Those with a background in linguistics, or the study of language, can choose from several diverse career paths. It should be noted, however, that many jobs in linguistics require a graduate degree. Those with an undergraduate degree in linguistics may be eligible for such jobs as teaching English in non-English-speaking countries, working as a dialect coach, or working as a translator. Individuals with advanced degrees in linguistics can teach the subject at the university level, work as a researcher, or act as a language consultant for the legal field. Those whose educational background combines the study of linguistics with some other area of expertise may be eligible for a range of jobs, such as speech pathology or language software design.
Jobs in linguistics for those who have only an undergraduate degree in the field may be limited. These individuals may qualify to teach English as a second language in some foreign countries. They may also be able to work as a dialect coach to actors, although this position may also require an undergraduate minor in theater or some other dramatic experience. If an individual has an advanced knowledge of a second language, an undergraduate degree in linguistics may qualify her to work as a translator.
Individuals with a linguistics degree at the master’s or PhD level are generally eligible for a wider range of jobs in linguistics than those with an undergraduate degree only. They may be able to teach linguistics at a college or university, or to write or edit textbooks for undergraduate and graduate-level linguistics studies. An advanced degree in linguistics may also qualify an individual to work at a research institute, such a foundation which seeks to record and preserve tribal languages. Those with advanced linguistics degrees may also be able to work as language consultants for the legal and law enforcement fields, providing assistance analyzing language- and voice-related evidence.
Some jobs in linguistics require an educational background which combines knowledge of linguistics with training in some other area of specialization. For instance, those who wish to work as speech pathologists will likely be required to supplement undergraduate studies in linguistics with a master’s degree in speech pathology, as well as completing licensing exams. An individual who wishes to design voice-recognition software will generally need training in both linguistics and software engineering. She may thus choose to complete an undergraduate degree in linguistics and a graduate degree in software design, or vice versa.