About half the population of the Western hemisphere speaks Spanish, reports the University of Illinois-Springfield, making it a popular language for study in the United States. As for French, nearly 28 countries around the world use it as an official language, according to the Virginia Tech. This list includes Canada, America’s northern neighbor. You can take advantage of these facts by majoring and earning a living in these languages.
The median compensation for majors in French and Spanish was $45,000 per year. The lowest-earning quarter of graduates made less than $33,000 per year, while the best-paid made over an annual $68,000. This is according to the May 2011 survey of salaries by degree compiled by Georgetown University. By comparison, the median salary was $47,000 for all humanities and liberal arts graduates. Salaries for this category of study ranged from a low of $38,000 annually for theology to a high of $57,000 for U.S. history.
More than three quarters of French and Spanish majors were women and yet, they earned less than men, at a median $45,000 per year, contrasted with the men’s $56,000. This disparity was reflected in all humanities and liberal arts majors. Although women comprised 58 percent of graduates in that category, they earned a median annual $43,000, compared to the men’s median $50,000 per year. Even in art history and criticism, where women comprised nearly 85 percent of the graduates, they earned a median $45,000 per year compared with the men’s median annual $52,000.
Almost half of all language graduates obtained graduate degrees, which granted a 43 percent boost in salaries. This compares to only 41 percent of all liberal arts majors going for the higher degree to earn a 48 percent increase. Language masters pushed median annual salaries to $64,350, with a range of less than $47,190 to more than $97,240. About 93 percent of language graduates found jobs, with 80 percent of that number working full-time and 20 percent working part-time.
The largest employment category for French and Spanish majors was management, which had 17 percent of the total positions. Office and education jobs were next, with 16 percent each, followed by sales at 13 percent. Obvious careers for graduates include administrative and sales positions in international companies that deal with countries where Spanish or French is a first language. Travel and tourism companies also hire graduates to conduct tours in those languages, while educational institutions use employees to teach foreign languages to students. Interpreters and translators use their skills to translate verbal and written communications to and from English.
- University of Illinois Springfield: Why Choose Spanish as Your New Foreign Language?
- Virginia Tech: French, the Most Practical Foreign Language
- Georgetown University: What’s It Worth – Humanities and Liberal Arts?
- Georgetown University: What’s It Worth?
- University of Tennessee: What Can I Do with This Major – Foreign Language?
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