Earning a degree in foreign language teaches you how to become fluent and communicate in a language other than your natural one. International business is constant and essential to the world’s economy. Therefore, the ability to communicate in a foreign language is an important skill to possess. The three main careers that an online foreign language degree can lead to are an interpreter, a translator, and a foreign language teacher.

  • Interpreters and translators.

    These people convert one language into another. Interpreters do this with spoken language, whereas translators do this with written language. Both professions require extreme attention to detail and the ability to effectively and accurately communicate. An interpreter must be able to speak and enunciate clearly, while a translator must be able to write and edit clearly. There are translating and interpreting jobs in many different fields, including medical, oil and gas, legal and judicial, and tourism.

  • Foreign language teachers.

    Teachers often have a degree or certificate in education in addition to a degree in foreign language. These professionals teach students — at any grade level, and even adults — how to understand and communicate fluently in a foreign language. They will often develop curriculum, administer assignments, and demonstrate how to effectively speak and write in the foreign language.

What Can I Do With an Online Degree in a Foreign Language?

Many people who earn an online degree in foreign language end up pursuing careers as interpreters and translators. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are currently a little more than 44,000 interpreters and translators in the U.S., and the average national salary is $49,790 a year. The BLS shows that California has the highest employment level among the states, with 7,200 interpreters and translators. However, Virginia is the top-paying state, with an average salary of $87,830 a year. The top-paying city in the country is Washington, D.C., with an average salary of $92,360 a year. However, earning a degree does not guarantee you a job. How easy it is to find a job and how much money you will make depends on several things, including which language(s) you speak, who you work for, where you work, and how much experience you have.

Numerous foreign language graduates will go into teaching, often combining their foreign language degree with a degree or certification in education. According to the BLS, the national average salary for foreign language teachers is $63,300 a year. The BLS shows that Rhode Island is the top-paying state, with an average salary of $89,180 a year. However, the top five cities are all in California: Riverside, Fresno, San Fransisco, San Jose, and Sacramento, with average salaries ranging from $107,110 to $91,530 a year. While there is always a need for teachers, you are not guaranteed a job. Also, the amount of money you make will not only depend on where you work, but also who you work for, the amount of experience you have, and more.

What Is It Like To Get An Online Degree in a Foreign Language?

An online Spanish degree is one of the most popular online foreign language degrees in the U.S., followed closely by online French degrees. Earning a degree in one of these, or any other foreign language, will allow you to study, read, and complete assignments at your own pace. Since a key element to successfully passing a foreign language course is being able to effectively speak in the foreign language, most online classes require software that will allow you to record your voice and submit the file. For example, some of the assignments for Spanish classes online may require you to recite and record a phrase in Spanish and turn the audio file in to your teacher, who will then grade your ability to speak the language. Once you complete an online foreign language program, you’ll be able to understand and effectively communicate in foreign language of your choice.