Online Chinese Language Degrees and Certificate Programs

Online Chinese language education options include stand-alone courses, as well as certificate and graduate programs for missionaries and teachers. Keep reading to learn more about common course topics, as well as the career options for students with Chinese language skills. Schools offering Communications degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Online Chinese Language Options

Although rare, online Chinese language education options include stand-alone courses and a limited number of certificate and degree programs. Individual courses in basic or first-year Chinese may be found at select public or private not-for-profit colleges and universities. Free, non-credit courses in beginning and intermediate Chinese are also available through the OpenCourseWare initiative at many different schools. Some government organizations, such as the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. Department of State, offer self-directed courses of standard, spoken Chinese which include audio tapes, a textbook and workbooks.

Online AvailabilityOnline options are limited, though some courses and certificates are available online, especially in basic Chinese
Online Learning Tools Textbooks, CDs and workbooks
Common CoursesChinese characters, conversational Chinese, grammar, translation, reading and writing in Chinese
Certification ProgramsIf you hold a bachelor's degree and are fluent in English and Chinese, it may be possible to obtain a teaching certification to teach Chinese as a second language
Degree Porgrams Rare at the undergrduate level; master's programs for educators may have relevant courses
Career PossibilitiesTeacher, interpreter, translator, journalist, foreign service officer
Median Salary (2018)* $49,930 (for interpreters and translators)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)* 18% (for interpreters and translators)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Online Format

You may have the opportunity to hear, speak, read and write the language by using textbooks, CDs and workbooks while enrolled in an online program. This allows you to repeat words and phrases and start writing and reading in Chinese. Most schools allow you to access course materials at your own convenience, and you may also be able to interact with your instructors and peers by way of online chat rooms, discussion threads and email.

Hybrid programs include a combination of campus-based and distance learning, and allow you to complete some of your coursework online. In a hybrid program, you may be required to attend face-to-face meetings with professors or take your exams on campus. Graduate programs related to teaching may also require that you participate in on-site teaching experiences.

Online Courses

While Chinese language programs are not commonly available in fully online formats, several schools offer single courses in beginning or intermediate Chinese online. These courses may include topics in:

  • Chinese characters
  • Conversational Chinese
  • Grammar
  • Pronunciation and intonation
  • Reading and writing in Chinese
  • Translation

Certificate Programs

Undergraduate certificate programs are short-term courses of study that can include courses in reading, writing and translating Chinese. If you hold a Bachelor of Arts degree and are fluent in both English and Mandarin Chinese, you may also find an online teacher preparation program that can help you obtain your Certificate of Eligibility to teach Chinese to students in grades kindergarten through 12th grade. Courses in these programs may include:

  • Advanced Chinese composition and conversation
  • Asian civilization and studies
  • Chinese culture and literature
  • Second language instruction
  • Teaching methodologies

Degree Programs

Currently, there are no mainstream colleges and universities in the United States that offer undergraduate Chinese language programs fully online. However, you may be able to find Master of Arts programs targeted towards educators or missionaries that allow you to take some or all of your courses through distance learning.

For example, a master's program with a specialized track for pre-kindergarten-12th grade teachers may include a study abroad option in China, as well as online electives in Buddhism and Chinese linguistics, among other topics. A program leading to a Master of Arts in Christian Studies with a Chinese language emphasis, available entirely online, can provide you with the biblical and theological background you need for a Chinese ministry. Courses associated with a teacher preparation program may cover topics in:

  • Christianity in China
  • Chinese literature
  • Contemporary China
  • East Asian geography
  • The history of the Chinese language

Career Options

Career options for those who have completed a program in Chinese language studies include teaching Chinese in the United States or English in China. Proficiency in the language may also qualify you for a position as an interpreter or translator, Foreign Service Officer or journalist.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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