Careers in Linguistics

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 thinking, problem solving, argumentation, critical thinking, 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

Publishing

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

Professions

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

Miscellaneous

  • interpretor/translator, e.g. for a publisher, the U.S. State Department or other government agencies
  • missionary, e.g. working for SIL (Summer Institute of Linguistics www.sil.org), Wycliffe Bible Translators
  • librarian
  • civil service employee
  • computer programmer
  • writer
  • advertising industry employee

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.

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