Is a Spanish Language Degree Right for You?
Rigorous language labs, intense literature studies, and cultural explorations are just part of what students enrolled in a comprehensive online bachelor’s degree program in Spanish language will experience. Individuals on this academic track likely aim to be as close to fluent as possible, so basic vocabulary word drills just won’t cut it. To ensure students walk away sounding as authentic as possible, professors spend lots of time focusing on pronunciation, with whole classes dedicated to subjects like phonetics and word origin. Spanish-language students should note that all of their hard work is more than worthwhile. The 2010 census revealed that people of Hispanic origin make up the largest ethnic minority in the United States, with numbers only growing, so knowing how to speak Spanish will be an increasingly important and valuable skill to have.
Advice for Earning Your Spanish Language Degree Online
If you’re taking some or all of your courses online, it’s important that you still make the time and effort to practice vocal skills. It’s easy to overlook things like pronunciation and tone when you are doing assignments alone behind a computer screen, so get out and arrange in-person practices or study dates. Go to local events and meetings to practice your new technique. Don’t forget that online classes have deadlines and due dates just like traditional brick-and-mortar courses, too.
Spanish students often take a wide range of courses that cover much more than the language itself. Courses discuss common cultural norms, political issues, and even geography. Individuals in pursuit of this degree, will likely end up in careers as translators, travel agents and more that require them to have some scope of the potentially unfamiliar world around them, thus they are presented with this material. Even if a student opts to become a Spanish teacher at a local school, he or she needs to have a wide breadth of knowledge to share with the next generation of learners.
Common Career Paths
Students who get a bachelor’s degree in Spanish can pursue several different careers. Some may opt to enter education, while others might prefer a more political career. Whatever the case, a degree with an emphasis in Spanish — the second most widely spoken native language after Chinese — is a wise investment. Common careers for someone with this degree include:
When people think about what they can do with a language degree, the first job that likely comes to mind is “translator.” While other professional options do exist, this position is most directly related to the coursework. Sometimes translators are personal, reserved for specific people — especially prominent leaders visiting from foreign countries. In these cases, it is usually required that a translator have fluency in a couple prominent languages and dialects.
A person pursuing a career as a translator will likely find the most work at the government level, though several customer-service based companies also rely on translation/bilingual services. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, translators in the U.S. made an average annual salary of $50,610 as of May 2011. The Bureau also noted that translators are also often employed at hospitals and schools.
Another career route many Spanish Language students can take is to become an educator. Schools need both ESL teachers and full-blown foreign language instructors to fully accommodate their students. As of 2011, foreign language teachers were earning an average of $66,720 a year, so it’s not a bad career choice to make.
Students interested in pursuing this path should be aware that they also likely have to obtain a teaching certificate. The rules and regulations for this generally vary by state, but generally require prospective teachers to take a few extra courses and tests.