Learning a language can expand your career opportunities by preparing you to work in a variety of environments. Language skills and cultural sensitivity are quickly becoming vital assets to a growing number of careers as the need for multilingual employees increases. For example, you may want to major in a particular foreign language and become certified to teach. This would enable you to take a job either teaching that foreign language, teaching English as a foreign language, or teaching in a bilingual setting. Combining languages with the study of business can help prepare the student for jobs in foreign commerce, including banking, marketing, import-export, purchasing, finance, advertising, consulting, etc. Combining language with law studies could lead to a career in international law.

Included among the numerous professions, in which a knowledge of foreign languages can be helpful, are the following: government service, social work, architecture, engineering, journalism, public relations, library service, archaeology, philosophy, medicine, the travel industry, telecommunications, music, theater, and research scholarship. 

Language and business studies can prepare you for work in international commerce, such as:

  • banking
  • marketing
  • import export
  • purchasing
  • finance
  • advertising
  • consulting

Other professions in which knowledge of languages can be helpful may include:

  • government service
  • social work
  • architecture
  • engineering
  • journalism
  • public relations
  • library service
  • archaeology
  • philosophy
  • medicine
  • the travel industry
  • telecommunications
  • music
  • theater
  • research

Careers that benefit or require language skills:


  • International telephone operators
  • Foreign news correspondents
  • Foreign news photographers
  • Translators of books, articles, and reviews
  • Film production and entertainment media
  • Editors for university and other presses


  • Fashion buyers
  • Personnel managers
  • Public relations experts
  • Business executives
  • Representatives of foreign companies
  • International banking and finance
  • International lawyers and patent attorneys

Government Services

  • Diplomatic corps
  • Court interpreters and translators
  • U.S. customs agents
  • U.S. Naturalization Service agents
  • U.S. Postal Service
  • Intelligence work

Social Services

  • Nursing in ethnic communities
  • Law enforcement officers
  • Public assistance interviewers
  • Health services
  • Multilingual defense attorneys

Information Services

  • Translators of foreign publications in private and public libraries
  • Classifiers of foreign documents
  • Research librarians, library acquisition specialists


  • Textbook authors and editors
  • Public education teachers in bilingual settings
  • Language teachers
  • University schools of education
  • Teaching of English as a Second Language (TESOL)
  • Overseas teaching for private corporations and international schools

Scientific Fields

  • Scientific research and translating
  • Archaeology
  • Museum studies
  • Hospital management
  • Studying or practicing medicine in the United States or overseas

Travel Services

  • Hotel and resort staff and management
  • Travel agents
  • Airline flight attendants
  • Airport personnel
  • Foreign travel advisors
  • Tour guides