Best Jobs for Spanish Majors
Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue with a Spanish degree. Read on to learn more about career options along with information on what you might study in an undergraduate program and what you could earn in various jobs.
What Can a Spanish Major Do With Their Degree?
A Spanish major will prepare you for several types of jobs that require extensive knowledge of the Spanish language, including those of teachers, translators or investigators. High schools across the country hire foreign language teachers, and that career could be a good fit if you're interested in education. Court houses, federal institutions, and many corporations need translators and interpreters. If you're interested in law enforcement, becoming a bilingual detective or criminal investigator could be an option. While this career doesn't necessarily require a bachelor's degree, it could be looked upon favorably by a police force.
The following chart gives more information about several popular careers.
|High School Teacher||Interpreters and Translators||Detectives and Criminal Investigators|
|Degree Required||Bachelor's||Bachelor's||High school and sometimes college coursework|
|Training Required||Teacher prep classes and student teaching||Job-specific (e.g., court, medical)||Police academy and, often, work as a police officer|
|Key Skills||Planning lessons, teaching Spanish or ESL (English as a Second Language), assessing students' abilities||Fluency in English and Spanish, accuracy, ability to convey the tone of the words translated||Interviewing, collecting evidence, participating in raids|
|Licensure/Certification||Required for public school teachers||Required for court interpreters||Not applicable|
|Job Growth (2018-28)||4% (as fast as average)*||19% (much faster than average)*||5% (as fast as average)*|
|Median Salary (May 2018)||$60,320*||$49,930*||$81,920*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What Jobs Are Possible with a Spanish Major?
With a degree in Spanish, you can work in a middle or high school teaching Spanish to native English speakers. You can also work in a bilingual classroom; your expertise in Spanish allows you to help native Spanish speakers learn and adjust to a predominantly English-speaking environment.
Your ability to work with native Spanish speakers is also of value outside the world of education. You can work for a domestic business that either employs Spanish speakers or has a Spanish-speaking clientele. The public sector also offers jobs you can pursue, including law enforcement and social services. Many communities need individuals trained in Spanish to effectively communicate with their diverse populations.
In addition, you may work in an industry that works internationally in Spanish-speaking countries, including importing and exporting, international banking or publishing translated books. These businesses in the global marketplace require translators, interpreters and cultural experts. Internationally-focused government positions are also an option; you may find a job as an immigration officer, foreign diplomat or military translator. Some positions may require a master's degree in Spanish or a related field.
What Could I Earn?
Your salary can vary significantly based upon your job. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), secondary school teachers, which include teachers of Spanish and other subjects, earned a median annual wage of $60,320 in May 2018. Interpreters and translators, including those in private business, government and non-profit roles, had a median annual wage of $49,930. Detective and criminal investigators, which include immigration officers and other law enforcement personnel at the local, state and federal levels, had a median annual wage of $81,920 at that time.
What Should I Study?
The two most common Spanish majors are the general Spanish major and the Spanish education major. If you pursue a Spanish major, your studies will include study of the spoken and written Spanish language, as well as Spanish history, culture and literature. As you progress in your studies, you'll develop your Spanish accent and learn about unique spelling and grammatical facets of the language. Many Spanish programs include options to study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country, where you can master your speaking skills through immersion.
Spanish education programs typically include study of many of the same topics, including language and culture; additionally, these programs incorporate training in educational methods that directly prepare you for a career in teaching. You may complete student teaching while earning your degree and be prepared to earn your teaching license shortly after graduation.
What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?
You might consider working as a social worker, which entails assessing the needs of families and giving advice or contacting organizations that can help. A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement for career entry, with a master's degree required for clinical positions. Technical writing could be another potential career avenue. These professionals work with experts in different fields to simplify complicated written materials, and a bilingual background would be advantageous. You might also consider becoming a probation officer or correctional treatment specialist. In the role of a probation officer, you'd monitor probationers and ensure they don't get sent to prison. Correctional treatment specialist normally meet with probationers and map out rehabilitation plans or help with employment training.