5 Linguistics Degree Career Options

Linguistics is the study of languages and how the parts of languages work together and in contrast with other languages and there are many career options for graduates with a linguistics degrees.

1. Language Teacher

Language teachers instruct students on a wide variety of languages, from acquiring English as a Second Language (ESL) to teaching tourists how to communicate while on their travels. Linguistics majors who go on to become language teachers at the K-12 level will have to acquire a teaching certificate, either by taking a second degree in education, or by pursuing a work for certification experience, such as Teach for America. Though it is possible to begin teaching ESL with only a bachelor's degree, many ESL teachers pursue certification, such as Cambridge ESOL, or a diploma or graduate degree in teaching ESL.

2. Dialect Coach

Accent reduction or dialect coaches are professionals, usually linguistic graduates who help language learners and performers to develop their accent. A linguist with a background in the performing arts can find work assisting actors to develop their dialect for a performance, or they can help performers, such as opera singers, improve their articulation for a performance. Many linguists with a background in ESL teaching will also combine this skill to teach their students how to reduce their accent when speaking English, which can improve the student's performance at school and work.

3. Speech Language Pathologist

With additional training, such as a graduate degree in speech language pathology, a linguistics major can assist people who have difficulties producing language due to a congenital condition, a cognition difficulty or during rehabilitation from an injury such as a stroke. Speech language pathologists work in schools and clinics and they can also find employment as researchers.

4. Software Careers

The software industry also offers opportunities for linguistic majors, asking linguists to develop search software, voice recognition software, dictionaries and translation software. Linguistic majors can also find careers helping to develop artificial intelligences that interact with people through voice and text. There are internships and entry-level positions for undergraduates in linguistics, though some of these positions will require workers that have graduate degrees.

Language developer. A new area in the software industry is in the gaming industry where a video game company will hire a linguistics major to develop a new language for their game world. For example, BioWare hired a linguistics PhD to develop a language for their game Jade Empire. Movies, television and online media are other areas that will hire linguists for this purpose.

5. Translator/Interpreter

Though studying another language is not required in most linguistics degree programs, linguistics majors who speak two or more languages can find work as translators and interpreters. Translators provide written translations of texts, such as business documents, manuals, educational material and literary works. An interpreter translates the language orally, and they can find employment judicial services, health care and social work, though these industries usually prefer certification or an advanced degree. There are positions for interpreters in local, state and federal governments, as well as opportunities in international agencies such as the United Nations. There are also employment opportunities for translators and interpreters in the military, intelligence, foreign service and diplomatic corps.