When is the last time you’ve used a foreign language in your daily conversation? Has it been years since your high school days of French, Spanish or Latin? As a country, the United States is entrenched in the world of diplomacy and invests more than most other nations when it comes to teaching foreign languages to it diplomats. Unfortunately, as a whole, our nation sorely lacks language skills and is often mocked for our inability to learn languages at any age.
But if you’re looking to make a career change and have a love of languages and world travel, becoming a State Department Foreign Service Officer might be the job you’ve been looking for!
Get Paid to Learn Languages
As a Foreign Service Officer (FSO) of the United States, you will spend a great portion of your career learning multiple languages in hands-on courses. While there are quick crash-course options, most studies are conducted in intensive classes that run for months or years. During your classes, you’ll spend 4-6 hours learning with your peers, and you will have homework and labs due for each session.
But before you cringe at the thought of being back in school again, consider the benefits: As a government employee, you’ll earn a stable paycheck that can net upwards of $100K if you’re a senior FSO. You’ll also be granted excellent benefits, unparalleled travel opportunities and exposure to languages and cultures from around the world.
If you have a flexible lifestyle, love to travel and want to see the world while serving your country in a non-military manner, read more about how to become a Foreign Service Officer at the American Foreign Service Association (FSA).
If a life as an FSO doesn’t sound appealing, you may want to consider becoming a translator or interpreter. While you’ll certainly have to know at least one foreign language to get your foot in the door, once you’re hired by a company most places will cross-train you to learn additional languages for free. Some of the work environments for a translator include public schools and offices, hospitals, courts and many other government offices at the local, state and national levels.
The average annual wage of an interpreter/translator in the United States is over $50K/year. If you love languages but don’t want to always be moving around the world, this might be the better option for you.