U.S. government agencies are recruiting more foreign-language speakers, particularly those who know Chinese, Korean, Farsi or Arabic because of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. 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.

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

  • Agency for International Development
    Our work is entirely unique: we work on behalf of the most generous people in the world to provide a better future for everyone.
  • Department of State
    Consider a career with the U.S. Department of State. Join us in helping to shape a freer, more secure and prosperous world as we formulate, represent, and implement U.S. foreign policy.
  • Department of Defense
    With our military units tracing their roots to pre-Revolutionary times, you might say that we are America’s oldest company. And if you look at us in business terms, many would say we are not only America’s largest company, but its busiest and most successful.
  • Department of Homeland Security
    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.
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Beware of unauthorized advertisements claiming that you can work for HUD or any Federal agency from home. Only jobs posted at USAJOBS are official federal career positions.
  • Foreign Service Institute
    The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) is the Federal Government's primary training institution for officers and support personnel of the U.S. foreign affairs community, preparing American diplomats and other professionals to advance U.S. foreign affairs interests overseas and in Washington.
    the official job site of the United states Federal Government.

Careers in National Security

  • CIA
    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.
  • NSA
    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.
    Adapted from the NSA Language Jobs link: National Security Agency
    Please contact the Partnership for Public Service for more information about these career opportunities.
  • Homeland Security
    The Ohio State University's Program for International and Homeland Security posts job opportunities regularly, and many positions suggest foreign language skills.

Careers in the Armed Forces

  • Army
    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.
    For more information, please consult
  • Navy
    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.
    For more information please contact: US Navy.
  • Marines
    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.
    For more info, please consult the Marine Corps Careers site.