Careers in Linguistics

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What Can I do with a Degree in Linguistics?

The field of linguistics is extremely diverse, intersecting with many areas such as anthropology, computer science, engineering, foreign language study, neurology, philosophy, psychology, sociology, and speech & hearing science, among others. As a result, a degree in linguistics can provide the foundation for a wide range of jobs and careers (see below for some examples). Studying linguistics helps you develop many important skills such as analytical and critical thinking, problem solving, argumentation, data collection and analysis, and written and oral expression. As a student of linguistics, you will become familiar with many different languages and cultures and, as a result, also develop cross-cultural skills. Each of these skills are useful in many careers that may not otherwise seem related to linguistics. Below you will find a list of some of the career paths that graduates with a BA in linguistics have followed as well as some references that may prove useful. Doing a search on google.com for 'linguistics jobs' may also yield some interesting results.

Language teaching

  • foreign language teaching
  • teaching English as a second language
  • teaching English as a foreign language
  • teaching English as a first language
  • teaching in literacy programs

Information technology

  • natural language processing
  • speech recognition, speech synthesis
  • language data analyst

Publishing

  • editor (for a publishing house, working with government or educational documents)
  • lexicographer (e.g. working for Merriam-Webster)
  • technical writer

Language Services Industry

  • translator/editor
  • interpreter (in-person or remote)
  • subtitler

Professions

  • speech pathologist/therapist
  • accent coach
  • audiologist
  • college/university professor (combining research, teaching and service)
  • lawyer
  • medical doctor or researcher

Miscellaneous

  • librarian civil service employee
  • foreign relief worker
  • computer programmer
  • writer/editor
  • marketing specialist
  • missionary, e.g. working for SIL (Summer Institute of Linguistics www.sil.org), Wycliffe Bible Translators

Some resources:

  • Hudson, Richard. 1990. Careers for Linguistics Graduates. For the Linguistics Association of Great Britain.
  • Seelye, H. Ned and J. Laurence Day. 2001. Careers for Foreign Language Aficionados and Other Multilingual Types. McGraw-Hill.
  • Jobs Area Index from the International Linguists Community Online
  • Monster.com: jobs for linguists
  • Career Planning from the University of New Hampshire.
  • The Riley Guide: Sites with Job Listings