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Department of World Languages & Cultures

CAREER OPPORTUNITIES FOR WORLD LANGUAGE MAJORS

World language study can be one of the most rewarding experiences in your life. The ability to speak, read, write and comprehend another language is an asset in today’s global workplace. World language majors typically have a variety of career options in both the public and private sectors. Many professionals who deal with the public, including teachers, law enforcement agents, medical personnel, and social service professionals, find that knowledge of a language other than English can be a real benefit. Multi-national corporations increasingly need employees with world language backgrounds to process documents and work as translators. A major in Spanish or French at NEIU will help you to communicate and interact with people from diverse backgrounds. It will also help you to develop cultural awareness and sensitivity, to expand your knowledge of global issues, and perhaps ultimately to choose a career. Proficiency in more than one language is a valuable skill that enhances your occupational possibilities. It may also give you a competitive edge in today’s job market.

The following lists are a representative sample of job titles and types of employers for individuals who have majored in world languages. In most cases, you will need to develop expertise in a secondary field in order to secure one of these highly specialized positions:

Job Title

  • World language or bilingual teacher
  • Interpreter
  • Translator
  • Technical Writer
  • Court Interpreter
  • Public Relations Specialist
  • Community Affairs Specialist
  • Foreign Service Officer
  • Cultural Affairs Officer
  • Public Health Administrator
  • Health Care Provider
  • Social Worker
  • Marketing / Sales Representative
  • Market Research Specialist
  • Advertising Copywriter
  • International Trade Specialist
  • Investment Banker
  • Columnist / Reporter
  • Editor/ Writer
  • Journalist
  • Foreign Correspondent
  • Radio / TV Announcer
  • Tour Organizer/ Guide
  • Travel Agent
  • International Relations Director
  • Customer Service Representative
  • Foreign Student Advisor
  • Import / Export Specialist
  • Speech Pathologist
  • Civil Service Worker
  • Immigration Inspector
  • Diplomat
  • Textbook Publisher
  • Textbook Acquisitions Editor
  • Customs’ Inspector
  • Historian
  • Flight Attendant
  • Airport Personnel
  • UNESCO Official
  • Librarian

Employers in Modern World Languages

  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Museums
  • Public and Private Schools
  • Colleges and Universities
  • Hotel Chains / Restaurants / Resorts
  • Banks / Investment Firms
  • Law Firms
  • Civic Organizations
  • Health Clinics / Hospitals
  • Retail Stores
  • Travel Agencies
  • International Exchange Programs
  • Television / Radio Stations
  • Airlines
  • Military Services
  • Advertising Agencies
  • World Language Textbook Publishers
  • Transportation Agencies
  • Non-Profit Organizations
  • U. S. Travel Service
  • Red Cross International
  • United Nations
  • Pan American Health Organization
  • YMCA / YWCA
  • World Health Organizations

With the exception of positions in teaching, translating, and interpreting, in most entry-level jobs your language ability is seen as a secondary skill or asset. Since it is not the primary function of your job, employers may be more interested in your understanding of cultural nuances. That is, cultural sensitivity and an ability to relate to and communicate with people seem to be an equally high priority. World Language majors who are willing to develop other areas of expertise: computer science, business administration, communications, management banking, law criminal justice, political science, etcetera, have a good chance of being hired in today’s very competitive workforce.

Keys to Success

  • Achieve a high level of competency in the target language
  • Form clear career goals early on and work hard to achieve them
  • Develop another area of expertise in addition to a world language.
  • Hone your cultural awareness skills

The Modern Language Association has produced a brochure entitled: “Language Study in the Age of Globalization:The College-Level Experience”.

The brochure is available at www.mla.org/pdf/adfl_brochcollege.pdf .