This post originally appeared on SmartAsset.
Whether you are looking for a new job right now or thinking about your long-term career growth, there’s one skill you can’t overlook. Both the private and public sectors are changing to better suit the needs of consumers, businesses, and government needs. You need to change to better suit the work world. You need to learn another language. And then learn another one.
The most widely demanded skill is quickly becoming the ability to speak a second or even third language.
Translators and interpreters are expected to be one of the 15 fastest growing occupations in the U.S. The Department of Labor estimates that between 2010 and 2020 around 25,000 translator and interpreter jobs are expected to open up. It is important to note the difference between a translator and an interpreter.
A translator focuses on the written language, such as translating letters and documents. An interpreter focuses on spoken language, for example the type of services that would be needed in a courtroom. The Department of Labor states that the need for both is growing drastically.
The field is expected to experience a 42% growth rate over the next decade. This number is not inclusive of the military, which is also scrambling for interpreters and translators. The necessity for these jobs range from for-profit businesses to national security. Compensation for these positions varies depending on language and role.
In the U.S. Spanish is the second most common language. As a result, an interpreter or translator of Spanish would command less money than an individual who was fluent in the less common Arabic. Still, even those who speak Spanish can command $40 an hour for a part-time interpreter position, with the school district of Pasadena, California.
The estimate median salary for translators and interpreters is about $43,000 per year. However, working for government agencies such as the FBI, CIA, or State Department can see these salaries increase into the six figure range.
These government agencies are looking for those with specific language skills, such as being fluent in a language predominantly used in Africa or the Middle East. Being able to speak and interpret Farsi will garner higher wages than being able to speak Spanish. This is due not only to the difficulty of the languages, but the danger associated with these positions. The high pay is also meant to compensate for the risk of threat or injury that comes with these jobs.
Government agencies are one of the top recruiters scrambling for these professionals. But these roles are not limited to government positions. The expansion of globalization has led many private sector companies to require the services of interpreters and translators, as well. These are not easy roles to fill, as many positions require not only knowledge of a second language, but technical knowledge of a specific field. Employers want well-rounded employees who can communicate with people across language barriers.