Spanish Language Certification Programs

A variety of Spanish language certification programs can prepare students to travel abroad or make them more attractive to employers, particularly in areas with large Spanish-speaking populations. Schools offering Spanish degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kinds of Programs Are Available?

There are numerous undergraduate and graduate-level university programs available to students who want to obtain certification in Spanish for personal reasons or to enhance their employability. In addition, professional programs focus on developing Spanish-language skills in focus areas such as business, healthcare, tourism or the legal realm.

University ProgramsUndergraduate and graduate-level certificate programs
SpecializationsBusiness, healthcare, legal, tourism
Courses Elementary and intermediate Spanish, commercial Spanish, Spanish conversation, Spanish translation and interpretation
Length of StudySix months to three years
Salary Differential (2018)5 to 20 percent more per hour*

Source: *

What University Programs Are Available?

Many university programs are not offered for credit and are not transferable, but are designed to prepare students to travel abroad or enhance their skills at work. These can be undergraduate or graduate-level certificate programs, and are often completed through part-time study, either in person or online. These programs typically include about six classes, completed within a period of one to three years, and are designed to prepare students to:

  • Discriminate and articulate Spanish sounds
  • Understand Spanish speakers
  • Become comfortable with common topics such as making introductions, travel plans, health matters and the workplace
  • Comprehend texts written in Spanish, including newspaper articles and literature
  • Narrate in the past, present and future
  • Develop an understanding of Spanish-speaking cultures

Some bachelor's degree programs will provide a Certificate of Proficiency in Spanish along with a student's undergraduate diploma, provided that all coursework and other requirements have been met.

What Coursework Is Involved?

Spanish language certificate programs typically include core courses of elementary and intermediate Spanish. In addition, many programs offer electives, such as:

  • Spanish conversation
  • Commercial Spanish
  • Marketing and advertising in the Spanish-speaking world
  • Topics in Spanish and Spanish American culture and civilization
  • Spanish translation and interpretation

What Spanish Certificates Are Professionally Focused?

Some university certificates are designed to provide students with greater proficiency in an area of expertise, such as business, healthcare, tourism or the legal realm. These typically require a minimum level of Spanish, and can take six months to one year to complete. Once finished, students often go on to obtain other professional certifications, such as state and federal legal interpreter certifications, or certification from the American Translators Association (ATA).

Many university certificate programs offer the opportunity to obtain a certified oral proficiency rating from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) - a qualification recognized by government agencies as well as numerous other employers.

Why Obtain a Spanish Language Certificate?

National demand for bilingual workers is rising, particularly for job applicants that can speak Spanish, Chinese or Arabic - and is strongest in states such as California and Arizona with large Spanish-speaking populations.

Certification in Spanish can prepare students for a variety of careers, including:

  • Bilingual educator
  • Law enforcement officer
  • Foreign correspondent
  • Translator / interpreter
  • International banking manager
  • Bilingual customer service
  • Travel agent
  • Immigration officer
  • Cultural attaché
  • Foreign service office
  • FBI or CIA agent
  • Cultural affairs coordinator
  • International relations consultant
  • Publishing specialist
  • Importer / exporter

Employees with bilingual skills typically earn between 5 and 20 percent more than the base rate for their position, according to

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.

Popular Schools

  • Liberty University

    Liberty University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Liberty University:

    • Master

    Online Programs Available

  • Southern New Hampshire University

    Southern New Hampshire University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Southern New Hampshire University:

    • Master
    • Bachelor Degrees

    Online Programs Available

  • Full Sail University

    Full Sail University responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Full Sail University:

    • Bachelor Degrees

    Campus Locations:

    • Florida: Winter Park
  • Penn Foster High School

    Penn Foster High School responds quickly to information requests through this website.

    Popular programs at Penn Foster High School:

    Online Programs Available

  • Towson University

    Campus Locations:

    • Maryland: Towson
  • Stanford University

    Campus Locations:

    • California: Stanford
  • University of Pennsylvania

    Campus Locations:

    • Pennsylvania: Philadelphia
  • Duke University

    Campus Locations:

    • North Carolina: Durham
  • Howard University

    Campus Locations:

    • Columbia (D.C.): Washington
  • University of Notre Dame

    Campus Locations:

    • Indiana: Notre Dame