What can I do with a major in french?

Search for opportunities

Empire Interpreting Service
US Department of State
French Institute Alliance Francaise (FIAF)

Library Services Manager
International Programs Coordinator
Translation Project Manager

Search for employers hiring graduates in your major

Employers in NY: 1,494
Employers in US: 17,038


Explore the numerous career fields related to your major


Language Analysis 
Civil Service 
Foreign Service
Security and Protection
Law Enforcement


Federal government organizations including: Overseas aid agencies
Intelligence and law enforcement agencies: 

  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • Central Intelligence Agency 
  • Drug Enforcement Administration

Department of State 
Homeland Security including:

  • US Customs and Border Patrol
  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services 

Department of Defense including:

  • US Armed Forces
  • National Guard 
  • National Security Agency 

Department of Commerce
Agency for International Development (USAID)
Peace Corps, VISTA, Americorps
Library of Congress
Voice of America
US District Courts

Sample occupations

The government is one of the largest employers of people with foreign language skills. Consider studying a critical need language for the greatest number of opportunities.
Complete an internship with a federal agency and maintain a high gpa to be a more competitive candidate.
Learn government job application procedures. Plan to apply early and inquire frequently about job vacancies.
Review special hiring authorizations to be hired and to advance more quickly.
Participate in campus organizations and activities that promote interaction with international students.
Attend a specialized school that teaches foreign languages for additional training.
Live abroad and gain knowledge of politics and economics to prepare for a career in this field.
Increase knowledge of geography, history, and international affairs.
Join the armed forces as a way to get experience.
Consider earning a graduate degree for more job opportunities.

Industry and Commerce

Customer Services 
Logistics and Transportation
Computer and Software Services
Operations Management 
Administrative Services 
Advertising and Marketing
Human Resources


Banks and financial institutions 
Import/Export companies 
International companies including:

  • Foreign firms operating in the US 
  • US firms operating in foreign countries 

Retail stores 
Environmental firms 
Consulting agencies
Sports organizations 
Telecommunications companies
Computer and software firms 
Advertising agencies 
Professional associations
Law firms

Sample occupations

Supplement coursework with business classes or earn a business minor.
Develop international competency by living and working abroad and by interacting with international students on campus.
Get involved in student organizations and seek leadership roles.
Research which companies do business with the countries in which your language of study is spoken.
Be prepared to start in a position in the US working for a firm with an overseas presence. Very few entry level positions are available in international business.
Some jobs will require graduate degrees in fields such as business, law, or related areas.

Travel and Tourism

Airline Services
Booking and Reservations 
Travel Services/Guidance


Tour and excursion companies 
Travel agencies 
Cruise lines
Bus lines 
Convention centers
Chambers of commerce

Sample occupations

Take courses in hotel/restaurant administration or recreation and tourism management.
Get a part-time job in a hotel or restaurant to gain experience.
Spend some time abroad to learn about various cultures and traditions.
Brush up on your knowledge of geography.
Consider attending a travel and tourism school.
Develop office skills such as working with computers.
Show an attention to detail.
Read international newspapers to keep up with overseas developments.


Interpretation (Simultaneous & Consecutive)

  • Business
  • Conference
  • Escort/Guide 
  • Judiciary (Court) 


  • Legal
  • Literary 
  • Localization
  • Machine
  • Medical 
  • Technical

Educational services
Business services
Government agencies 
Healthcare organizations 
International organizations
Nonprofit and social service organizations

Sample occupations
Develop fluency in a second language. Seek out any opportunity to converse with native speakers to better learn the language.
Learn a third language for increased job opportunities. Some languages such as Middle Eastern or Asian ones are in more demand than others.
Gain experience through internships or volunteering.
Seek certification or accreditation from an interpretation/translation organization.
Being bilingual does not automatically qualify one to serve as an interpreter or translator.
Learn to listen to one language while speaking another at the same time.
Develop aptitude with computers and the Internet.
Interpreters and translators who have expertise in a particular area such as law or medicine may find more opportunities. Develop skills in negotiation.
Learn to work well under stress.
Most people who work in this field freelance. Show ability, initiative and motivation as this is a very competitive field.
Service and Education

Educational Administration Including:

  • Student Affairs 
  • Study Abroad Programs
  • International Houses or Cultural Centers
  • International Student Services 

Civil Service
Social Work 
Mission Work 
Library Science 
Health Services
Nonprofit or Public Interest Law


K-12 schools, public and private 
Professional language schools 
English language institutes 
Overseas dependents' schools
Foreign study exchange programs
Adult education programs
Religious and volunteer organizations 
International organizations
Law enforcement agencies 
Social service agencies 
Nonprofit organizations 

Sample occupations

Obtain state teacher licensure for K-12 teaching.
Earn a graduate degree for college or university teaching opportunities.
Develop superior written and oral communication skills in the English language including proper sentence structure and comprehensive vocabulary.
Minor or double major in another subject that you could also teach.
Get experience as a teaching assistant or tutor.
Become familiar with the cultural base of your language (literature, art, politics, etc.) as well as with cultural traditions.
Consider teaching English as a foreign language (overseas). Research courses and certifications for teaching English to non-native speakers.
Volunteer with government programs such as VISTA or community programs such as ESL classes.
Work abroad through volunteer programs or missions.
Plan to take both written and oral examinations to become an interpreter.
Notify local hospitals, schools, and chambers of commerce of your availability to translate or interpret for international visitors.
Earn a graduate degree in a field of specialty, e.g. Student Affairs Administration, counseling, or law.

Arts, Media, Entertainment

Advertising and Marketing 
Public Relations
Film Making
Museum Work


Foreign news agencies
Book publishers 
TV networks
Radio stations
Film companies 
Recording companies 
Internet media companies
Advertising firms

Sample occupations

Learn about the customs and culture of the country in which your language of study is primarily spoken.
Supplement coursework with related classes such as journalism, photography, art, etc.
Spend time studying or working abroad.
Complete one or more internships in your field of interest.
Work at campus and local newspapers or radio and television stations.
Read international newspapers to keep up with developments overseas.
Listen to foreign broadcasts.

General information and strategies

  • Choose an additional academic area of study to supplement the foreign language, preferably one that requires a high degree of technical skill.
    • Most people with foreign language ability use those skills to assist them in a different career field such as business, education, journalism, law, etc.
  • Related courses to study include geography, history, civilization, foreign relations, international law, and world economics.
  • Travel to a foreign country or study abroad in international exchange programs to develop your language skills and international/intercultural competency.
  • Study and practice your foreign language skills by reading foreign newspapers, magazines, and books.
  • Seek opportunities to interact with international students on campus or members of your local community.
  • Host international students, join relevant student organizations, and participate in international campus events.
  • Watch foreign movies and listen to foreign broadcasts to maintain your fluency.
  • Volunteer your language skills to churches, community organizations, and programs that work with people who speak your target language.
  • Correspond with someone from a foreign country.
  • Contact professional associations and read their publications to learn about job opportunities.
  • Research job postings on the Internet to get an idea of jobs in which knowledge of a foreign language is useful.
  • Participate in summer programs, co-ops, and internships to improve your skills.
  • Network with others in the field to learn about job opportunities.
  • In general, international positions are competitive and difficult to obtain. (Be very proactive in developing the skills and experiences international employers seek.)
  • Get your foot in the door in domestic positions because many international employers promote current employees into international ones.
  • The government is one of the largest employers of people with foreign language skills.
  • Supplement coursework with business classes or earn a business minor.