Gaelic Language Teacher: Job Description & Requirements

Gaelic refers to the language spoken by the ancient people of Ireland, as well as those in Scotland and on the British Isle of Man. Continue reading to learn more about education requirements, job outlook and potential salaries for Gaelic language teachers.

Career Definition for Gaelic Language Teachers

Gaelic remains the oldest language still spoken in Europe. The Scots and residents of Man speak Scottish Gaelic and Manx respectively, while inhabitants of the Emerald Isle simply call it Irish, according to the Irish-American Heritage Center (www.irish-american.org).

A Gaelic language teacher instructs students in the Gaelic language and its particular dialects. As foreign language teachers, they typically employ a multi-pronged, sensory immersion approach that includes textbooks, audio, multimedia, and conversation, which facilitates quicker proficiency. Gaelic language instructors also educate their students on the origins and modern-day use of the language, as well as the culture and history of the Irish and Scottish peoples.

Education Master's degree minimum; doctoral degree in Celtic studies and related fields available
Job Duties Teach the Gaelic language and Irish and Scottish history and culture
Median Salary (2017)* $65,010 (all postsecondary foreign language and literature teachers)
Job Growth (2016-2026)* 12% (all postsecondary foreign language and literature teachers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a master's degree is the minimum educational requirement for obtaining a job as a postsecondary teacher at a community college (www.bls.gov). Professors at 4-year colleges and universities will most likely need a doctoral degree. While programs specific to Gaelic languages are virtually nonexistent, some schools do offer certificate, undergraduate, and graduate programs in Celtic studies that include Gaelic or Irish language courses.

Skills Required

Familiarity with Scottish and Irish culture, history, and geography, along with a knowledge of the etymology of the language, is important. A passion for the preservation of Gaelic culture and its traditions is essential. Teachers must also have excellent communication, critical thinking, and writing skills.

Career Outlook

As reported by the BLS, opportunities for postsecondary foreign language and literature teachers nationwide are projected to increase by 12% between 2016 and 2026, a faster-than-average rate when compared to all other occupations. As of May 2017, foreign language and literature teachers who taught at the postsecondary level earned median annual wages of $65,010 (www.bls.gov).

Alternate Career Options

Similar career options in this field include:

High School Teachers

High school teachers plan and teach lessons in specific fields of study, such as a foreign language, and additional duties may include supervising detention or lunch periods. A bachelor's degree in a subject-specific area and a state education license are the usual requirements for obtaining a position. The BLS reports that employment of high school teachers across the country is expected to increase by just 8% from 2016 to 2026, which is average in comparison to all other occupations. In May 2017, high school teachers (excluding career and special education teachers) across the country earned median annual wages of $59,170, as reported by the BLS (www.bls.gov).

Interpreters and Translators

Interpreters and translators convert one language to another, with interpreters specializing in sign language or spoken words and translators focusing on written texts. A bachelor's degree is typically required to find a position, and some professionals pursue on-the-job training. According to the BLS, job opportunities for interpreters and translators nationwide are projected to increase by a dramatic 18% from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average when compared with all occupations. As of May 2017, interpreters nationwide earned median annual wages of $47,190, as reported by the BLS (www.bls.gov).


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