(Last Updated On: 09/03/2017)

What Can I Do With a Major in a Foreign Language?

Being able to speak a foreign language can be a very valuable skill, but it’s most valuable when coupled with another ability. For example, speaking Chinese isn’t very valuable on its own, but it could be very valuable if you also have the skills and knowledge required to work in business or finance.

If you’re passionate about learning a foreign language and want to study it intensively in college, the best way to make yourself marketable is by earning a second major or even a minor in a subject like economics or business. By combining two different skills, you are able to develop a specialized set of abilities that can be in very high demand.

Of course, not everyone who majors in a foreign language has any interest in the business or finance world, and that’s perfectly fine. In fact, there are foreign language majors working in many different occupations in just about every industry. Sales, teaching, administration, and marketing positions are often great fits for foreign language majors.

Foreign language majors earn a median salary of $48,000 per year, which is about fifteen percent lower than the combined salary of all employed college graduates.

Career Options for Foreign Language Majors

Below are some of the most common career choices for people who choose to major in a foreign language. This is not a comprehensive list, as foreign language majors go into so many different types of occupations that it would be impossible to list them all. However, the occupations below should give you a good idea of the work that people who earn a degree in a foreign language are able to do.

Occupation Median Salary Median Hourly Current jobs Outlook Required Education
Adult Literacy Teacher $46,530 $22.37 86,900 Good Bachelor’s Degree
College Professor $62,050 $29.83 1,756,000 Good Graduate Degree
Elementary School Teacher $51,660 $24.84 1,549,520 Good Bachelor’s Degree
High School Teacher $53,230 $25.59 1,109,500 Good Bachelor’s Degree
Interpreter $43,300 $20.82 58,400 Good Bachelor’s Degree
Kindergarten Teacher $48,800 $23.46 179,520 Normal Bachelor’s Degree
Middle School Teacher $51,960 $24.98 659,460 Good Bachelor’s Degree
Translator $43,300 $20.82 58,400 Good Bachelor’s Degree