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  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Applied linguistics
  • Teacher training

  • Curriculum development
  • Test/Assessment development
  • Foreign language instruction
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction

  • English to Speakers of Other Language (TESOL)
  • Instruction
  • Literacy development
  • Information/Library science


  • Universities and colleges
  • K-12 school systems

  • Language institutes
  • Community education programs
  • Testing companies (e.g., ETS)


  • To teach in higher education, earn a doctoral degree in linguistics or a related subject such as English, philosophy, speech pathology, or foreign language.
  • As an undergraduate, maintain a high GPA and secure strong recommendations from faculty.
  • Serve as a tutor, peer mentor, or other student leader.
  • Look for opportunities to assist faculty with research.
  • Study languages, both Indo-European and non-Indo-European.
  • To be more competitive for tenure-track positions in linguistics, plan to complete a post-doc and gain experience with multiple subfields or those that are more applied. Subfields include: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, dialectology, pragmatics, and language acquisition.
  • Earn relevant graduate degrees to prepare for other fields such as, information science, ESL/TESOL, or language education.
  • Foreign language instruction requires teacher certification for K-12 and a doctoral degree for postsecondary.
  • To prepare for work with non-native English speakers, get involved with the campus or local international community. Study abroad and attend multi-cultural events on campus or in the community.
  • Research the many programs available for teaching English abroad. Consider earning a certificate or seeking specialized training to prepare for these positions.


Computational Linguistics

  • Speech synthesis
  • Speech recognition
  • Natural language processing
  • Text-Content analysis

  • Machine translation
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Database or Lexicon development

  • Information extraction
  • Text mining
  • Research


  • e-Businesses (e.g., Amazon)
  • Software developers
  • Computer companies (e.g., IBM, Microsoft)

  • Natural-language processor firms
  • Search engines (e.g., Google)
  • Database developers
  • Other business firms


  • Earn a master’s or doctoral degree in linguistics, computer science or computational linguistics.
  • Supplement undergraduate curriculum with courses in computer science.
  • Develop skills in computer programming, computer scripting, natural language processing techniques, and other relevant technologies.
  • Gain experience by completing an internship in the computer industry.
  • Read use/net or netnews groups and professional journals to understand current trends in the field.
  • Be prepared to continuously learn new computer languages and technologies to stay abreast of changes.
  • This area represents some of the higher-demand opportunities within linguistics.



  • Translation
  • Interpretation
  • Localization

  • Forensic linguistics
  • Cryptology
  • Intelligence

  • Analysis
  • Writing
  • Editing


  • Federal government:
    • National Security Agency
    • Central Intelligence Agency
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation
    • Foreign Service
    • Armed Forces

  • State and local government:
    • Police departments


  • Seek leadership roles in relevant campus groups such as model United Nations, student government, and cross-cultural organizations.
  • Develop skills in computers, statistics, and data analysis.
  • Acquire foreign language competency and travel experience for international positions. Consider studying critical needs languages (e.g., Arabic, Farsi, Chinese, Russian, Spanish).
  • Complete an internship with the federal government.  There are a large number of specialized agencies within the federal government. Do extensive research in order to find the area that best fits your interests and to learn about candidate requirements.
  • Become familiar with the government application process. Utilize applicable websites and seek assistance from your college career center.


Communication Disorders

  • Speech pathology
  • Language disorders
  • Audiology

  • Aural rehabilitation
  • Neurocommunicative science
  • Cognitive sciences

  • Teaching
  • Research


  • Schools, K-12
  • Universities and colleges
  • Hospitals
  • Physicians’ offices
  • Speech, language, and hearing centers
  • Developmental learning centers

  • Home healthcare offices
  • Nursing homes
  • Residential facilities
  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Private individual or group practice
  • Public health departments
  • Rehabilitation centers

  • Federal agencies:
    • Department of Veterans Affairs
    • National Institutes of Health
    • Department of Health and Human Services
    • Department of Education
    • Armed Services


  • The study of communication disorders is interdisciplinary and draws upon linguistics, speech pathology, audiology, and psychology. Research prerequisite courses for graduate school admission and take the appropriate undergraduate classes.
  • A master’s degree from an accredited speech language pathology program is required to enter that field. A doctoral degree is commonly required for audiology. Most states require certification of speech pathologists and all states for audiologists. Obtain the Certificate of Clinical Competence in Speech-Language Pathology or Audiology offered by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
  • Take courses in American Sign Language.
  • Maintain a high GPA and seek related experiences to be competitive for graduate school.
  • Learn to work well people of varying ages and backgrounds, including those with disabilities.
  • Develop patience as progress in clients may be slow.


Additional Areas

  • Translation
  • Interpreting
  • Language documentation
  • Fieldwork

  • Lexicography (work with dictionaries)
  • Technical writing
  • Editing
  • Journalism

  • Medical linguistics
  • Forensic linguistics
  • Product naming
  • Consulting


  • Government agencies
  • Foreign governments
  • International businesses

  • Hospitals
  • Courts
  • Publishers: Magazine, book, textbook, dictionary
  • Internet sites

  • Manufacturers of consumer products
  • Law firms
  • Consulting firms


  • There are many employment settings in which students can utilize a degree in linguistics.
  • Research areas of interest and seek the appropriate education, skills, and experiences to qualify for that field.
  • Some of these areas will require graduate degrees in linguistics or educational background in other disciplines.
  • Gain relevant experience through internships.

General Information

  • Linguistics is an interdisciplinary field and therefore good preparation for a wide variety of graduate programs: linguistics, speech pathology, audiology, cognitive sciences, English, law, journalism, foreign languages, etc.
  • Students who major in linguistics develop strong analytical and communication skills and the ability to debate. They are commonly required to gain proficiency in a second language.
  • Students should consider a secondary area of study such as, foreign language, computer science, psychology, or other area of interest to increase opportunities for employment or graduate school.
  • Consider study abroad and getting involved with the international community on campus. Attend language conversation tables.
  • Research career paths of interest and seek to gain the skills, experiences, and degrees necessary to work in that field.
  • Conduct informational interviews with or shadow professionals to learn about various work environments.
  • Join related professional associations as a student member.
  • Because many career paths require graduate education, learn about the graduate school admissions process and build a strong candidacy.
  • Gain relevant experience through jobs, volunteer positions, or internships.