Careers in Spanish

Students cheer on the Redhawks during a sporting event at Miami University.

Miami Medical 1

By majoring in Spanish, you will develop these skills:

  • Strong written and oral communication skills
  • Proficiency in Spanish (all skills: speaking, writing, reading and listening)
  • Problem solving and thinking analytically and creatively
  • Conducting research and constructing arguments
  • Intercultural competence and global awareness

According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities 2013 employer survey1, the top three skills employers most value in college graduates are:

  1. Critical thinking and analytical reasoning
  2. Complex problem solving and analysis
  3. Written and oral communication

Through courses for the Spanish Major and for the Miami Plan, students who graduate with a degree in Spanish have shown exceptional skills in these areas and are competitively positioned to enter the work force.

Possible Careers

A degree in Spanish opens the doors to many jobs in a variety of sectors. Consider these possibilities:

Education: Spanish teacher, bilingual educator, English as a Second Language teacher, curriculum specialist, teacher trainer, GED instructor, multicultural education & outreach, Teach for America volunteer, textbook publishing company copy editor, marketer or development specialist

Service: translator/interpreter, social worker, community outreach specialist, youth services, client services coordinator, events logistical liaison, various positions in non-profits and non-governmental organizations, income tax consultant, museum work, historian, researcher, law enforcement, public health, nursing, medicine, legal assistant, paraprofessional, travel agent, tour guide, cultural events coordinator

Government: translator/interpreter, court interpreter, cultural attaché, research associate, foreign service diplomat, immigration specialist, US customs officer, intelligence specialist (FBI, CIA, DEA), volunteer for service programs (Peace Corps, AmeriCorps or VISTA, etc.), various positions in Agency for International Development; Department of Treasury, Census Bureau, Armed Forces, etc.

Communications: translator/interpreter, journalist, TV/radio/web writer or editor, production crew member, executive, technician, advertiser for Spanish-speaking markets, publishing editor or specialist

Business: translator/interpreter, bilingual customer support, international relations consultant, personnel manager, recruiter, administrative assistant, business development manager, researcher, technical writer, fashion buyer, medical research writer, liaison for U.S. firms abroad, liaison for foreign firms in U.S., marketing, advertising, sales, public relations, international law, banking, import/export firms, airport and airline personnel, booking/reservations, management in travel industry, restaurants or hotels

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the top-paying liberal arts majors for 2014 graduates are foreign languages and literature with an average starting salary of $46,900.2

“Translators and interpreters are expected to be one of the 15 fastest growing occupations in the nation, according to the Department of Labor”, as reported by CNN Money.3

Selecting a Minor or Co-Major

When selecting your co-major or minor it is important to consider where your future interests lie. For instance, if you think you might like to pursue a career managing a non-profit, working for a non-governmental organization, or working in business, you might consider a business minor. A background in analytics or statistics could support your work doing research for a government agency or foundation. If you see yourself working in diplomacy or development, consider a co-major in Latin American Studies or International Studies. If you are interested in technology, coupling your Spanish major with a major or minor that includes coding could make you particularly marketable. If law school or medical school is in your future, consider a pre-law or pre-med major. To talk more about your future interests and how to make yourself most marketable to employers, visit the Career Services website or make an appointment with your Career Adviser.

Spanish use throughout the World

Spanish is the official language of 21 countries.

Spanish serves as an official language of the United Nations, the European Union, World Trade Organization, North American Free Trade Agreement, and the World Bank.

After Chinese, Spanish is the second most commonly used language in the world with currently 500 million native speakers.4

Spanish is the third most commonly used language online where it has grown by 800% in the past few years, according to a 2013 report from Spain’s Cervantes Institute.5

The Hispanic population in the United States constitutes 17 percent of the nation's total population, making people of Hispanic origin the largest ethnic or racial minority in the country. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that Hispanics will make up 31% of the U.S. population by 2060.6

Miami Students Seated

1Hart Research Associates. “It Takes More Than a Major: Employer Priorities for College Learning and Student Success.” Liberal Education. 99.2 (2013). Association of American Colleges and Universities. Web. 21 May 2014.

2Kurtz, Annalyn. “The hottest job skill is…” CNN Money. CNN, Fortune & Money. 30 Oct. 2013. Web. 20 May 2014.

3Weber, Lauren. “The Liberal Arts Majors That  Pay the Most.” At Work. The Wall Street Journal. 15 May 2014. Web. 19 May 2014.

4Alganaraz, Juan Carlos. “As Spanish Nears Half a Billion Speakers Worldwide, Its Next Conquest is Asia.” Worldcrunch 21 Jan. 2013. Web. 2 June 2014. Web. 30 May 2014.

5Resumen del Informe 2013 ‘El español: una lengua viva’.” Instituto Cervantes, n.d. Web. 30 May 2014.

6United States. Census Bureau. Profile America Facts for Features: Hispanic Heritage Month 2013: Sept. 15-Oct. 15. N.p. n.p. 30 July 2013. Web. 30 May 2014.