Foreign Language Degree Programs and Career Video

Foreign Language Degree Programs and Career Video Transcript

Do you enjoy learning about different cultures and learning to speak foreign languages? Maybe you would like to be an English teacher to students in another country and need to earn a Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages Certificate (TESOL)? If either is true, you may want to pursue a teaching certificate or degree in Spanish, French, German, American Sign Language, Japanese or one of many other languages.


In today's increasingly global society and economy the study of foreign languages can translate into employment opportunities in a variety of fields. Students who choose to major in a foreign language will hone their skills in oral and written communication and cross-cultural understanding. In many colleges students have the option of focusing on either language and linguistics or literature and culture. There may also be program options that help students prepare for master's level programs in business, information technology or communication media.

Typical Coursework

Most foreign language degree programs are at the bachelor's level, though a few associate's degree programs are available. In general, language majors will take a mixture of courses in linguistics, literature and culture. For example, some typical courses for a Spanish major might include:

  • Spanish Language, Writing and Grammar
  • Spanish Phonetics
  • Spanish Language and Linguistics
  • Introduction to Hispanic Cultures
  • Survey of Modern Spanish Culture and Politics
  • Survey of Modern Spanish Literature

Job Prospects

Many types of businesses and organizations have need of employees trained in foreign languages. Graduates with foreign language degrees work as interpreters or translators in the travel industry, government service, medical settings, or legal settings. Large urban areas are the best places to find employment as an interpreter or translator.

Graduates with foreign language degrees may pursue additional degrees or certificates and teach their language in schools. There are also many jobs where it is an occupational advantage to speak a foreign language and understand foreign cultures, such as international business, social services, multimedia, publishing and entertainment.

Higher Learning/Graduate Studies Opportunities

Many universities offer master's level programs in foreign language. A master's degree is often required for those who work as conference interpreters or in more technical areas of language translation or for teaching. Some universities also offer doctoral level programs to prepare students for college level teaching or research. Voluntary certification programs are a good way to demonstrate proficiency as an interpreter or translator, but there are no certifications required by law.


A degree in a foreign language can lead to employment in a wide variety of fields and graduates with foreign language degrees are in increasing demand in today's global economy.


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