Careers in Language and Culture

Jan 19, 2020

This article presents information about careers in language and culture, job descriptions for each career and the education required to get and do the job.

Career Options in Language and Culture

If you love learning about different languages and cultures, there are a plethora of different jobs you could do. These occupations abound in a wide array of industries and sectors, from academia to healthcare, the military to courtrooms. Below are some great career options in language and culture.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Foreign Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary $67,640 8%
Speech-Language Pathologists $77,510 27%
Culture Trainer $60,870 (for all training and development specialists) 9% (for all training and development specialists)
Interpreters and Translators $49,930 19%
Area, Ethnic & Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary $74,440 7%

*Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Language and Culture Career Information

Foreign Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary

Foreign language and literature teachers develop curriculum and course content, teach language and literature courses in a language other than English and facilitate class discussions. They also evaluate student progress, grade tests and papers and keep records of attendance, grades and class participation. Most postsecondary jobs in this field require at least a master's degree -- if not a doctorate -- in the field you wish to teach, along with extensive knowledge of a language and its literature. This is a great career for those who are interested in language, literature and culture, as you will use your linguistic and cultural knowledge and skills every day and share your passion with students.

Speech-Language Pathologists

Speech-language pathologists, also known as speech therapists, work in schools and healthcare facilities diagnosing, preventing and treating swallowing and communication disorders in adults and children. They may work with patients who have autism, Parkinson's disease or developmental delays, and with people who have suffered a stroke, brain injury or hearing loss. Speech-language pathologists may work with individuals from many different cultures, so cultural awareness and competence is vital. To work in this field, you need a master's degree in the field; many states also require that you are licensed. If you love working with language and helping people this is a great career to consider.

Culture Trainers

Culture trainers teach clients about the communication styles, beliefs, values, customs, religions, social etiquette, history, and geography needed to function in a foreign country; most also teach languages. They train and prepare workers and families who are traveling or moving to a foreign country. Governments, the military, private companies, individuals and groups of travelers employ these professionals. A bachelor's degree, foreign language skills and experience living, studying or working abroad are required to become a culture trainer.

Interpreters and Translators

Interpreters translate from one spoken language to another, in a variety of settings: court rooms, classrooms, medical offices and clinics, government agencies, and many more. Translators translate written texts from one language to another. To become a translator or interpreter, a bachelor's degree in a foreign language, literature or translation studies is helpful, but the most important skill is native or near-native proficiency in English and at least one foreign language. This is a fantastic career for people who love language and culture; in it you can use and refine your foreign language and intercultural communications skills.

Area, Ethnic & Cultural Studies Teachers, Postsecondary

Another great career option for people who love learning about different languages and cultures is to become an area, ethnic and cultural studies teacher. These educators teach courses on different geographic regions, such as Latin American Studies or Asian Studies; ethnic groups, such as African and African-American Studies; and cultures, e.g. American Indian Studies or Irish Studies. They develop curriculum and course content, prepare teaching materials and lessons, lead in-class discussions, grade student work and keep records of their progress. To become an area, ethnic or cultural studies teacher at the postsecondary level, you need at least a master's degree in the field; many advanced positions require a PhD.

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