Careers with a French Degree


You may be pursuing a bachelor of arts in French (or another language for that matter) based on a passion for the language itself, and not because you are trying to prepare for a specific profession.


Fortunately, whether or not you have a career goal in mind, you have the opportunity to learn a variety of highly employable skills by pursuing a French degree.



More on What You Can Do with a French Degree

Pursuing a degree in French will not only enrich your life, it will prepare you for a career where skills in a second language are a main requirement, or are at least considered a strong asset to have. Becoming a language instructor, a translator, or a language assessor, all require advanced skills in a second (or third…or more!) language.


Do you want to travel for work? Many customer-facing careers in the travel industry, such as working for an airline or a tourism company, require skills in a second language.


Aside from careers where second languages are a factor, you still have plenty of career options. This degree enables you to gain a host of transferrable skills that you can apply to virtually any career. Having advanced skills in, for example, reading comprehension, is something that will help you advance in almost any career field.


Although this next point is a bit of a digression from the main point of this page, which is to provide information on careers you can pursue with this degree, it’s important to note that the skills a French degree enables you to gain will help you in everyday life as well. For example, it can help you be a better decision maker by helping you develop your critical thought.


So as you can see, there is a lot you can do with a French's far from useless! Now, let’s take a closer look at what you can do. What it teaches you; what skills will you gain; what careers can you pursue; who will hire you…even how much you can earn out of school.



What Earning a French Degree Will Teach You

Undergraduate French programs in the Canada and the United States are primarily designed to provide you with substantial competence in active and passive forms of communicating in the French language. These programs are also designed to teach you about historical, artistic, cultural and political aspects of the Francophone world.





"Hard Skills" You Can Gain

Pursuing a French degree enables you to gain many employable skills that are specific to the degree. These skills will be highly applicable to careers where expert knowledge of the French language, or interacting with French communities is a necessary ability.


• Ability to read, write, speak and understand spoken French

• Greater understanding of various Francophone cultures

• Knowledge of French literature and history

• Proficiency in various methods of literary analysis 



Careers Directly Related to a French Degree

With the degree-specific skills you’ve gained, you can pursue the following careers (not a comprehensive list…there are many more out there!):


• Airline Customer Service Agent

• Anthropologist

• Bilingual Client Care Representative

• Bilingual Services Coordinator

• Bilingual Tour Consultant

• Biographer

• Blogger

• Book Review Editor

• Citizenship and Immigration Officer

• Customer Service Representative

• Diplomat

• Flight Attendant

• Foreign Language Instructor

• Governmental Program Agent

• Historian 

• Language Assessor

• Lawyer

• Lexicographer

• Librarian

• Linguist

• Linguistic Anthropologist

• Philologist

• Proofreader

• Publisher 

• Speech Writer

• Speech-Language Pathologist

• Technical Writer

• Tourism Officer

• Translator

• Travel Agent

• University Professor


Please Note: Some of the above listed careers may require education and training above and beyond the scope of an undergraduate degree. Click on careers you’re interested in to find out more about the specific education and training requirements.



Transferrable Skills a French Degree Can Teach

As graduate of a French degree program, your capacity to learn and explore subjects is proven to be excellent. Because of this, you will make a competent employee in almost any industry, not just in careers where knowledge of the French language is mandatory.


For example, if you can compose an argumentative essay on, say, ‘the impact of French language laws in Québec’, you certainly can be taught to write a convincing marketing proposal.


• Ability to communicate with different cultures confidently

• Public speaking skills developed through classroom presentations and other activities

• Acutely developed listening skills

• Broad vocabulary

• IT skills gained by training in research methods and analysis

• Team working skills developed through project work

• Analysis skills developed by studying the meaning and intention of words in French

• Time management skills developed by organizing workloads and extra-curricular activities





Careers Indirectly Related to a French Degree

Not interested in a career that’s directly related to your degree? That’s okay, because of the transferable skills you’ve gained (listed above), you have plenty of career options, including, but certainly not limited to:


• Archaeologist

• Audiologist

• Criminologist

• Elementary School Teacher

• ESL Teacher

• Facilitator

• Field Service Agent

• Foreign Exchange Trader

• Game Tester

• High School Teacher

• Importer/Exporter

• Intelligence Analyst

• International Business Consultant

• Journalist

• Military Officer

• Police Officer

• Radio Program Producer

• Sales Representative

• Urban Planner


Please Note: Some of the above listed careers may require education and training above and beyond the scope of an undergraduate degree. Click on careers you’re interested in to find out more about the specific education and training requirements.



Who Employs Graduates?

Because of the high level of competence in speaking, reading and writing the language that is earned with a French degree, you will be able to find jobs with organizations that have a need in that area. As a result, you should be able to find at least entry-level work with the following types of organizations:


• Educational institutions

• Government

• Advertising agencies

• Community Health Agencies

• Travel and tourism agencies

• Hotels

• Hospitals and Health Clinics

• Publications companies

• Research institutions

• Banks and financial institutions

• Law firms

• Information technological companies

• Laboratories

• Software development companies

• Media organizations

• Speech and language pathology organizations



How Much You Could Earn

The salary you could earn as a graduate of such as program can vary drastically, and is heavily dependent on the following factors (not an inclusive list):


• Your level of education (such as if you went on to graduate studies)

• The industry in which you find work

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• Other work experience you may have accrued

• Other skills you may have


French Graduate Salary - Ontario: According to a salary survey in 2011 conducted by the Ontario Council of Universities, $38,407 CAD is the average salary earned by Humanities graduates (which include French graduates), 2 years after graduating from Ontario universities in 2008. Unfortunately, similar statistics for other Canadian provinces and the United States cannot be found from reputable sources.



Increase Your Employability: Consider a Double Major

You may be pursuing a degree in French out of personal interest or passion in the subject matter. And perhaps you will be fortunate enough to become employed in a career directly related to your degree.


With today’s job market being tough, many graduates of French and other humanities programs miss out on the opportunity to pursue a career directly related to their degree, especially those who don’t choose to pursue an advanced degree.


To protect yourself against this possibility, consider pursuing a double major, with your second major being in a field that will put you in a good position to find a well-paying job after graduation. Such fields may include:



Graphic Design



Pursuing a double major is a good way to get the best of both worlds - a chance to study subject matter you are passionate about, while simultaneously opening up your career options.



Consider a Graduate Degree

Have you thought about taking your French degree to the next level? A graduate degree can increase your chances of finding employment in your field, as it gives you an edge over applicants with a bachelor’s degree.


It also helps you develop highly specialized knowledge, and opens the doors to careers that aren’t accessible with only an undergraduate degree, such as many research, consulting and teaching positions.






Relevant Scholarships 

Looking for help paying for school? Search our scholarships database for Canadian and American scholarships that are specifically for students of a French program (degree program or otherwise).


Success Tip: Apply for any and all scholarships for which you qualify, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships in Canada and the United States that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants.



Professional Associations

To find out more about careers related to this field, consult the following professional association websites. They offer career-related information, and many have job boards that advertise job openings.



Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics

Canadian Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters Council

Editors’ Association of Canada

Speech-Language and Audiology Canada

The Canadian Hearing Society


United States

American Copy Editors Society

American Society of News Editors

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

American Translators Association

Linguistic Society of America



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