Career Options for Spanish Majors

Knox College alumni and contacts

Spanish majors end up in a wide variety of careers. Language skills and global competency are highly valued in the marketplace. Plus, your literature courses have taught you close reading and analytical skills. Finally, your cultural immersion experiences have made you adaptable and globally competent!

Social justice, non-profits and international organizations

  • Many non-profits need bilingual members in a variety of roles and international organizations often need employees with language skills.
  • Krista Batey '05 worked for Rotary International right after Knox. She was part of bilingual team that supported Rotary leaders in the United States, the Caribbean, and South America. See Rotary open positions here. She received her Masters in International Public Service, and worked for a number of NGOs.
  • After Knox, Becca Ganster '08 did a Fulbright and consulted at the Institute of International Education in Vietnam. Then she worked many years in Washington, D.C. as the Senior Program Manager for Latin America & the Caribbean and Entrepreneurship at Vital Voices Global Partnership, an international non-for-profit that invests in women leaders, where she trains women entrepreneurs in leadership and business planning. Now she is seeking an MBA from Yale.
  • Anna Dovorak '12 works with Voces de la Frontera in Wisconsin as the Development Director working in immigrant rights.
  • Kelly Vlaskamp '13 works in Nicaragua with Comunidad Connect, an organization that strives to alleviate poverty by connecting local and global communities.
  • Andrea Santoyo '16 worked as a program assistant at Enlace Chicago. She helped families at Little Village Lawndale High School and translated educational documents. Now she is with a lawfirm (see below).
  • Check out Direct Action & Research Training (DART) Center. This is a faith-based organization hiring in several major cities throughout the US. Fluent Spanish speakers needed! Topics include: * Plugging the school-to-prison pipeline* Reining in predatory lending practices* Expanding access to primary health and dental care* Prioritizing funding for affordable housing and job training* Improving low-performing public schools* Fighting for immigrants' rights.

Join the Peace Corps

The State Department needs Spanish speakers

  • Check out the Consular Fellows Program out of the State Department. Apply here pearsonvue.com/cfpt . Help promote America’s interests by assisting U.S. citizens abroad, fostering economic growth at home, and contributing to U.S. national security. When you become a Consular Fellow, you also receive similar benefits to those who serve in the Foreign Service. This includes a competitive salary, paid housing for you and your family while serving overseas, and the opportunity to receive a recruitment bonus and participate in the Student Loan Repayment Program

Teach English in Spain or Latin America

  • Apply to be an “Auxiliar de conversación”. Many Knox alums have returned to Spain through this program. You are placed in a Spanish public school helping English teachers and bringing cultural awareness to the students.

  • Contact Grace Moran '14. The application process can be confusing. Grace will help you out with a few tips! After serving as an Auxiliar, Grace became the Knox-in-Barcelona program assistant, and then the director.
  • Michelle Weber'15 took an online TEFL course and then found a job teaching English in Spain through the same agency.
  • Maddie Mandel '13 found a job teaching in Spain through CIEE. Then, she also worked for the Auxiliar de conversación program. She can fill you in on the differences.
  • Kaitlyn Hutchcroft '15 is teaching in Chile through CIEE.
  • Charlie Harned '16 received a Fulbright to teach in Spain. He worked in a school in Madrid. Next stop, Harvard Law School.

Interpreting and Translating


  • Freelance Translation Work on your own schedule from home. Many websites such as proz.com are job boards for translators to bid for work.

  • Indeed.com frequently posts positions for translators and interpreters.

  • Contact local social service agencies like DCFS. They often need interpreters.

  • Alex Enyart worked as a court interpreter before becoming a public defender.

  • Antonina Pondo '11 was a Biology and Modern Languages major at Knox. She now works as a medical interpreter at Carolinas Health Care System.

  • Colleen Larsen '10 is a bilingual Associate Educator in 2 school districts in Minneapolis. She acts as the family liaison and interpreter for Spanish speaking families.

  • Simon Schatzburg '15 is a contract transcriptionist and translator at the audio transcription center for the Ministry of Health in Mexico City. Before that he was an intern copyediting for bilingual news outlets. Part of his job was interviewing famous Mexican residents.

  • Ned Babbot ´16 held various positions as interpreter in schools and health care settings. Now he is a bilingual legal advocate at a crisis center.

Consider Graduate School

  • Most MA / PhD programs in Spanish are fully funded through teaching or research assistantships. Select between literature, linguistics or second language acquisition.

  • Elizabeth Barrios ´09 completed her Ph.D. in literature at University of Michigan. Fall ´16 she began as a professor of Spanish at Albion College. Woot!

  • Tom Grizzle '17 is doing a Masters in Hispanic Studies at the University of Washington. His degree is fully funded in exchange for being a T.A.

  • Rachel Navarre ´06, who studied on the Barcelona program finished her PhD in Political Science at UT-Austin. She compared immigration amnesty policies in Spain and the U.S. Now she is a tenure-track faculty member on the East coast.

  • Check out Bilingual Speech Pathology. Anne Neuville Ward ´02 has a successful career in this field. She completed a Masters at the University of Marquette.

  • Cody Happ ´06 completed an M.S. program in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of New Mexico and a degree in Social Work. Now she landed a position as a bilingual speech-language pathologist with the University of New Mexico Hospital.

  • This Masters sends you back to Spain or Mexico! Bowling Green State University (Ohio) has a Masters degree in which you spend one year in Spain or Mexico and one year in Ohio.

  • Teach and Learn in Spain is a one-year funded Masters Program in Madrid, perfect for Education students.

Work in the legal field

Many law offices are looking for graduates with Spanish skills
  • Alex Enyart ´08 worked at Illinois Legal Aid helping Spanish-speakers understand their rights. He later attended Law School and became Public Defender. In 2017 he opened his own law firm working on immigration rights.

  • MaryLou Villanueva ´09 is an immigration specialist in Chicago.
  • Josie Dudek ´12 just finished her MA in Hispanic Literature at the U of I-Urbana. Now, she's at law school at the University of Denver. This summer she landed a job in Buenos Aires working at a law firm doing translations and corporate transactions.
  • Rachael Morissey'16 is bilingual Legal Advocate at the Violence Prevention Center of Southwestern Illinois serving victims of domestic violence.
  • Andrea Alejandra Santoyo'16 works as an Intake Coordinator with the law firm Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC. She also translates and interprets as needed for clients who interact with the firm.

Join Americorps / CityYear

  • Spanish speakers are needed for community outreach positions. Laura Blue´12 visited migrant workers in the field and provided them with health advice, took blood pressures, and monitored diabetes. She created bilingual outreach materials as well. After this post, she followed her passion and went to grad school in public health.

  • Ben King '15 is working with immigrants in Knox and surrounding counties through Americorps. He conducts conversation groups and holds information sessions.
  • Lizzie Wisdom worked with Americorps (CityYear) in Seattle her first year after graduating from Knox in 2016. She taught English and Language Arts to 6th graders. Later she followed her passion for teaching to receive a Masters in Teaching Spanish.

The field of Study Abroad

  • Many graduates find work in this field as study abroad recruiters, coordinators or advisors.

  • Ask Kevin Malone '09. He is an International Coordinator in the Faculty-Directed Unit of the Arizona State University Study Abroad Office.
  • Robin Soto '06 learned French and Spanish at Knox and then travelled the world after Knox picking up Chinese. Then she worked as Instruction Manager, Curriculum Specialist, and Marketing Manager at Inner Circle Education Center coordinating cultural immersion programs for Americans in China. Now she is getting her Masters at Purdue.

Teach Spanish in the U.S.

  • With your B.A. you may be qualified to teach in private high schools and laboratory high schools

  • Mirielle Klass '02 is a public high school teacher in Deerfield, IL.

  • Teach for America places you in an underserved public school and prepares you for teacher certification. Grace Fourman '11 taught in an ESL program.

  • Grant Deam '13 teaches foreign language through this program. He completed his Masters of Art in Teaching. As part of entering TFA, members get placed in a graduate level program and can opt to finish it during the second year of their commitment. Getting Certified to Teach to enables you to teach within the public school system.

  • Lizzie Wisdom '16 received her Masters in Teaching Secondary Spanish from Seattle University. She is even taking her students on a trip to Spain summer 2018. She will start at a Title 1 public school in South Seatlle in Fall of '18.

  • Sybedi Gonzalez ´17 teaches at Muchin College Prep in Chicago, IL

The U.S. needs bilingual social workers!!

  • In Casey (Norton) Powers '07 first job she provided bilingual English/Spanish services to men and women enrolled in the CalWORKs program. Then she moved to an agency helping with bilingual/biliterate clinical services to children and families involved with Juvenile Justice and DCFS. Now she is a bilingual social worker!
  • Shannon (May) Sampedro '07 began as a parent educator at a child abuse prevention organization. She coordinated educational parent support groups and developmental playgroups for English and Spanish speaking families. Now she is a social worker in the D.C area and does lots of interpreting and translation.
  • Brianna Chavez '11 earned a Masters in Social Work and is a Placement Worker with Child Protective Services in New Mexico.
  • Natalia Binkowski '14 completed her Master of Social Work program at Loyola in Chicago. Now she is a Behavioral Health Clinician.

Etc.Etc.Etc.

Nea Larson '11 works in Barcelona as an immigration specialist at a financial consultant firm helping people with their work visas and other immigration issues. She can give you advice on getting a work permit for Spain.

Elicia Bibbs '13 decided to explore Asia and lived in China for 3 years after Knox before returning to the states. She wanted to use her Spanish and Chinese skills on the job and continue to travel. Now she is a flight attendant with American Airlines.

Gracie Glowiak '14 landed a job in Madrid as a documentalist (a kind of librarian, trained in documentation science and specializing in assisting researchers) at a publishing house specializing in languages. Now she teaches English in Barcelona at The Corner language school.

Kathryn Todd '14 worked at Enterprise car rental. She says study abroad and Spanish language skills came up in every one of her interviews! Now she works for We Rock the Spectrum in Austin and also teaches ESL.

Did you know that Language majors are the HIGHEST paid among the liberal arts majors? Wow! The list of majors and average starting salaries are listed here.

Big picture

¨66% of employer respondents reported identifying foreign language skills in the hiring process, 41% reported giving advantage to multilingual applicants.¨

Are you ready to interview in Spanish. Watch these 3 examples and learn how to improve your answers!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADXn59DgWd4

Want more options? Check out these books!

Have an idea for this flyer? Know a Knox alumn doing great work with their Spanish degree? Let us know.