Updated March 10, 2023
Linguistics is the study of language and how it’s used. Many careers in linguistics offer exciting opportunities to learn about different patterns and concepts in language that affect their uses around the world. You might thrive in a linguistics job if you have an interest in languages and want to engage in the scientific aspects of language. In this article, we explore 10 jobs you can qualify for with a degree in linguistics.
What is a linguistics degree?
Linguistics is the study of languages and the technical aspects of how they’re used in different ways across communities. Students who major in linguistics typically earn a Bachelor of Arts degree that trains them in the basics and complicated concepts that surround language. Some courses that linguistics students might take include phonetics, morphology, syntax and historical linguistics. All of these can inform your understanding of your own language as well as how other languages in different locations function differently or in similar ways.
10 jobs you can apply for with a linguistics degree
Here are 10 jobs you can get with a degree in linguistics:
National average salary: $24,657 per year
Primary duties: A linguist is a specialist who researches and evaluates different aspects of language. Linguists might specialize in a particular language and research it in-depth, or they might specialize in a concept of language, like history or syntax. Many linguists also work for companies that provide editing services for written documents and can help with details like localization, grammar and sentence structure.
2. Copy editor
National average salary: $34,506 per year
Primary duties: A copy editor is a writing professional who edits copy and written documents for accuracy. Copy editors can proofread text for grammar, correct syntax and sentence structure and can edit documents to improve their clarity. Many copy editors work for companies that produce large amounts of content or marketing materials, but they can also work for written publications, advertising agencies or on a freelance basis.
National average salary: $46,135 per year
Primary duties: A translator is a linguistic professional who translates text and communications from one language to another. Translators are typically experts in at least two languages, but many translators have expertise in a wide variety of languages. A translator might work for a government agency, public facility or in any position that works with people who speak multiple languages to facilitate communication and provide translations for written documents, oral conversations and more.
National average salary: $55,256 per year
Primary duties: A foreign language teacher is an educator who helps students learn a new language. Foreign language teachers can work with classes that contain multiple students or with individual students on a one-on-one basis. A foreign language teacher can instruct students on aspects of a language like vocabulary, written grammar, sentence structure and pronunciation while speaking, all of which can contribute to mastering a new language. Most foreign language teachers are experts in at least two languages, their native language and the language they teach, but they might also have expertise in multiple foreign languages.
National average salary: $57,995 per year
Primary duties: A technical writer is a professional who produces written content for a company or organization about a specific topic. Technical writers can conduct research on new products and draft written content such as training manuals, product specification documents and instructions for consumers. Many technical writers also work on a freelance basis, which can offer a flexible work schedule and opportunities to work from home.
Related: Learn About Being a Technical Writer
National average salary: $59,660 per year
Primary duties: A copywriter is a writer who creates content for businesses and organizations. Copywriters typically write content that is designed to encourage customers to purchase a company’s products or use its services. This can include social media content, online articles, press releases and marketing materials. Many copywriters work for large corporations or companies that engage in a lot of marketing, but copywriters can also work for copywriting firms or on a freelance basis.
Related: Learn About Being a Copywriter
National average salary: $60,155 per year
Primary duties: A language specialist is a professional who translates languages through interpretation and transcription. Language specialists can interpret verbal communications and translate them from one language to another. A language specialist might also transcribe verbal communications into written text, either in the same language that it’s spoken in or in another language. Language specialists can also specialize in a specific field, like medicine, law or American Sign Language.
National average salary: $64,409 per year
Primary duties: A professor is an educator who teaches courses at a college or university. They can create lesson plans, give lectures and assignments to students and guide classes through planned classroom activities. Professors in linguistics can teach a wide array of classes, like linguistics, philosophy and speech and communication sciences. Linguistics professors might also teach in subjects like anthropology or other social sciences that explore how different communities and populations use language.
National average salary: $80,383 per year
Primary duties: A speech language pathologist is a professional who treats people with communication disorders or who experience challenges when speaking. Speech language pathologists can diagnose language disorders, create treatment plans and administer therapy that can help improve a person’s speech. A speech language pathologist can also teach patients new techniques for building muscle that can contribute to their ability to speak clearly and swallow. Most speech pathologists work in educational or medical facilities, but they can also work on a contract basis and travel to individual patients.
National average salary: $107,917 per year
Primary duties: A computational linguist is a professional in the technology industry who uses language and computing to find solutions for technical challenges. Computational linguists can work with several different computer functions, including artificial intelligence, machine translation and grammar and style checking. Many computation linguists work in laboratories, for universities or at large software companies that produce and design technological devices.