Careers in Languages

What can I do with a major in global languages?

The study of global languages focuses on learning about language, linguistics, literature, and culture. The ability to speak another language fluently can be an asset in today’s global economy and make individuals competitive in a saturated job market. Employment opportunities exist in many career fields and graduates with a background in global languages give themselves a competitive edge when entering the job market.  Graduates in global languages pursue careers in business, education, government, and the nonprofit sector, and some pursue advanced degrees.  Also, a minor in language is an excellent complement to a number of majors.  Students pursuing careers in law, business administration, criminal justice and health sciences should consider a minor in language as a way to increase their marketable skills.


From “Foreign Language Careers for Business and the Professions:”1

“The work and marketplace places of the 21st century are and will be markedly different from that of the past. They will need personnel with new and highly specialized skills, particularly in high technology; and they will require workers with a knowledge and understanding of the hottest fields:  management, especially international management; energy; health care; education; environmental management; engineering; legal services; computer programming and maintenance; entertainment; marketing; finance; and telecommunications. They will also require people who are flexible, adaptable, and amenable to receiving additional duties and training and, if necessary, willing to change career fields. “Moreover, they will demand future employees have international experience and have lived, studied, worked, or traveled abroad. Above all, they will prefer those who are bilingual and even multilingual.”…surveys conducted among Fortune 500 companies ranked foreign languages and the geographic regions of the world vital to U.S. interests as well as the career fields most compatible with and in need of language skills.

The results were as follows:  1) English was considered the most important professional language, followed by Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, German, French, Italian, Portuguese and Korean;  2) Asia and Latin America were the regions with considerable most business interest;  3) Business administration, management, marketing sales, engineering, finance, accounting, secretarial skills, economics, international relations, health, and social services were the fields in which foreign language skills played a significant role. Some of the firms cited in the articles, moreover, not only recognized and accepted these facts but made or were making foreign languages, especially Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and Portuguese, as well as cross-cultural communication a part of their staff training. Indeed, if increased globalization is an indication of present reality, then these companies are doing even more training now.

1Cere, Ronald C. (2012) “Foreign Language Careers for International Business and the Professions,” Global Advances in Business Communication: Vol. 1: Iss. 1, Article 6.

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