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What Kind of Career Can I Have With a Degree in Spanish?

There is no question that in terms of earning potential and career opportunity in the future, earning a college degree is a smart decision for most individuals. However, trying to choose a specific major can be a challenge, as there are so many possibilities out there.

Ultimately, the best major will be one that interests you, leads to careers that appeal to you and fits within your idea of the future. If you already have a strong base in a foreign language, you might want to earn a degree in Spanish.

Find out how earning a college degree in a subject like Spanish literature or language can help you as well as what kind of careers it can lead to in the future.

Quick Facts: Liberal Arts Industry
Median Pay:   $63,575 per year | $31 per hour
Entry-Level Education:   Doctoral or professional degree
Work Experience:   None
Number of Jobs, 2014:   183,000

Liberal Arts Occupations:

  • Chemistry teachers, postsecondary$73,080
  • Environmental science teachers, postsecondary$77,470
  • English language and literature teachers, postsecondary$60,160
  • Interpreters and translators$43,590

Choosing the Right Degree

There are four major degrees that you can choose from when pursuing a Spanish college degree, and the best fit will depend on how long you want to spend studying and what your career goals might be. The first option is a two-year degree called the associate degree.

This consists of just 60 credits, and it can be a great stepping stone to entry-level careers. However, it is not sufficient for most teaching and translating jobs. For that, you might opt to have a bachelor's degree, which takes four years to complete. If you want to secure one of the highest-level careers in corresponding or teaching languages at the college level, then a master's degree could be the best fit.

The master's degree in a foreign language like Spanish takes between one and two years to complete, and it requires students to have first earned their bachelor's degrees. The terminal degree in the field is the doctorate, which can take several years to complete. This degree is ideal for those who want to translate famous novels into Spanish or research the linguistics and teaching mechanisms of the language.

Typical Courses Included in This College Major

Whether you opt to earn a degree in Spanish literature or language, and whatever level of degree you determine is the best fit, there are a few courses that you will almost certainly take.

A few of the most common courses included in the syllabus for Spanish degrees include the history of the language itself, a study of Hispanic culture and how it is reflected in speech, teaching foreign languages, advanced writing, grammar, Spanish vocabulary, conversation and Spanish history.

Working as a Spanish Teacher or Tutor

Perhaps the most common way to utilize a Spanish language degree is to become a teacher of the Spanish language. There are a number of ways to be employed in this way, and you could work for a public high school, a local community college or even a tutoring company. Some Spanish teachers work with political organizations or international businesses teaching adults, and the pay in this field can be impressive.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, post-secondary foreign language teachers, or those who are teaching beyond the high school level, can expect to earn $63,300 each year as the median salary in the field.

Working Abroad as an ESL Teacher

By learning Spanish, you might also become eligible to teach English as a second language. If that sounds backwards, the reality is that learning a second language forces you to think carefully about your native tongue, which is likely English.

Speaking both Spanish and English fluently will allow you to teach English to Spanish speakers. While you can find Spanish speakers in the United States who want to learn English, there are even more job opportunities abroad. Many ESL teachers, or English as a second language teachers, embrace the idea of working somewhere like Guatemala, Mexico or Spain.

These exotic destinations are often searching for tutors and language teachers, and it might be the perfect career for an adventurous individual in search of something new and exciting.

Working as an International Correspondent

If you have an interest in politics or international news, then studying a second language like Spanish can put you in a prime position for a career as an international correspondent. Correspondents are often hired by news agencies who want a person on location in foreign nations. Ideally, these correspondents would speak the local language fluently, which can expedite interviews or make locating a relevant news story much easier.

The average news reporter and correspondent in the United States makes a median salary of $35,870, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but that number is often substantially higher for correspondents who travel overseas and have the ability to speak more than one language. A Spanish degree, or a double major in Spanish and broadcasting, is a fantastic way to prepare for this fast-paced and fascinating career.

Working as a Spanish Interpreter or Translator

Another popular career choice for those with a Spanish degree is that of interpreter or translator. While the two positions are often confused, an interpreter tends to verbally translate one language into another, and a translator tends to translate written materials.

Obviously, however, the two jobs overlap substantially, and many individuals take on careers that involve elements of both interpreting and translating. The median salary for foreign language interpreters and translators, according to the BLS, is an impressive $45,430 each year with just a bachelor's degree.

What is especially interesting is the fact that the predicted job growth for this field is an astronomical 46 percent. There are few, if any, careers that are predicted to grow so substantially over the next decade, which makes it a great career choice to consider.

If you already speak Spanish fluently, or you have a desire to learn, then a college degree may be the best way to prepare. Along with broadening your horizons, this degree will help you prepare for a number of fascinating careers. T

Thanks to accredited online colleges, it is possible to earn your associate, bachelor's, master's or even doctorate in Spanish from the comfort of home as well as through traditional college campuses.