Last Updated: August 07, 2022
Study Foreign Language in the US
Candidates who wish to take up a foreign language program will be able to choose from different options owing to their interests and the career path they wish to follow. The degree programs in this field are generally intensive programs that deal with the literature, culture, and other aspects that are of importance in understanding the language. Most often, students take a minor in Foreign Language Education along with a degree in a foreign language to get a teaching license in the subject.
Candidates will be able to take a degree in foreign languages at different levels. Each of these levels will provide them with different career opportunities. Most candidates take a bachelor’s in a foreign language which will provide them with 120 credits in the subject allowing them to take up around 37% of career options in this field. But students who wish to invest fewer years into their education will be able to take an associate’s degree in the subject and still get plenty of work opportunities.
Benefits of Taking a Foreign Language Program
The benefits of studying a foreign language lie in the increasing need the world has for bilingual speakers in every work field. Candidates who have taken a foreign language will be able to find work opportunities in every field of work and they will also have the additional benefit of understanding the culture and literature of another country. While studying a foreign language, one will be exposed to the evolution of the language and the different historical, political, and social changes that shaped the language into what it is now. One will also be able to upgrade their personality and increase their work opportunities. A few of the other benefits include-
- Taking a degree in foreign languages imply that the student has plenty of options to choose from. They will be able to choose from African languages, Romance languages, Middle Eastern languages, Asian languages, and even the American Sign Language, each of which offers different career opportunities.
- Candidates will have the opportunity of understanding the culture and literature of the language along with the different dialects and accents involved.
- Most courses will offer candidates in-depth knowledge relating to the history, religion, and philology of the country allowing candidates to become interpreters and translators in the language.
- This is increasingly being one of the most popular degrees opted for by international students with an average of around 34k degrees awarded in the US every year.
- There is also an estimated 9% growth in the job market until 2026 for professions that require a foreign language degree. Candidates will be able to work in the government sector with high-paying jobs being provided within the international relations department or they could even be foreign services officers.
- Candidates who wish for a career change will be able to rise ahead with international opportunities and promotions that being bilingual can offer them.
- There are over 7,500 foreign language programs offered in the country from which candidates will be able to choose. The main categories from which candidates can choose include-
- Romance Languages
- Comparative Literature
- American Sign Language
- Classical Languages & Literature
- Asian Languages
- Middle Eastern Languages
- African Languages
Cost of Taking a Foreign Language Degree
The cost of taking a foreign language degree is dependent on the level of education one is opting for and the kind of funding the institution receives. Private institutions charge a higher tuition fee than public institutions but at the same time, public universities will have different fee structures for resident and non-resident students. Non-resident students will sometimes have to pay even triple the fee that resident students are paying.
The estimated fee for a foreign language program is around $9,000 for residents and around $30,000 for non-residents.
Undergraduate Programs in Foreign Language
Candidates who wish to take an undergraduate program in a foreign language will be able to choose from a bachelor’s program or an associate degree in the subject of their choice. Most often, students are required to meet different eligibility requirements based on the subject they have chosen. The credit requirements that one will have to fulfill and the duration of the program will vary based on the level of degree they have taken up. The degree they have chosen will also determine the kind of job opportunity they will receive and their potential in future research on the subject.
Associate Degree in a Foreign Language
Associate degrees in foreign languages are taken by candidates who wish to specialize in other professional programs but will eventually require being bilingual for specific job environments. This program is chosen because it has a duration of only 2 years and candidates will be able to enroll in this program without having to meet a lot of eligibility requirements. Candidates will be awarded 60 to 70 credits upon completing an associate degree in the subject.
Not all universities will have associate degrees in every foreign language possible and such degrees are often provided by community colleges instead of bigger university spaces where bachelor’s programs are more valued. Associate degrees do not delve deeply into the history and literature part of the program but will mainly be focused on the language skills and other professional usages of the language that candidates will eventually require.
Bachelor’s Degree in a Foreign Language
Candidates who wish to take a full-time and highly valued program in a foreign language and those who eventually wish to research within the same field opt for a bachelor’s degree in the subject. Taking this degree will open up different career possibilities within the field with around 37% of related jobs being taken by graduates alone. Bachelor’s programs are generally offered by universities with candidates being able to choose from plenty of options as provided by the university. Most often, candidates opt for institutions that provide the language they are looking for.
A bachelor’s program will have a duration of 4 years and candidates will receive around 120 credits upon completing the program. This program will mainly focus on aspects like linguistic skills, literary appreciation, etc. along with classes for history, culture, etc. associated with the language of one’s choosing.
Admission Requirements for Foreign Language Programs
The admission requirements for foreign language programs are dependent on the language one has chosen as the major. These requirements will vary based on the university one has chosen and the level of the degree one plans to attend. A few of the general eligibility requirements that one will have to meet include-
- Educational Transcripts
- Letters of Recommendation
- Statement of Purpose
- ACT/SAT Score
- GPA of 3 or above
Master’s Degree in Foreign Language
Candidates who have completed a bachelor’s program in a foreign language generally opt to take a master’s degree in the same subject. Taking a master’s degree in the subject allows them to specialize further in the subject and thereby get better job opportunities upon course completion. A master’s program will involve 1 to 3 years of education with students receiving 50 to 70 credits based on the institution. Around 25% of the people pursuing careers in this field will have a master’s degree in the subject of their choosing. They get paid higher salaries when compared to others.
Doctoral Program in a Foreign Language
Candidates who wish to further specialize in an area under the foreign language of their choosing will be able to do so by taking a doctoral degree in the subject. They will be able to either work on the linguistic or literature part of the language or they will be able to take up theoretical aspects related to the history or culture from which the language developed. They will also be able to blend philosophical and other research questions into the aspects of language they wish to focus on while working on their research agenda.
A doctoral program in the subject will include completing both the necessary core work and submitting a thesis or dissertation in the research area of their choice. This can take above 4 years of study.
Popular Foreign Languages to Choose From
Candidates who are taking up a degree in foreign languages will be able to choose from a variety of options. They will be able to choose from American/Native American languages, African languages, Asian languages, Middle Eastern languages, and even literature based on each of these languages. While the most popular option among all international students is English, there is a trend that allows students to take up languages like Chinese, Japanese, and French which will allow them to pursue exemplary career options. A few of the most popular languages that are chosen by students include-
Candidates will also be able to take programs like-
- Language Studies
- American Sign Language
Top Universities for Foreign Languages
A few of the best universities from which one can study foreign languages are-
- Harvard University
- Columbia University
- Stanford University
- Duke University
- Williams College
- Middlebury College
- Vanderbilt University
- Princeton University
- Rice University
- University of Chicago
Career Opportunities after Foreign Language
Candidates who have taken a degree in a foreign language will be able to pursue their career immediately after an associate or bachelor's degree or they will be able to continue their education until their doctoral degree and then become a university professor. The job outlook for professions in this field estimates a 9% growth within the industry and sets an estimated average starting salary of $29.4k per year. The lowest salary that one can get in the field is around $14,500 whereas the highest is estimated to be around $58,000 per year.
- High School Teacher- Candidates will be able to become a language teacher at a high school level depending on the kind of language they have chosen. They will also have to take a teacher licensure before entering an institution.
Median Salary: $62,000 per year
- University Professor- Candidates who have completed their doctorate program in a foreign language and have the necessary hours invested in research will be able to qualify to be university professors.
Median Salary: $80,000 per year
- Interpreter- Candidates who are well-versed in speaking and listening bilingually will be able to become an interpreter between the two languages with the necessary qualification.
Median Salary: $49,000 per year
- Translator- Candidates who become interpreters will also often have to translate the content into other languages. They will be working in schools, hospitals, meeting rooms, etc., and can have varying work hours.
Median Salary: $49,000 per year
- Technical Writer- They will be able to write technical content for companies including instruction manuals, journal articles, etc. Candidates with a bachelor’s degree will be able to become technical writers without further qualifications.
Median Salary: $78,000 per year