Filipino Literature and Language

There are very few programs offered specifically in Filipino language and literature, but by incorporating related options, you can select from a wide range of degree programs. Continue reading to learn about your academic and career opportunities, including job and earning prospects.

Is Filipino Literature and Language for Me?

Career Overview

Very few schools in the United States offer training in the language, literature and culture of the Philippines, but those that do offer programs in Filipino literature and language, Asian studies and Philippine studies. You'll learn to speak, read and write in Tagalog, the traditional language of the Philippines, become familiar with the Filipino culture and explore its literature and film.

As a former colony, the Philippines has close cultural, political and economic ties with the United States. Thus, with an understanding of the Filipino language, literature and culture, you could pursue business, hospitality and academic opportunities in the United States and in the Philippines, such as work with travel agencies or as a tour guide.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), travel agents make flight and hotel arrangements, ensure that clients have the correct travel documents and schedule tours, while tour guides show visitors places of interest (www.bls.gov). You could also teach English in the Philippines, Tagalog in the U.S. or teach English as a second language (ESL) to Filipinos in the United States. Other opportunities include translating literary texts between languages or acting as an interpreter on behalf of businesses, the government or medical professionals.

Employment Information

In 2012, about 41,400 individuals worked as tour guides, and an additional 73,300 worked as travel agents, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). Translators and interpreters filled about 63,600 jobs, and adult literacy professionals, including ESL teachers, held about 77,400 jobs in 2012.

The BLS projects that between 2012 and 2022, the employment of travel agents will decrease by 12%, and jobs for tour guides will increase by 8%. Employment is expected to increase by 9% for adult literacy professionals and by 46% for interpreters and translators, the latter of which is much faster than the average growth for all professions.

As of May 2012, the median annual salary for travel agents was $34,600, and it was $23,940 for tour guides, according to the BLS. Interpreters and translators made a median annual salary of $45,430, and adult literacy teachers made $48,590 that year. International opportunities include marketing, business or government positions.

How Can I Work in Filipino Literature and Language?

Education

Training in the Filipino literature and language is available through certificate programs, bachelor's and master's degree programs, minors and study abroad opportunities. Through undergraduate programs, you'll develop written and oral communication skills in Tagalog and possibly Filipino, the official language. Cultural courses may familiarize you with Filipino television programs, films, literature, history, religion and socio-political issues. You may engage in a short-term immersion experience or study abroad at a location such as the University of the Philippines to become proficient in Tagalog and experience the culture firsthand. This could lead to a career as a translator, interpreter, travel agent, tour guide or teacher of English as a foreign language in the Philippines.

Through a master's degree program in Southeast Asian studies, you'll have the chance to explore much of Southeast Asia's religion, music, literature, drama and anthropology. Graduate programs in Philippine studies include courses on colonial and modern history of the Philippines, Filipino music, Filipino politics and the justice system and the Filipino American culture. This training can prepare you for a career in teaching ESL, interpretation or translation. You could also work with the Filipino community in the U.S. by acting on their behalf in situations regarding healthcare, immigration, business and academics.

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