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What can I do with a major in Spanish?

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A Spanish major provides students with a greatly enriched view of the world around them as well as Spanish language skills that will prove useful in many professional occupations.  With its emphases on research, writing and creative and analytical thought, the Spanish major prepares students for graduate studies in Spanish and most professional schools, including law, business, and education, and medicine, and for work in professions such as law, teaching, business, management, and publishing.

Many Spanish majors  combine their Spanish studies with other areas to prepare for career opportunities in international business, government, travel or communications, where knowledge of a foreign language and of foreign cultures is essential.

Career-Related Skills of Spanish Majors

  • Communication: Foreign language majors gain skills in oral expression, critical reading, translation, clear writing, editing and interpreting in foreign languages.
  • Human Relations: Appreciation for other cultures, adaptability to different environments, and receptivity to new ideas are developed by both studying abroad and studying other cultures.
  • Research & Problem Solving: Comparison of ideas, problem identification, developing problem solving techniques, and information analysis are skills strengthened through a foreign language major.
  • Education & Instruction: Many foreign language majors gain valuable instructional skills by tutoring others in both the oral and written aspects of the language. 

Careers for Spanish majors

 

GOVERNMENT: Diplomat; translator, interpreter (US or UN); court interpreter; CIA; FBI linguist, special agent; Peace Corps; VISTA; Agency for International Development; State Department; Government research specialist; Immigration and Naturalization Service; Bureau of Narcotics; Armed forces; Department of Treasury; Foreign Claims Settlement Commission; Office of Economic Opportunity; agricultural specialist; all levels of government in areas with large immigrant population.

SOCIAL SERVICE: Law enforcement; welfare; health services; income tax consultant; missionary, minister; nursing; medical research writer; vocational counselor; case worker.

EDUCATION: Teacher; translator; editor; textbook author.

LIBRARY: Librarian in U.S., overseas; translator; classifier of foreign documents.

SCIENTIFIC FIELDS: Technical writer, translator; researcher; technical liaison for U.S. firms abroad; archaeology; museum work; medicine.

TRAVEL AND TOURISM: Travel agent; tour guide; hotel, restaurant employee; flight attendant; airport personnel.

BUSINESS: International law, banking; U.S. representative for foreign company; patent attorney; representative for U.S. firm abroad; foreign branch of U.S. firm; advertising, sales, fashion buyer; marketing; executive or manager; technical expert; personnel manager; Public Relations;
secretarial and clerical opportunities; import‐export firms; brokerage firms; banks; medical organizations; service, cultural organizations.

COMMUNICATIONS: Journalism: foreign correspondent, photographer, writer, editor; TV or radio writer, reporter, technician, executive; CNN, network reporter, video crew; Voice of America writer, editor; translator; advertiser for ethnic, foreign markets; film, entertainment; interpreter; international telephone operator.

Employers/Industries and Success Strategies:

Government: Translation/interpretation – Journalism – Linguistics – Diplomacy – Civil Service– Foreign Service – Immigration/Naturalization – US Customs – Intelligence/Law Enforcement (e.g., FBI, CIA, DEA)
Suggested Strategy: The government is one of the largest employers of people with foreign language skills! Go to www.usajobs.gov, the government’s official job site. Consider attending a specialized language school that teaches foreignlanguages (e.g., Monterrey Institute). Learn government hiring procedures.

Arts, Media, Entertainment
: Advertising – Translation/Interpretation – Journalism/Broadcasting – Publishing/Editing ‐ PR
Suggested Strategy: Spend time working or studying abroad. Read international newspapers to keep abreast of world affairs.

Industry & Commerce:
Translation/Interpretation – Banking/Finance – Sales – Customer Services – Manufacturing – Engineering/Technical – Research – Operations Manage – Consulting – Import/Export – Administrative Services
Suggested Strategy: Supplement coursework with business minor. Gain experience through international internship or study abroad. Find out which companies do business with the countries in which your language of study is spoken. Be prepared to start in a position in the US working for a firm with an overseas presence. Very few entry level positions are available in international business.

Travel & Tourism:
Translation/Interpretation – Airlines – Management – Booking/ Reservations – Travel Services/Guidance
Suggested Strategy: Get a part‐time job with hotel, restaurant, or visitors’ bureau to gain experience. Plan to attend a travel school. Develop strong administrative skills. Read international newspapers to keep abreast of world affairs.

Interpretation/Translation:
Interpretation (simultaneous, consecutive, conference, escort/guide, judiciary) – Translation (literary, localization, medical) – Freelance – Education – Business services – Government agencies – Healthcare – Courts ‐ Publishers
Suggested Strategy: Develop a near‐perfect knowledge of second language. Gain experience through internship or volunteering. Learn a third language for greater opportunities. Most people work freelance in this field, and gain expertise in a particular area (e.g., law or medicine).
Seek certification or accreditation from an interpretation/translation organization.

Service & Education
: Translation/Interpretation – Teaching – Educational Administration –Linguistics – Civic Service – Social Work – Mission Work – Library Science – Health Services
Suggested Strategy: Obtain state licensure for K‐12 teaching. Consider teaching English in another country. Consider coursework in English grammar or linguistics. Gain experience tutoring or teaching ESL. Volunteer with Peace Corps, Teach forAmerica, Americorps, or VISTA
to gain experience. Obtain a graduate degree for university‐level teaching jobs.

 

Huaraz, Peru. Photograph by Eilam Bulka. Property of nationalgeographic.com

 

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