Spanish is one of the top five languages spoken around the globe, and those with linguistic expertise can seek work in a range of industries, including business, tourism, health care, communications and law enforcement. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects faster than average growth in job opportunities for interpreters and translators.
If you're looking into associate degrees in Spanish, you can expect core education subjects as well as courses that teach you to understand, speak, read and write the language. Classes may include conversation practice as well as Hispanic civilizations and cultures. An associate degree in Spanish can provide the foundation necessary to transfer to a bachelor's degree program.
Going beyond associate degrees in Spanish
A Bachelor of Arts in Spanish usually delves more deeply into the language, literature, culture, politics and history of different Hispanic cultures in Spain, Mexico, South and Central America, and the Caribbean -- and perhaps even Portugal or Brazil, since they are neighbors of Spanish-speaking countries. Combine a B.A. with a teaching degree and you can teach Spanish in grade school or high school.
Bachelor's and master's degrees in Spanish typically feature a specific emphasis such as literature and culture, linguistics, or applied language, and these programs may require you to study another language as well. Specializations for master's degrees can also include education, translation and interpretation, or a special track for those planning to pursue a doctoral degree.
Doctoral programs, such as a Doctor of Philosophy in Spanish, generally offer research concentrations in linguistics or in literature or cultural studies for different geographical areas and historical periods. Most tenured college teaching positions for Spanish language, culture or literature require a doctorate, although some community colleges require only a master's degree.
Careers, outlook and salaries
The BLS predicts that employment for interpreters and translators will expand by 42 percent between 2010 and 2020; the median annual salary in 2010 was $43,300. Many language-specific careers -- teachers, interpreters and translators -- require at least a bachelor's degree. Job-specific training or certification is needed for some roles, for example, in medical or court interpreting.
Earning an online associate degree is a convenient way to begin your Spanish language career. If you continue on and earn a bachelor's or master's degree, opportunities could be available in a wide array of industries and services that need employees proficient in Spanish.