to communicate in numerous languages, you can also use the knowledge of political science, communication, and culture that is part of the program to perform more appropriately on the job.
8. Travel nurse
By far, the highest paying profession you can become a part of as a language major is a travel nurse. Of course, like other occupations listed here, you’ll need the appropriate education and training for the job too. Since a travel nurse, as the name indicates, must travel around the world or across a country, depending on the extent of their responsibilities, a language degree can help them out a lot.
Language majors can find lucrative job opportunities in various fields, including but not limited to healthcare, law enforcement, education, administration, finance, and marketing. It’s not just your language skills that come into play but a variety of other things as well, like communication, empathy, cultural understanding, etc. Together these skills make a language major quite competent to fit into a diverse range of jobs.