What Can I Do with a Degree in Spanish or Portuguese?

Speaking a foreign language opens up a whole new world of opportunities and broadens your view and understanding of international culture. Many career options are open to Spanish and Portuguese speakers including employment in Business, Culture/Tourism, Education, Government, Non-Profit Work, and Publishing.


Some available positions include: International Relations Consultant, Foreign Exchange Trader, Publishing Specialist, Foreign Correspondent, Proofreader, Importer/Exporter, Translator/Interpreter, International Account Manager, International Banking Officer, and Bilingual Customer Support.

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In the business world, you may find work as a translator for businesses who work with Portuguese and Spanish-speaking countries or who are trying to build a relationship with the community. This work may involve planning events or creating sales pitches that relate to the culture, editing or translating documents in Portuguese or Spanish, or simply translating a business meeting. An advertising agency may hire you to help with ad campaigns that have a Portuguese or Spanish component to avoid cultural misunderstandings or mistakes in translation.


Some available positions include: Cultural Events Coordinator, Travel Agent, Translator/Interpreter, and Escort/Interpreter/Guide.


Some available positions include: Bilingual Educator, College Professor

While a Spanish or Portuguese major can combine a bachelor’s degree in Spanish or Portuguese with a teacher certification program to become a Spanish or Portuguese teacher, teaching in a classroom is not the only education-based option. School districts with large populations of Hispanic or Luso-Brazilian students often hire translators and liaisons to work with parents, translate documents, and help them gain a better understanding of the culture. If you like the idea of helping students learn Spanish or Portuguese, you can work online as a tutor or use your understanding of the language to help those who already speak Spanish or Portuguese learn English.


Some available positions include: National Security Agent, Immigration Officer, Court Interpreter, Cultural Attaché, UNESCO Official, Translator/Interpreter, FBI Agent, Foreign Diplomat Missionary, and Foreign Service Officer.

In order to make themselves accessible to Spanish-speaking Americans, government organizations need people who speak Spanish and understand Hispanic culture. Government jobs for Spanish speakers include working as an interpreter to help Spanish-speaking Americans receive benefits, navigate the legal system, or simply communicate with a government agency. You may also be involved with translating agency forms and other documents into Spanish. Beyond helping Spanish-speaking Americans connect with government agencies, you may find yourself working at an embassy in a Spanish-speaking country, serving as a CIA or FBI agent or contributing to other government departments that handle foreign affairs.

AircraftNon-Profit Work

Many non-profit agencies cater to the Hispanic community. Your knowledge and understanding of Hispanic culture will come into play. Your job may be to find ways to raise awareness of the non-profit organization in the Hispanic community, or to gain the trust of community members. Knowing the language can be key in accomplishing this. Depending on the agency, you may also find yourself as a community educator leading ESL classes, summer camps, and other activities designed to appeal to the Hispanic community.


The publishing industry is full of publications written in Spanish and Portuguese. Many major magazines and newspapers have Spanish or Portuguese versions that require new or re-focused articles. Websites and online publishers designed for a Hispanic or Luso-Brazilian audience also regularly seek writers. In addition to writing for a publication, you may work as an editor for these publications or for a translated work, verifying the accuracy of the translation and looking for areas where the original English did not translate well. You may find work in other areas of publishing as well. For example, you might write subtitles for movies or translate literature into Spanish or Portuguese.