Is a Japanese Degree Right for You?

Through a Japanese bachelors degree online, you can gain competency in reading, writing, and oral skills of the language, as well as study Japanese history, art, religion, government, and more. Japanese is a challenging language to learn, as it requires the mastery of an entirely new alphabet.

Success in a Japanese program requires strong language abilities and lots of hard work above and beyond the classroom. However, students who make the effort will be glad they did. The job market is especially encouraging for translators and interpreters and the demand for Japanese in particular is strong. Also, professionals who are fluent in Japanese and English will be tough competition in the job marketplace, particularly in international business settings.

Advice for Earning Your Japanese Degree Online

On-campus language labs use videos and tutorials to help students comprehend the language. The best online bachelors degree make these resources are available to distance learners as well. When researching schools, consider what online language lab resources they have. And, there’s nothing like being completely immersed in a language to help you learn it, so also find out what study abroad opportunities are available through the online program. Also, it’s important to do your homework on accreditation before enrolling in an online Japanese program. Accreditation verifies the program’s quality compared to other on-campus programs and allows access to federal funding for student loans.

Required Courses

Online Japanese degree programs will include a general education core in math, science, English, social sciences, and electives. However, the bulk of the major coursework will be in Japanese history and culture, with an emphasis on Japanese language, writing, and conversation skills. Common courses include:

  • Survey of Japanese Literature
  • Japanese Culture and Civilization
  • East Asian History
  • Japanese Language
  • Writing in Japanese

Common Career Paths

Some potential careers for those with a bachelor’s degree in Japanese include:

Interpreters and Translators

  • Expected Growth: 42%
  • Average Annual Salary: $54,680

Translators and interpreters convert one language into another, in written or spoken form, respectively. The job demands fluency in English and another language. Translators may be employed in health care, legal, or literary settings. They may also be employed as localization translators, adapting a text for a product or service from one language to another, such as websites.

Interpreters might be employed in health care, legal, government, collegiate, or museum settings. The above salary and employment growth figures were gathered from the BLS, and represent average incomes. Actual salaries can vary greatly based on your experience, type of employer, education level, and other factors.

Secondary Japanese Teacher

  • Expected Growth: 7%
  • Average Annual Salary: $59,125

Teaching Japanese is another career option for those who are interested in education and proficient in writing, reading, and speaking the language. Japanese teachers can be found at all levels of education, from kindergarten to college, though teaching at the collegiate level would require at least a master’s, if not doctoral, degree. High school teachers are generally eligible to teach with a bachelor’s degree in the subject, though depending on the school may need a more advanced degree.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree, high school Japanese teachers need to be certified by their state to teach Japanese. Certification would allow them to teach the 7th through 12th grades, from beginners to more advanced learners. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Postsecondary Japanese Teacher

  • Expected Growth: 17%
  • Average Annual Salary: $80,615

Postsecondary Japanese teachers instruct classes in Japanese language, writing, and conversation, as well as Japanese history, culture, and literature. For most postsecondary teaching positions, you will need an advanced degree in Japanese, and most top universities require candidates to have doctoral degrees. Some university faculty positions also provide opportunities for academic research, and may require a record of successful publication to be considered for a faculty position. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Public Relations Managers and Specialists

  • Expected Growth: 21%
  • Average Annual Salary: $108,060

While a bachelor’s degree in Japanese is not directly related to public relations, it can be a helpful tool, particularly if you work in an industry with an international client base. Public relations professionals write media releases and design PR programs that maintain a positive image of a company or individual. Some PR managers must travel frequently, making an understanding and appreciation for international cultures an invaluable tool. Figures above were provided by the BLS.

Wholesale and Manufacturing Sales Representatives

  • Expected Growth: 16%
  • Average Annual Salary: $90,580

Wholesale sales representatives sell products to businesses, organizations, and even government entities. It is a high-pressure occupation that often requires a lot of travel, due to manufacturing facilities located abroad and an international customer base. Professionals working in this business may find that command of the Japanese language is extremely helpful, depending on their business, product, or market. Figures above were provided by the BLS.


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