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Careers in the United States Government

U.S. government agencies are recruiting more foreign-language speakers, particularly those who know leas commonly taught languages (LCTL's). Jobs with the government include: serving in a foreign consulate, representing a state in trade negotiations, serving in military and intelligence agencies, and assisting with translation and interpreting needs. To cite just one example, a foreign affairs specialist makes an average yearly income of $85,000. Most government positions require pre-qualification and acceptance evaluation at the specific department level.

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The following government departments and agencies offer training and/or positions where language-skills are highly desirable:

Other Resources

Please contact the Partnership for Public Service for more information about these career opportunities.

As you begin your career search, you can also utilize the official job site of the United States Federal Government, USAJOBS.



Careers in National Security

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) offers a Corporate Language Hiring Bonus Program to individuals who have exceptional language skills. Bonuses can be as high as $36,000.00 per person.

Learn more about careers in the CIA

The National Security Agency (NSA)/Central Security Service is America’s cryptologic organization. It coordinates, directs, and performs highly specialized activities to protect U.S. government information systems and produce foreign signals intelligence information. The National Security Agency offers various opportunities for applicants with language skills. Language analysis is vital to the research, translation, transcription, reporting, and analysis of materials of national concern. In Language Analysis, every little word can have global ramifications. In addition Language Analysts receive a $7,500 Recruitment Incentive.

Learn more about careers in the NSA

The Department of Homeland Security has unique career opportunities that will challenge your mind and reward your skills and talents. As a Homeland Security employee, you will help secure our borders, airports, seaports and waterways; research and develop the latest security technologies; respond to natural disasters or terrorists assaults; and analyze intelligence reports.

The Ohio State University's Program for International and Homeland Security posts job opportunities regularly, and many positions suggest foreign language skills.

Learn more about careers in Homeland Security

Careers in the Armed Forces

A career in the U.S. Army is unique from any other, it offers you the opportunity to travel, learn new skills, serve your country, and the ability to expand your horizons. Many career opportunities in the Army require foreign language skills.

Learn more about careers in the U.S. Army

The Navy and your country could be counting on you to translate and interpret foreign-language communications data. The Navy has at its disposal an arsenal of aircraft carriers, destroyers, cruisers, submarines and aircraft, but its most powerful asset is still the human mind. Sailors in the world languages field are an elite group who are valued for their intelligence, adaptability, foreign-language skills, and strong character. Most of their work is highly classified. As a Sailor working in the world languages field, you could serve as an interpreter for U.S. dignitaries or Navy officials negotiating critical relations with foreign powers.

Learn more about careers in the U.S. Navy

Many enlisted and civilian positions with the U.S. Marines require foreign language skills, and many require proficiency in several languages. They also have multiple positions available for linguists.


Learn more about careers in the U.S. Marines


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