Majoring in applied linguistics can open up a number of career opportunities
for someone who is interested in studying language. Linguistics students learn
how to write and communicate effectively and gain advanced problem-solving
skills. These broad skills are useful in a variety of settings. Students also
study the development of languages and how people learn them. Because many of
the careers in this field benefit from or require specific coursework, it's
ideal to plan with future goals in mind while still in school.
Teaching language is one possible use for a
linguistics degree. To become a foreign language instructor, it's usually
necessary to get formal education in the specific language. Another option is
teaching English as a second language (ESL), either overseas or in the United
States. This can be an exciting career with a lot of travel opportunities.
Requirements for teaching ESL vary between different types of employers.
Specific coursework, a certificate, and/or a graduate degree in ESL may be
Government work is another option for linguists,
particularly those who are fluent in one or more foreign languages. There are
opportunities in a number of different agencies, including working as a document
analyst or special agent linguist for the FBI. The government also hires
translators and interpreters.
Applied linguistics majors may find work in
writing or publishing. A graduate degree in journalism can lead to a career as a
reporter. Linguists are the people who develop language reference books. They
compile information and write entries for dictionaries, for example. This major
provides a good background for technical writers and even freelance writers and
novelists who want a degree.
Corporations hire linguists to fill roles in
communications and research. Jobs in the high-tech industry are available to
help create new technologies and computer programs. One example of this is the
development of voice recognition software. Computer science involves a lot of
language and problem-solving skills, which makes it an ideal area for linguists
who have completed some training in information technology.
Studying linguistics as an undergraduate can be
used as a starting point for further academic work in other fields, particularly
the social sciences. Library science, literature, anthropology, speech therapy,
law, philosophy, and psychology are some examples of master's programs for which
this background may be helpful. Of course, it's possible to get a graduate
degree in applied linguistics as well. These degrees could lead to more research
work or a position in the field.
What to Do
with a Linguistics Major
Why Study Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Opportunities for Linguistics Majors
Can I Do with a Degree in Applied Linguistics?
Database of College Linguistics Programs
American Association for Applied Linguistics – Master's
Linguistic Society of America Job Listings
LinguistList Jobs Area
The ESL Job Center