Spanish and Your Major

Students interested in expanding their perspective of the world around them while pursuing their other academic interests should consider obtaining a major or minor in Spanish. A Spanish degree encourages a student to learn a new language and enhances skills such as communicating, comprehending cultural differences, and acquiring a deeper understanding of the world. Learning a new language encourages students to adopt a new form of creative thinking and provides skills useful after graduation. Receiving a major or minor in Spanish also opens the door to numerous economic opportunities and educational paths. Areas of study such as psychology, business, education, and more require Spanish-speaking professionals.

 

Psychology:

Psychologists with Spanish-speaking experience or skills are in high demand in the world of psychology. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), only 5.5 percent of all psychologists claim that they can provide adequate psychological services in Spanish (Smith, 2018). Due to the shortage of professionals who can provide treatment for the nation’s largest ethnic minority, there are many career opportunities. A study conducted by Psychological Services has shown that Spanish-speaking clients feel considerably less comfortable sharing personal information with an English-speaking therapist, even when an interpreter is present (2016). Besides the need for Spanish-speaking psychologists in therapeutic settings, there is also an overwhelming lack of accurate psychological testing opportunities for children who predominately speak Spanish. Hispanic children often receive inaccurate assessments and tests in educational settings, which inevitably leads to a lack of adequate education for these communities. These service gaps create numerous academic and career paths for students proficient in the Spanish language. Paths such as clinical psychology, forensic psychology, and educational psychology offer students abundant opportunities to develop their education, career, and ability to help a population in need.

 

Business:

The demand for bilingual employees in the business industry is increasing as companies aim to expand their accessibility. A study conducted by New American Economy states that job postings targeting bilingual workers more than doubled between 2010 and 2015, with most companies focusing on Spanish since it is the second most-used language in the United States (New American Economy). Students who choose to obtain a Spanish major or minor with their business degree significantly enhance their career opportunities after graduating. These career options include jobs in areas such as banking, advertising, sales, public relations, foreign representation, and more. In addition to employment benefits, this path presents an opportunity to make essential connections between businesses and individual clients. It also creates a more comfortable experience for Spanish-speakers by diminishing the language barrier. Business majors should consider earning a Spanish major or minor to enhance their educational background, career opportunities, and ability to relate to the Spanish speaking clients they will encounter.

 

Social Work:

Those seeking a career in social work should consider receiving a Spanish major or minor. The National Association of Social Workers discovered that at least 77 percent of the United States’ social workers serve at least some Hispanic or Latino clients. However, the ratio of Spanish speaking clients to Spanish speaking social workers is very disproportionate, with only about 4 percent of those professionals being Hispanic or Latino themselves. The language barrier between social workers and their clients provides numerous business and career opportunities for students proficient in Spanish. Learning Spanish will not only make you more marketable for a job after graduation, but it will also expand your reach and provide a source of comfort to clients. Spanish-speaking social workers such as those interested in dealing with the justice system, mental health, and substance abuse are in high demand due to the exponential group of the Spanish-speaking population in the United States. Speaking the client’s language would enhance the social worker’s ability to understand those they are helping and provide useful assistance.

 

Education:

Receiving a major or minor in Spanish and an education degree would benefit any student and those they teach throughout their career. Learning about another language and culture expands students’ ability to connect to others and understand cultural differences. These qualities prove useful in any job within the education system. Whether a student wishes to dedicate their abilities to help others learn Spanish or pursue other areas of interest, being proficient in Spanish is beneficial. Those working in educational settings encounter a wide variety of students from different cultural backgrounds. Many will teach at least a few of the 3.8 million bilingual students in the American school system. Being able to communicate with those students efficiently will increase their confidence and academic success. Being culturally aware is vital for those seeking jobs in education, and receiving a Spanish degree along with an education degree enables graduates to provide a better education for the Hispanic community.

 

Sociology

There are many different paths that a student may choose to pursue after receiving a degree in sociology. No matter the direction a student decides, learning Spanish will benefit them in their career. Sociology majors learn to recognize and analyze sociological issues and offer improvements. Receiving a major or minor in Spanish and a sociology degree provides a whole new perspective on said issues. Learning a new language strengthens communication skills and helps individuals connect with others. These are essential skills for sociologists. Whether a sociology student chooses to work in education, public service, counseling, or business, being bilingual will improve their work and research focused on the Spanish speaking population.

 

Pre-Law

Being bilingual is advantageous in the world of law. With many Spanish-speaking clients not receiving proper representation due to language barriers, students in the pre-law program should consider adding a Spanish major or minor to their pre-law courses. As pointed out by the ABA Journal (2013), many new lawyers build successful and rewarding careers working with niche, underrepresented groups. If you plan to go to law school, being bilingual will add to your resume and make you stand out in the application process. If you plan to pursue a job immediately after obtaining a pre-law degree, being bilingual will make you marketable and a better option for employment in law. Bilingual pre-law students would excel as victim advocates, paralegals, mediators, and more. In each of these law careers, you will most likely come in contact with bilingual people. Knowing Spanish will help you do your job effectively and without the need for an interpreter. Additionally, the skills you develop learning Spanish will enable you to become a better critical thinker, communicator, and colleague, which are crucial when pursuing a job in law.