What Can You Do With a Language Degree?

Speech bubble drawn with chalk on a black board

Liberal Arts degrees teach students valuable skills that transfer well to a wide range of careers. As a language degree student, you will build a firm foundation in critical thinking, ethical leadership, communication skills and other core competencies. These are all valuable skills which employers prize in their employees. Depending on the specific language degree you pursue, you may have specific career opportunities. A language degree may also lead you to an undergraduate or graduate degree in English or other languages.


If you become fluent in a common language such as Spanish, you may opt to pursue a career as a translator. Translators convert the information and ideas conveyed in one language into another language. Unlike interpreters, translators work exclusively to translators work exclusively with written material. Translators may have any of the following responsibilities:

  • Translate technical writing (i.e., product manuals and handbooks)
  • Create multi-lingual signs or brochures for pharmacy customers or patients and visitors at hospitals
  • Translate fiction or nonfiction writing into other languages
  • Translate business contracts and other corporate documents
  • Translate official court transcripts and documents

Translators are in high demand across several industries, from healthcare and law to entertainment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job growth rate for translators will increase by 19 percent from 2018 to 2028.1


The job outlook for interpreters is equally promising to the outlook for translators. There is a predicted 19 percent job growth rate from 2018 to 2028. Students with fluency in widely-used languages may pursue a role as an interpreter. While translators work strictly with written materials, interpreters work with spoken language. Most interpreters work out in the field, providing their services as needed. Interpreters may fulfill any of the following responsibilities:

  • Facilitate communication between business executives
  • Help non-English-speaking patients communicate their needs, concerns and questions to a physician
  • Help non-English speakers give interviews and communicate with English-speaking audience
  • Provide real-time interpretations within legal, legislative and international relations organizations, ranging from county courts to the United Nations

Public or Private School Teacher

With an academic background in a foreign language, you may decide to pursue a career teaching English or other languages at public or private schools in the United States. Another choice is to pursue a language-teaching position in post-secondary institutions such as junior or community colleges. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the job growth rate for postsecondary teacher will increase by 11 percent between 2020 and 2028.2

As a teacher, you will be responsible for helping students learn to communicate in the language you teach. As a teacher, you should strive to inspire a passion for language and a love of learning in your students. Note that licensure requirements can vary for teachers in different states.

Adult Literacy Instructor

If you wish to teach but prefer to work with adults rather than adolescents, you may consider a career as an adult literacy instructor. Literacy is something that many people take for granted. Whether we read texts, social media posts or novels you likely read every day.

Although U.S. literacy rates are relatively high, there are many adults who are deficient in literacy skills. According to an analysis of data gathered by the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), 17.5 percent of adults in the United States score at the lowest levels of literacy among 33 countries.3

As an adult literacy instructor, you will seek to make a positive impact on your community and transform the lives of your students, who may struggle with certain literacy issues. You will work with adults from a range of backgrounds and personalities as you provide positive feedback, constructive criticism, and connect possibly help connect students with other community resources such as job placement agencies.

Work toward your future by earning a degree at Grand Canyon University. Choose from a range of undergraduate programs like a language-related degree program or the Master of Arts in English with an Emphasis in Education degree These programs will prepare you for professional success in a range of fields. To learn more about the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, visit our website or click on the Request Information button on this page.

1 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2024, April 17). Interpreters and Translators. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Last retrieved Feb. 2020.

2 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2024, April 17). Postsecondary Teachers. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Last retrieved Feb. 2020.

3 Education GPS. (2024, May 17). United States Adult skills (Survey of Adult Skills, PIAAC, 2017). OECD. Last retrieved Feb. 2020.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.