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Languages

Careers

Many careers directly related to modern languages require higher education - and sometimes post graduate – qualifications. They include:

  • English as a foreign language teacher
  • Interpreter
  • Teacher / lecturer
  • Translator

Any organisation that works or trades with other countries will need staff who understand different languages and cultures. This means there are many jobs where language skills are welcomed, although there will be other entry requirements too. Here’s a selection:

  • Air cabin crew
  • Airport information assistant
  • Bi-lingual PA 
  • Conference centre manager
  • Customs officer
  • Diplomatic services officer
  • Distribution manager 
  • Events manager
  • Hotel receptionist
  • Immigration officer
  • Import / export clerk
  • International aid worker Journalist
  • Logistics manager
  • Market researcher
  • Marketing executive 
  • Patent examiner
  • Public relations officer
  • Retail buyer
  • Sales executive
  • Social media manager
  • Solicitor
  • Teaching assistant
  • Tour guide
  • Tourist information assistant
  • Travel agent

There are different routes into these careers, including higher education and, in some cases, apprenticeships.

Skills

Studying modern languages can help you develop wider skills such as:

  • Adaptability
  • Attention to detail
  • Communication skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Cultural awareness
  • IT
  • Information handling
  • Organising
  • Planning and research
  • Presentation
  • Team work Time management Understanding other points of view
  • Working independently

These skills are needed for jobs at different levels and with a range of entry routes, e.g.

  • Accountant
  • Advertising account executive 
  • Bookseller
  • Care worker
  • Careers adviser
  • Chef
  • Copywriter
  • Customer services assistant
  • Information officer
  • Legal executive
  • Librarian / library assistant
  • Nurse
  • Police officer
  • Retail manager
  • Sales assistant
  • Social worker
  • Speech & language therapist
  • Telephone sales assistant
  • Waiter / waitress
  • Web content manager
  • Youth / community worker

Routes

There are different routes into many careers, including further education, higher education and apprenticeships.

You must stay in learning until age 18. This can be in full time study, an apprenticeship or other job with training or a work based learning programme such as a traineeship.

There are many ways of studying languages at university. For example, you can combine them with subjects such as law, business, economics, engineering and sciences. In some cases, you can study a language without any previous knowledge (e.g. Japanese).

You may need other subjects alongside your languages, particularly maths and English which are important for most careers.

Did You Know?

JK Rowling studied French and Classics at the University of Exeter.

If you want to learn the world’s most commonly spoken language then Mandarin Chinese is the way to go - with over a billion speakers!

Find Out More 

For more job ideas, visit: nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/youngpeople then follow links to ‘Aged 13-19’ and ‘Do something you’re good at’.

If you’re thinking about higher education, visit www.prospects.ac.uk to see what modern language graduates have done after their degree.

Other Websites