A degree in linguistics sets you up for well-paying careers in publishing, public relations, marketing, communication, government administration, and speech and language therapy.
And, although some areas such as proofreading, editing, and dictionary compilation will require direct knowledge of linguistics, others do not.
That said, we will have a look at some high-paying linguist jobs that you can explore.
What are the high-paying linguist jobs?
If you are looking for Linguist jobs that pay well, it would be best to build your experience based on your career interest.
Start by looking for work placement in organizations and businesses that will help you hone your skills and give you a better chance of landing a well-paying job.
Below we highlight 13 jobs that will earn you a 5-figure salary if you have a Bachelor’s degree in Linguistics.
1. Forensic Linguist
If you are searching for a career that sets you up for the highest salary scale in linguistics, then being a forensic linguist should be on your list.
Forensic linguists help solve crimes by analyzing language on recorded or written documents such as suicide notes, contracts, and trademarks. You will need to have an excellent grasp of linguistic analysis techniques to ensure the correct interpretation of documents.
Forensic linguists mainly work with law enforcement agencies and as consultants to help in the investigation process. Apart from a master’s degree in forensic linguistics, you will need to be curious, determined, competitive, patient, observant, and attentive to detail to excel in your career.
The national average salary for forensic linguists is $93,527 per year, with the top earners getting $156,000.
2. Foreign Language Teacher
If you are passionate about a certain culture and language, pursue a foreign language teaching career.
Look for opportunities in institutions of higher learning, commercial language schools, and schools of further study. You can also consider self-employment as you can use online platforms to teach students who are overseas.
Foreign language teachers teach students listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills for a specific dialect. And, to qualify for the job, you need a degree in linguistics or a foreign language
You should also have completed an internship teaching program in foreign language skills and undertaken the state’s test for educators.
Upon completion, you will be issued with teacher certification, which allows you to apply for positions of foreign language tutor.
The average salary for foreign language teachers in the United States of America is $79,574, making it one of the highest-paying jobs for linguistics degree holders.
3. Copy Editor
Another well-paying job for Linguists is being a copy editor. Copy editors go through written materials to ensure they are clear, complete, credible, and consistent. They also check to ensure the text is grammatically correct, accessible, and well-written.
As a copy editor, you will rewrite or reword documents to ensure the copy or material is ready for publication. This may include press releases, online articles, media content, or marketing materials.
You can get opportunities in marketing companies or corporations, copywriting firms, or as a freelancer with freelancing websites.
Apart from the degree in linguistics, having experience in a publishing environment gives you the upper hand. The average salary for copy editors in the United States of America is $63,299. The top earners take home $96,278 per year, and this job is also one of the high-paying jobs for English majors.
This is one of the highest paying linguistic jobs in the United States of America. Lexicographers are language professionals who write, compile and edit dictionaries for online and print publications. They also seek to understand and document how the meanings of words develop and change over time.
You will need a degree in linguistics with an internship or work experience in a publishing company to have a better chance for lexicographer opportunities.
The average salary for lexicographers in the United States of America is $77,858, with more experienced workers pocketing $138,000 per year.
5. Technical Writer
Technical writers are excellent communicators who simplify complex and technical written content for the target audience.
You need to have excellent communication, writing, and language skills to excel as a technical writer. This is where a degree in linguistics comes in.
Exploration and research skills are also required as you must undertake extensive research to prepare useful documents for the reader.
You can work as a technical writer in medicine, science, engineering, and technological industries. As such, even those with a degree in computer science, journalism, communication, English language, or Information technology with good writing skills can work as technical writers.
The average salary for technical writers in the United States of America is $75,987. The highest earns $133,000 per year, which makes it one of the high-paying jobs for writers, especially native English speakers.
6. Speech and Language Therapist
Linguists are part of the multidisciplinary team that supports people with speech difficulties such as voice disorders, language delay, stammering, and cleft palate.
Speech and language therapists identify communication difficulties, access the cause, and develop programs to improve speech development. They also prepare confidential reports and case notes for the entire team.
The hourly average salary for a speech and language therapist is $54.62, which translates to $101,855 per year.
Here’s Phoebe Kent giving a snippet view of what speech and language therapy entails. Video courtesy: Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust.
7. Teaching Assistant
If you are a linguist by nature and looking for high-paying linguist jobs without necessarily having a degree, then a teaching assistant is the best opportunity.
Teaching assistants help class tutors in facilitating learning activities in educational institutions. They also assist in preparing lessons, displays, and other resources to free more time for teachers to attend to the students.
With a linguist degree, you can also specialize in helping students learn English as their second language.
The average pay for teaching assistants in the United States of America is $32,559, with the highest earners getting $45,709 per year.
8. High School Teacher
Your linguistics degree also opens a doorway for you to work as a high school teacher. After earning your degree, you will have to undertake a teaching internship and take teaching and subject-based tests to get a license in your state of interest.
Once you have the license, you can apply to work in either public or private educational institutions.
Salaries for high school teachers vary from state to state and school to school, though the average salary in the United States of America is $58,139. The highest-paid teachers earn $96,409 per year.
If you have expertise in two or more languages, consider looking for an opportunity to work as a translator. You can get employment in different sectors, including the Secret Intelligence Service, security service, and government communication headquarters, among others.
As a translator, you will be in charge of converting written content from one source language to the desired language without altering the original meaning of the materials.
No other special certification is needed, but internship and work placement with translation agencies give you the upper hand in landing a better-paying job.
The average salary for translators in the United States of America is $57,196, with the highest-paid professionals earning $123,010 per year.
Lawyer linguists are in charge of interpreting and translating legal documents from the source language to the target language. They advise the court on the accuracy of draft documents before them.
You will need a degree in linguistics and law to get to work as a lawyer-linguist as it is a multidisciplinary career. The hourly average salary for lawyer-linguists in the United States of America is $44, with the top earners getting $47.36 per year.
11. Linguistic Professor
If you wish to be an academician, consider pursuing a master’s and a Ph.D. degree in linguistics to work as a university professor.
Linguistic professors teach at universities in linguistics, anthropology, speech & communication sciences, and psychology departments.
Apart from education qualification, you will need a state professional teaching license or certification from National Board Certification.
The national average salary for linguistic professors in the United States of America is $75,399, with a chance to earn as high as $126,500 per year with more experience
12. Public relations (PR) officer
Nearly all companies and organizations require a public relations officer to manage their reputation and image. A degree in linguistics will land you the job as it requires strong interpersonal and communication skills.
As a public relations officer, you will utilize all forms of media and communication platforms to build, manage, maintain, and improve the organization’s reputation. You will also be in charge of researching to understand and communicate the concerns and expectations of all business stakeholders.
Since the career is competitive, you can start with pre-entry jobs in communication, media, marketing, and PR.
The average salary of public relations specialists in the United States of America is $55,058, with the highest-paid earning $105,000 per year.
13. Accent Coach
Accent coaches teach actors particular accents they may need to perform various roles in the acting industry. They can also work with producers, filmmakers, and actors to design new accents from made-up dialects for more interesting productions.
A linguistic degree comes in handy in this career as linguists can break down and replicate speech patterns. They can therefore teach people how to speak in a certain way more easily.
Some employers may also require you to have acting skills and teaching experience. The average salary for accent coaches in the United States of America is $66,478, with the top-paid earning $114,000 per year.
Although we have highlighted a few high-paying linguist jobs, there are dozens of opportunities open for anyone with a Linguistics degree. It’s imperative to note that entry-level jobs might not pay that well. However, you can land one of the above linguist jobs that pay well once you build your experience.