Paella, gazpacho, tortilla, churros — we owe these gastronomic gems and more to Spain. It’s also the home of the second most widely spoken language on the planet in terms of the number of native speakers. And this is why you may be wondering if Spanish is a good major for someone who wants global competitiveness in the job market.
Spanish majors develop strong written and oral communication skills in a language spoken by more than 500 million people worldwide. A double major in Spanish and another discipline allows undergraduate students to streamline their chosen career paths and enjoy better and higher-paying job opportunities.
No matter if you want to be bilingual for career purposes or personal satisfaction, read on.
This post is all about the basics of majoring in Spanish in college — who should get a degree in Spanish, how hard is it to learn to speak Spanish, which schools are great for degree-seeking students who wish to gain mastery of the Spanish language, and what sort of career options are available for Spanish majors.
Is Majoring in Spanish Hard?
Spanish is considered one of the easiest languages for English speakers to learn. As a matter of fact, Spanish is under Category 1 languages, which means that it’s very similar to English. Despite this, Spanish majors have to do a lot of studying, reading, memorization and exercises in college.
According to a 2021 article on CNN Report, the following languages are the ones that native English speakers can learn to speak the easiest, in this particular order:
Needless to say, Spanish is probably one of the easiest majors out there. Still, it’s a must that you are passionate about learning how to speak Spanish and dedicated to earning a college degree if you want to complete a bachelor’s degree program in Spanish. Otherwise, you might end up switching majors or dropping out of college.
Here are some of the core courses you may have to take as a Spanish major:
- Advanced grammar
- Developing Spanish writing skills
- Hispanic culture and language
- Introduction to Hispanic literature
- Sound patterns of Spanish
- Spanish American literature survey
- Survey of Spanish peninsular literature
At most colleges and universities, undergraduate students working on a degree in Spanish are required to take electives in order to be able to graduate — the number of electives to take can vary from program to program or from institution to institution. But some common electives Spanish majors have to choose from and take include:
- Business Spanish
- Contemporary aspects of Hispanic linguistics
- Don Quijote
- Hispanic film
- Hispanic poetry
- Latin American civilization
- Latin American literature
- Mexican literature
- Spanish civilization
- Spanish novel
- Translation practice and theory
Who Should Major in Spanish
Degree-seeking students who plan on choosing from various bilingual career options after graduation can benefit from majoring in Spanish. This is true whether they prefer to work locally or abroad. Spanish is also for those who wish to earn a double major for personal, academic and/or professional satisfaction.
Being able to point out your reason for majoring in Spanish beforehand is a good idea.
Considering working for a local company whose target customers are Spanish speakers? Thinking about migrating to Spain or any other Spanish-speaking country in order to work for a US company?
To open more doors to lucrative careers where being able to speak both English and Spanish fluently can prove to be an asset, you may consider earning a double major degree, one of which being Spanish.
Here are some wonderful suggestions:
- Double major in Spanish and business
- Double major in Spanish and communication studies
- Double major in Spanish and criminal justice
- Double major in Spanish and film and visual culture
- Double major in Spanish and international relations
- Double major in Spanish and journalism
- Double major in Spanish and neuroscience
- Double major in Spanish and psychology
- Double major in Spanish and sociology
- Double major in Spanish and speech and hearing science
- Double major in Spanish and world language education
What Jobs are Available for Spanish Majors?
Many career options are available for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish. Their ability to speak and write in Spanish makes them eligible for a number of bilingual entry-level, high-paying and travel-friendly jobs. Spanish majors can also choose from various local and international careers.
Fluency in Spanish allows you to have a resume that’s sought after in professional areas or industries where knowing at least two languages is considered a must and an advantage.
Here are just a few of the things that you can do with a major in Spanish:
Public relations specialist
- Median annual salary: $62,800
- Job outlook in 10 years: 11%
Besides a bachelor’s degree, Spanish majors who work to serve as bilingual public relations specialists should also possess important qualities. Some of them include interpersonal, speaking and writing skills.
- Median annual salary: $48,370
- Job outlook in 10 years: 6%
Spanish majors employed by newspapers, magazines, websites, television and radio companies as journalists are tasked with reporting current events and other information the public ought to know in English and/or Spanish. Contrary to popular belief, journalism majors are not the only individuals who are qualified to work as journalists.
- Median annual salary: $48,370
- Job outlook in 10 years: 6%
Although they are just like journalists, foreign correspondents report news and events from foreign countries. Needless to say, Spanish majors with excellent research, detail-oriented, investigative and communication skills make for some of the best foreign correspondents in Spanish-speaking countries.
Cultural events planner
- Median annual salary: $49,470
- Job outlook in 10 years: 18%
What cultural events planners who majored in Spanish in college do is plan and create unique and memorable festivals and other activities for an audience consisting of Spanish speakers or those with Spanish heritage.
- Median annual salary: $49,110
- Job outlook in 10 years: 24%
As the job title suggests, degree holders in Spanish serving as interpreters convert spoken English to Spanish. They can be simultaneous interpreters (interpreting as someone is speaking), consecutive interpreters (interpreting after the speaker pauses for a while), and sight translation interpreters (converting written documents into spoken language).
Foreign service officer
- Median annual salary: $96,376
- Job outlook in 10 years: 10%
Also referred to as diplomats, foreign service officers are tasked with managing political and economic relations with another country. Spanish majors, needless to say, can serve as service officers in various Spanish-speaking nations. Gaining real-world experience in global politics and working for the federal government is a requirement.
Best Schools for Spanish Major
Many of the top schools for Spanish majors are public and state institutions. This means cheaper college costs for students from low-income backgrounds who like to earn a bachelor’s degree in Spanish. There are also accredited online Spanish degree programs available for non-traditional students.
Fortunately for in-state Spanish majors who are going to college on a tight budget, they can choose from an assortment of highly ranked public and state colleges and universities to attend.
Here are the best ones, including some private institutions:
|Arizona State University||$29,578 (in-state) and $47,668 (out-of-state)|
|University of California – Irvine||$36,041 (in-state) and $65,795 (out-of-state)|
|Florida International University||$23,803 (in-state) and $35,611 (out-of-state)|
|Oregon State University||$29,000 (in-state) and $48,609 (out-of-state)|
|Indiana University – Bloomington||$26,187 (in-state) and $52,566 (out-of-state)|
|University of Minnesota – Twin Cities||$28,827 (in-state) and $47,125 (out-of-state)|
|Grand Canyon University||$32,100|
|Saint Louis University||$64,892|
|University of Wisconsin – Madison||$27,158 (in-state) and $55,046 (out-of-state)|
|Eastern New Mexico University||$19,622 (in-state) and $21,662 (out-of-state)|
|University of Texas Rio Grande Valley||$22,925 (in-state) and $35,165 (out-of-state)|
|Fort Hays State University||$19,364 (in-state) and $29,804 (out-of-state)|
|University of Maryland – College Park||$27,807 (in-state) and $53,919 (out-of-state)|
|University of Toledo||$28,932 (in-state) and $38,292 (out-of-state)|
|Arkansas Tech University||$20,538 (in-state) and $26,106 (out-of-state)|
|University of Nevada, Reno||$26,252 (in-state) and $41,906 (out-of-state)|
Best Online Schools for Spanish
Online degrees in Spanish are available, too, for working adults, parents and other non-traditional students. Conferred by online schools with accreditation recognized by the US Department of Education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), these degrees are all legitimate.
Here are some online schools where you can major in Spanish:
- Florida International University
- Indiana University
- Arizona State University
- Oregon State University
- Fort Valley State University
Just Before You Major in Spanish
If your ultimate career goal is to have a bilingual job, then consider majoring in Spanish. A bachelor’s degree in Spanish can open doors to many unique and exciting career opportunities locally and internationally. But although a Spanish major is easy, it’s still a must for you to have the passion and dedication to learn how to speak Spanish fluently.
Will majoring in Spanish in college make you fluent in Spanish?
It’s true that you can learn a lot about speaking and writing in Spanish in four years in college. However, you should also be able to practice the language, such as speaking to Spanish-speaking people or having a Spanish-speaking job experience, in order to be truly fluent in Spanish.
Are there different types of Spanish spoken around the world?
Experts say that there are 10 major Spanish dialects. The most widely known among all the different Spanish dialects is Castilian Spanish. Also known as the standard form of Spanish, Castilian Spanish is Spanish spoken by individuals living in the northern and central parts of Spain.
Read Next: Is French a Good Major?
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.