Foreign Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary

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About the Job

Teach languages and literature courses in languages other than English. Includes teachers of American Sign Language (ASL). Includes both teachers primarily engaged in teaching and those who do a combination of teaching and research.

It is also Called

  • Swahili Teacher
  • Spanish Teacher
  • Spanish Professor
  • Spanish Literature Professor
  • Spanish Lecturer
  • Spanish Language Lecturer
  • Spanish Instructor
  • Russian Teacher
  • Russian Language Professor
  • Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures
View All

What They Do

  • Provide professional consulting services to government or industry.
  • Write grant proposals to procure external research funding.
  • Supervise undergraduate or graduate teaching, internship, and research work.
  • Organize and direct study abroad programs.
  • Perform administrative duties, such as serving as department head.
  • Compile bibliographies of specialized materials for outside reading assignments.
  • Participate in campus and community events.
  • Act as advisers to student organizations.
  • Serve on academic or administrative committees that deal with institutional policies, departmental matters, and academic issues.
  • Conduct research in a particular field of knowledge and publish findings in scholarly journals, books, or electronic media.


People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: SIA.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Social interests, but also prefer Investigative and Artistic environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Independence and Achievement in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Foreign Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of a foreign (non-English) language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition and grammar, and pronunciation.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • History and Archeology - Knowledge of historical events and their causes, indicators, and effects on civilizations and cultures.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Instructing - Teaching others how to do something.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Learning Strategies - Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.

Preparation Required

Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).


In 2016, the average annual wage in California was $99,160 with most people making between $43,430 and $182,810


avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 3,700 people in California. It is projected that there will be 4,400 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 70 openings due to growth and about 70 replacement openings for approximately 140 total annual openings.

Industries that Employ this Occupation

Industry breakdown is not available for this occupation