Hispanic-American studies programs cover such topics as the Spanish language, Hispanic-American culture and the contributions of Hispanic-Americans to the business world. Read about degree programs, career options and the job outlook for this field.
Is Hispanic American Studies for Me?
People of Hispanic origins have become one of the fastest growing populations in America, with Spanish being the second language of United States. Hispanic-American studies degree programs are offered at both the undergraduate and graduate level. These programs concentrate on both language and cultural studies.
Graduates of a Hispanic-American studies program may be well suited to find employment in a number of venues, including government agencies and private businesses, where knowledge of and experience with Hispanic-American culture is essential. Some graduates pursue work in Spain or Latin America. Teaching at the secondary or postsecondary level is also an option.
Salaries and Employment Outlook
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), between 2012 and 2022, the projected employment growth for high school teachers is 6%. College professors can expect a 19% increase in employment during the same time period. In May 2013, high school teachers earned a mean annual wage of $58,260. Foreign language and literature professors made $66,300, while postsecondary teachers of area, ethnic and cultural studies earned an average salary of $77,550 (www.bls.gov).
How Can I Work in Hispanic-American Studies?
Bachelor's degree programs in Hispanic-American studies usually begin with beginning to advanced courses in Spanish, depending on your level of proficiency. Programs may be coupled with studies of Latin America and Spain, providing opportunities to explore the differences among dialects and cultural traditions. In addition, many schools also offer Spanish for Spanish-speaking students classes. Advanced language courses might focus on language used in a business context or the development of proper pronunciation through speeches. Literature courses can span Spanish and Hispanic-American literature from the Middle Ages until the present time.
Other courses focus on Hispanic culture through art, music, poetry and film. Some schools also offer study abroad programs to give you hands-on speaking experience and a chance to witness everyday culture.
Graduate courses can cover a number of specific topics on bilingualism, biculturalism and influential authors, such as Cervantes. Advanced degree programs typically have a curriculum based on independent study, research projects, seminars and specialized courses geared towards your concentration. You may be required to possess fluency in French in addition to Spanish for a master's program.
For a doctorate degree (Ph.D.) program, you may also need to be proficient in a language such as German, Italian, Latin or Portuguese. In order to earn a master's degree, you will need to complete a thesis or major paper of publishable length related to your focus. A Ph.D. program would require a dissertation.