Foreign Language Degrees

The Advantages To Earning A Foreign Language Degree

A foreign language degree offers individuals with an interest in learning a second language the ability to understand modern languages like Chinese, French, German, Japanese, and Spanish. Students enrolled in foreign language degree programs gain knowledge regarding speaking, comprehending, reading, and writing a secondary languages as well as a literal, historical, and cultural understanding the particular language. Courses in most foreign language degree programs include: literature, reading skills, applied phonetics, civilization and composition, linguistics, and civilization and cultural history. Many foreign language graduates also complete studies within minor fields like English, ESL, education, journalism, psychology, social work, or comparative language. Graduates from foreign language programs advance to a number of employment options applying the skills and information learned from classroom and internship experiences.

Most students manage work and family obligations in addition to advancing their education, and in response, most colleges and universities have developed innovative online programs. Online programs extend education beyond campus grounds and feature virtually the same educational experiences as their traditional, brick and mortar counterparts. Online programs also offer added benefits like a more personalized educational experience and increased flexibility in course scheduling. Online courses generally consist of smaller class sizes, with groups of 25 students, and offer 24 hour access to course materials and instruction. Online classes also provide students with increased interactions with other classmates and instructors via one on one Internet chats. Many students find earning an online degree is one of the most efficient, affordable, and convenient means of propelling personal, educational, and professional goals.

What Students Learn Within A Foreign Language Degree Program

A foreign language degree offers students the ability to expand knowledge, increase skills in the field, and expand an understanding as well as appreciation of history, culture, and literature. Most foreign language professionals must complete studies within a bachelor degree program, in the student’s the language of interest, to qualify for employment. Many begin their education within associate degree programs to acquire a basic understanding of the field focused on the combination of core courses and specialized electives. Core courses include: English composition, College algebra, introduction to math modeling, general biology, introduction to astronomy, general biology, general chemistry, human geography, principles of macroeconomics, principles of microeconomics, American Federal government, general psychology, child development, international relations, psychology of aging, general sociology, cultural diversity, art of the ancient world, U.S. history, Western civilization, people and religion, survey of English literature to 1660, survey of English literature 1660-1832, survey of English literature 1832-present, introduction to Shakespeare, children’s literature, music appreciation, introduction to philosophy, personal ethics, interpersonal communication, effective speaking, introduction to computer programming, images of women in literature, and an internship. Students also must complete introductory, elementary, and intermediate language courses based upon their language preference in Spanish, French, or German. Graduates with associate’s degree may advance to employment or continue studies within a bachelor degree program.

A bachelor degree in foreign language provides students with an expanded knowledge of culture, literature, and preferred foreign language including: American Sign Language, Amharic, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), classical languages, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Neppali, Portuguese (Brazilian), Russian, Spanish, or Tibetan. Students within bachelor degree programs who specialize studies French to advance to teaching foreign languages participate in the following courses: English composition, texts and ideas, introduction to biology, cultures and context, the advanced college essay, inquiries into teaching and learning, college Algebra, elementary French, introduction to psychology, abnormal psychology, human growth and development, expressive cultures, introduction to sociology, language acquisition and literacy education, teaching foreign languages: theory and practice, introduction to philosophy, ethics, intermediate French, education as a social institution, field experiences and seminar: teaching foreign languages, integrating media and technology into the K-12 curriculum, the second language classroom: elementary and secondary schools, student teaching foreign language education grades 7-9, teaching students with disabilities in the general education classroom, drug and alcohol education, child abuse identification, school violence, student teaching foreign language education grades 10-12, advanced French, and an internship. Graduates who complete bachelor degree programs may advance to required licensing programs to gain employment or continue studies within master’s degree programs. Students who pursue a bachelor degree in French language and civilization complete courses like: French level 1, French level 2, French level 3, French level 4, French language in France, culture and communication, practice in spoken language, review of grammar, readings in the culture of France, readings in the Francophone cultures of the Americas, readings in the Francophone cultures of Africa, early experiences for the prospective teacher, French business communication, advanced conversation, composition and advanced grammar, introduction to literature, France of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, France from Classicism to the French Revolution, France from the Napoleonic Period to WWII, the Francophone World: Colonization to Independence, the contemporary French and Francophone world, French poetry, French phonetics, introduction to translation, teaching second languages in grades K-12, and an internship.

Master’s degree programs offer students specialized knowledge and skills necessary to advance educational and career goals. Master’s level courses in the discipline of French language and civilization include: phonetics, stylistics and semantics, translation grammatical analysis, contemporary French, French literature of the 19th Century, French literature of the 20th Century, independent reading, French cultural history, French Renaissance and modern literature, Medieval and Renaissance French, 18th Century Epistolary novels, 20th Century experimental theater, French sociolinguistics, Francophone theater, French poetry: symbolism to the present, introduction to Old French, French novel of the 20th Century, Francophone studies, evolution of French theater, the realistic and naturalistic novel in France, Medieval French literature, structure of French, second language assessment, contemporary Moroccan writers, and an internship experience. Graduates who complete master’s degree programs may advance to doctoral degree programs or employment.

A foreign language doctoral degree offers students the ability to qualify as experts upon completion of studies. Students may select from a variety of languages though a doctoral degree in French usually includes courses like: introduction to Old French, Medieval literature and Old French language, 16th Century literature, 17th Century literature, 18th Century literature, 19th century literature, 20th century literature, research methods, bibliography of the Romance languages, rhetorics, revolutions, reason and unreason, art history, comparative literature, ethics, gender studies, introduction to literary theory, directed research, a dissertation, and clinical experiences.

Prospective Jobs For Foreign Language Degree Graduates

Graduates who complete foreign language degrees qualify for a variety of employment options based upon education level, area/s of speciality, and related work experience. Graduates who complete associate degree programs frequently advance to employment as entry level readers or interpreters, particularly if they grew up speaking two languages, travel agents, or journalists with additional training. Graduates with bachelor degrees often gain employment as interpreters, teachers, readers, foreign service officers, foreign exchange trader, Sommelier, middle school teachers, or consultants. Master’s degree graduates often work as high school or vocational school teachers, managers of international businesses, language specialists, speech therapists, museum curator, lead editors, and marketing or public relations executives in international businesses. Graduates with doctoral degrees generally advance to employment as foreign language specialists for governmental agencies, professors within colleges and universities, or consultants within translating, interpreting, foreign service, journalism, public relations, marketing, or international businesses.

Salary Range For Graduates With Foreign Language Degrees

Foreign language graduates have the ability to establish long term and lucrative careers dependent upon their level of education, training specialties, geographic location, and work experiences. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reports average earnings for interpreters and translators ranges from $28,940 to $52,240 annually. Graduates who complete associates degrees and work as travel agents earn $23,940 to $38,390 annually. Graduates with bachelor degrees employed as foreign language teachers in middle schools earn $47,100 to $51,180 annually. Master’s degree graduates who work as instructors within vocational schools often earn $43,960 to $80,710 annually. Graduates who complete studies within doctoral degree programs and advance to employment as foreign language specialists working for the Federal government earn $54,794 to $79,865 annually. Graduates who complete advanced degrees, gain work experience, and gain employment within specific urban regions, particularly in New York, California, and Washington, D.C. generally have higher earnings than graduates with less education, training, and experience working in other regions.

Career Outlook and Advancement Opportunities For Foreign Language Degree Graduates

Graduates with foreign language degrees have the ability to pursue a number of careers using the training, skills, and knowledge learned from educational programs. Most graduates gain employment as interpreters and translators due to the increasing demand for qualified professionals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) expects the demand for professionals in the field to increase by 22 percent through 2018 at a much faster than average rate in comparison to other occupations. Demand for professionals with foreign language backgrounds will increase as the number of non-English speaking populations increase within the U.S. and as international relations increase. Graduates who specialize training in frequently translated languages, like Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese, are expected to find increased demand for their knowledge and skills. Graduates who specialize training in Arabic, Middle Eastern, and East Asian languages, as well as American Sign Language, are also expected to find increased employability. Graduates within urban areas, located within Washington, D.C., New York, and California, will find the best employment prospects though present trends as immigrant populations spread into rural areas will also increase job prospects within smaller cities and towns.

Competition for jobs is expected to be high for positions as conference interpreters and literary translators due to the limited number of jobs within this specialty. Graduates will find the best employment prospects in public and private educational institutions, health care, social assistance, publishing companies, and interpreting or translation agencies. Most graduates with associates or bachelor degrees begin employment within entry level positions until they gain work experience and advance to more complex or prestigious positions. Graduates with master’s or doctoral degrees generally begin employment within teaching positions and advance to lead consulting or research positions within more prestigious organizations. Many graduates establish self owned translation and consulting agencies upon gaining relevant training and experience, as well as adequate funding and securing a solid reputation in the field.

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