Jobs Requiring Chinese Language Skills

Jan 17, 2020

There are a number of jobs that require a high level of Chinese language skills, especially in the educational and business worlds. Individuals who have this ability could have an advantage when being considered for these roles.

Career Options Requiring Chinese Language Skills

As more and more businesses and individuals begin thinking globally, having skills in a foreign language is becoming more and more important. There are a number of jobs that require a high level of Chinese language skills. People who are able to speak both English and Chinese fluently may have an advantage in the job market, as their language abilities could make them more valuable employees. We will discuss a few possible career options in which Chinese language skills are necessary.

Job Title Median Salary (2018)* Job Growth (2018-2028)*
Translator/Interpreter $49,930 19%
Chinese Language Professor $67,640 (for all postsecondary foreign language and literature teachers) 8% (for all postsecondary foreign language and literature teachers)
High School Teacher $60,320 4%
Lawyer $120,910 6%
Financial Manager $127,990 16%
Operations Manager $100,930 (for all general and operations managers) 7% (for all general and operations managers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information for Jobs Requiring Chinese Language Skills

Translator/Interpreter

Individuals who have a high level of Chinese language skills could find employment as a translator or an interpreter. These professionals may work in a variety of different capacities. Maybe they work as an interpreter on behalf of a company who is opening a branch in China or frequently conducts business there. They could also work from home, translating material that was originally in Chinese to English or vice versa. They may also work for the legal system to interpret legal proceedings and questions for witnesses or suspects who are not fluent in English. To conduct this type of work, it is essential that an individual's level of both Chinese and English is at complete fluency. Generally, a bachelor's degree is helpful to find employment. It can be in Chinese or most any other field of study.

Chinese Language Professor

Teaching a foreign language at the postsecondary level is an option for individuals who are highly skilled in multiple languages. At this level, you may work with beginning students who have no experience with Chinese as well as students who may have already taken years of courses in high school. You will be responsible for creating lesson plans at various levels to help students grasp Chinese grammar, vocabulary, listening comprehension, and other major language skills. To become a postsecondary professor, you will need at least a master's degree and an extremely high level of skill in the Chinese language.

High School Teacher

While not all high schools offer Chinese as a course option, some public and private schools do depending on their resources. As a high school teacher, you would likely be working with many students who are complete novices. You would create lesson plans and administer exams to track their progress throughout the year. It is possible you would work with students throughout their time in high school, so you could see how much they improve over four years. Some students may opt to take college credit exams in Chinese, in which case you would help them prepare. To become a high school language teacher, you would need to earn a bachelor's degree and complete a teacher training program. Depending on your level of fluency, it may be wise to major in Chinese while also fulfilling the requirements to become a teacher. Teachers also must pass a series of exams and be licensed in the state in which they want to teach.

Lawyer

Lawyers work on behalf of individuals, organizations, and companies by representing them and advising them on legal matters. Some lawyers may pursue international law, in which case foreign language skills may be essential. A lawyer who represents a Chinese company or an American company that is conducting business in China would likely be required to be fluent in Chinese. Other lawyers might pursue a career in immigration law, in which case being fluent in the language of the people you are representing would be extremely helpful. To become a lawyer, individuals must obtain a bachelor's degree along with a three-year law degree.

Financial Manager

A financial manager works to ensure an organization is in good financial health. To do so, they help set financial goals, make investment decisions, and develop long- and short-term financial strategies. For a company that operates in China and the United States, a bilingual financial manager would be an asset. These professionals are in charge of making decisions based on the financial market. Because markets in China and the US are different but affect each other, having a financial manager that is knowledgeable and able to communicate well about both markets in either language would be very helpful. In many cases, financial managers can get a job with a bachelor's degree. They'll also need at least five years of experience in a related business field.

Operations Manager

Many companies and corporations have multiple branches and offices across different countries. They may employ operations managers to oversee the daily operations at these different branches. Operations managers perform a diverse set of duties, including making sure projects are completed, coordinating with other top executives, and managing staff. If an American company opened a new branch in China, an operations manager that could speak Chinese would play a key role in making sure this branch was successful. Because the Chinese branch would likely employ many Chinese employees, having an operations manager that could communicate with them in their own language would be essential. To become an operations manager, a bachelor's degree along with numerous years of work experience is necessary.

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