If Spanish is one of your favorite subjects in high school, then you might think about majoring in Spanish in college. However, what can you do with a Spanish degree? Here, you can take a look at some popular industries that may hire Spanish degree graduates, as well as six top Spanish majors’ careers.
In This Article:
- Spanish Majors’ Careers Are Found in a Range of Industries
- Spanish Interpreter or Translator
- Foreign Correspondent
- Spanish Educator
- Travel Agent
- Tour Guide
- Police Officer
Spanish Majors’ Careers Are Found in a Range of Industries
You’ll find jobs for Spanish majors across many industries. These include:1
- Criminal justice
- International relations
Fairly early in your college years, it can be helpful to have a general idea of the industry you’d like to work in. This can allow opportunities to pair your Spanish major with a minor that could enable you to become more familiar with a specific industry.
Spanish Interpreter or Translator
Spanish interpreters and translators are responsible for translating language from Spanish into another language or vice versa. Interpreters work with spoken language, while translators work with written language. Within this career field, there are numerous opportunities to specialize. Consider the following specialized jobs for interpreters or translators:2
- Healthcare: Spanish interpreters and translators connect patients to the healthcare information they need, such as by helping them talk to their doctors (and vice versa) and by translating written medical information, such as discharge instructions.
- Literary: Spanish translators can translate books, poetry and other documents from Spanish into English or vice versa.
- Legal: Court interpreters enhance access and understanding for individuals with limited English proficiency who are involved in court cases.
How To Become a Spanish Interpreter or Translator
The requirements to become a Spanish interpreter or translator vary based on specialization, employer and other factors. In general, however, these professionals are typically expected to have at least a bachelor’s degree and proficiency in English and Spanish. Non-specialized interpreters and translators may benefit from earning a voluntary certification, such as one from the American Translators Association (ATA).3
Certain specializations within this profession may require other types of certifications. For example, healthcare interpreters may acquire certification from the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters, while those who wish to pursue governmental work may take aptitude tests offered by the U.S. Department of State.3
If you have a love of travel and an interest in journalism, then you might consider a career as a foreign correspondent. These professionals inform the public about current events and news on local, national and international levels. Many foreign correspondents spend time in the field and have a fast-paced work environment where they report for television, radio, websites, newspapers or magazines.
A career as a Spanish educator can be an appealing choice for many students. These professionals work in education as college professors, Spanish instructors and school teachers. Some of the job duties that you may encounter in this field include teaching Spanish language fundamentals, developing a curriculum and grading coursework.4
Fluency in both verbal and written Spanish and English, along with a thorough understanding of grammar and composition, are essentials for Spanish educators. Those who wish to teach in public schools will need to meet the requirements for state teaching licensure or certification. Those who would like to teach in postsecondary institutions may need to earn a graduate degree.4
If you have a passion both for the Spanish language and for traveling, you might consider becoming a travel agent. As a bilingual travel agent, you would provide guidance on destinations and make arrangements for individual clients and groups taking trips together.
Some travel agencies prefer to hire new travel agents with a baccalaureate degree and other qualifications, which might include bilingualism and one or more professional certifications administered by The Travel Institute, the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) or the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA). It’s also common for travel agencies to implement their own in-house training programs for new travel agents, which usually last one month or longer.5
Another option that may appeal to bilingual professionals with a love of travel is to become a tour guide. Tour guides not only need strong language skills but also a deep understanding of the area’s culture and history. It’s also helpful to have storytelling skills and strong interpersonal skills, as you would be working with groups of people from all walks of life.6
The required credentials to become a tour guide can vary significantly from one location and company to another. In some areas of the U.S., such as the Gettysburg Battlefield and the entire city of New Orleans, you will need licensure to work as a tour guide.6 Another option is to pursue work as a tour guide in Spanish-speaking countries.
Police officers are charged with protecting the communities in which they serve and equally enforcing the laws. Police officers encounter a wide range of people, including those who speak Spanish and may have limited English proficiency. Federal law enforcement officials, in particular, can benefit from proficiency in a second language.7
The requirements to become a cop can vary considerably from one jurisdiction to the next. In general, becoming a police officer may involve demonstrating academic credentials and meeting age-related, physical and personal qualifications. You will also need to pass a local, state or federal training program.7
Grand Canyon University focuses on providing students with a quality education that can support their career goals. The Bachelor of Arts in Spanish degree program explores language and communication skills in various settings, as well as cultural, literary and contemporary trends relevant to the Spanish-speaking world. Fill out form on this page or visit the College of Humanities and Social Sciences to learn more.
1 Sartore, M. (2023, Oct. 17). What can you do with a Spanish degree? The Best Schools. Retrieved Nov. 14, 2023.
2 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Sept. 6). What interpreters and translators do. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved Nov. 14, 2023.
3 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Sept. 6). How to become an interpreter or translator. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved Nov. 14, 2023.
4 Indeed. (2022, July 22). How to become a Spanish teacher: education, certification and salary insight. Retrieved Nov. 14, 2023.
5 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Sept. 6). How to become a travel agent. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved Nov. 14, 2023.
6 Indeed. (2023, June 30). How to become a tour guide in 4 steps (with skills). Retrieved Nov. 14, 2023.
7 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2023, Sept. 6). How to become a police officer or detective. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Retrieved Nov. 14, 2023.
Approved by the assistant dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences on Jan. 17, 2023.
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.