What Can I do With a Degree in World Languages and Literatures?

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World Language and Literatures majors may find employment in business, government, education, media, travel and tourism, and social services depending on their skills and experience. Some world languages and literatures graduates choose to work in careers where their language skills are essential to completing the job's responsibilities. These jobs include interpreting, translating, and teaching a foreign language. Some world languages and literatures majors may choose to work in careers where their foreign language skills are an asset but not integral to the job — social services case worker, import-export assistant, travel agent. Career-related internships or part-time jobs may be a prerequisite to finding professional-level employment after graduation in these and other fields.

List of Employers who Posted Jobs in Handshake for World Languages and Literatures Majors

The following list of employers and job titles was derived from Advising & Career Services' jobs database where the employer specifically requested world languages and literatures majors. This list does not reflect all potential places of employment or kinds of jobs for world languages and literatures majors. This list does not reflect current openings.

Careers Reported by World Languages and Literatures Majors (Recent Graduates) on College/University Surveys

This is a list of jobs world languages and literatures majors reported having at (or shortly after) graduation. This list was built from survey data published by colleges and universities across the United States. Advising and Career Services provides this list as a tool for generating ideas for further exploration.

  • Administrative Assistant for a language translation company
  • Analyst for an investment banking firm
  • Assistant Director of Marketing for a hotel company
  • Assistant Language Teacher for JET Programme
  • Assistant Manager for a real estate investment company
  • Assistant Teacher for the French Ministry of Education
  • Bilingual Counselor for a county social services agency
  • Bilingual Executive Assistant for an electrical equipment manufacturer
  • Conference Planning Manager for a resort
  • Coordinator for International Relations for the JET Programme
  • Director of a youth center
  • ESL Instructor and a for-profit school
  • Expediter for an executive management and consulting firm
  • Export Assistant for a breakfast cereal manufacturer
  • Financial Analyst for an investment bank
  • Foreign Service Officer for US Department of State
  • GED Instructor for a social services agency
  • Human Resources Specialist for a commercial real estate firm
  • Intelligence Officer for US military
  • International Trade Analyst for a federal government agency
  • Junior Research Executive for a pharmaceutical market research firm
  • Language Analyst for the National Security Agency
  • Lead Counselor for a social services agency
  • Management Development Program Trainee for a maintenance materials supplier
  • Management Trainee for a healthcare communications company
  • Merchandise Manager for jeweler
  • Parent Liaison at a public high school
  • Patient Care Coordinator for a large multi-specialty group medical practice
  • Photographer for a university
  • Program Assistant for an educational foundation
  • Registered Representative for a financial services firm
  • Research Assistant for a manufacturer of in vitro diagnostic tests
  • Research Assistant for a market research firm
  • Sales Representative for a pharmaceutical company
  • Special Agent for US Secret Service
  • Teacher for Teach for America
  • Technical Assistant for a humanitarian aid organization
  • Technical Writer for a technology company
  • Technology Specialist for a law firm
  • Tour Consultant for an educational travel company
  • Transfer Pricing Associate for a public accounting firm
  • Translator for an automotive engineering firm
  • Volunteer for the Peace Corps

Careers Reported by World Languages and Literatures Majors on the American Community Survey

The following list of job titles was generated from American Community Survey data. Every year, the federal government surveys 3,000,000 people. This list shows some of the most-often reported careers for people who majored in World Languages and Literatures majors. Advising & Career Services provides this list as a tool for generating ideas for exploration. To find a brief description of the following occupations, go to the Standard Occupational Classification system.

  • Elementary and Middle School Teachers
  • Postsecondary Teachers
  • Secondary School Teachers
  • Lawyers and Judges
  • Education Administrators
  • Accountants and Auditors
  • Physicians and Surgeons
  • Management Analysts
  • Registered Nurses
  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Chief Executives and Legislators
  • Designers
  • Marketing and Sales Managers
  • Human Resources Workers
  • Librarians
  • Writers and Authors
  • Social and Community Service Managers
  • Medical and Health Services Managers
  • Editors
  • Computer Systems Analysts
  • Computer and Information Systems Managers
  • Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists
  • Human Resources Managers
  • Special Education Teachers
  • Archivists, Curators, and Museum Technicians
  • Compliance Officers
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • Psychologists
  • Computer Programmers
  • Software Developers
  • Web Developers
  • Pharmacists
  • Dentists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Operations Research Analysts
  • Public Relations Specialists
  • Training and Development Managers
  • Fundraisers
  • News Analysts, Reporters, and Correspondents
  • Directors, Religious Activities and Education
  • Nurse Practitioners and Nurse Midwives
  • Advertising and Promotions Managers

Additional Ideas

Listed below are links to governmental and nonprofit organization home pages where some of the jobs may prefer/require proficiency or fluency in a world language.

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Vocational Biographies

Vocational Biographies describes the career success stories of 1001 real people. Search by career, title, keyword, topic, and career cluster. Username: portland su and pass code: 3w9n.

  • Foreign Service Jobs
  • Bilingual Substance Abuse Counselor
  • Interpreter/Translator

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Professional Associations

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  • See also: Working Outside the United States — From Advising and Career Services.
    • The JET Programme — "The JET Programme aims to promote internationalisation at the local level by inviting young overseas graduates to assist in international exchange and foreign language education in local governments, boards of education and junior and senior high schools throughout Japan. It seeks to foster ties between Japanese citizens (mainly youth) and JET participants at the person to person level."
    • U.S. State Department, Employment — Consular Fellows Program.
  • Transitions Abroad Online
  • USIA Fulbright Program Menu — Information about applying for Fulbright Student and Scholar Programs.
  • The Electronic Embassy — "The Electronic Embassy provides information on each of the embassies in Washington D.C., with links to Web-based resources where available."

Department of World Languages and Literatures - Portland State University

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