Complete Guide to an Online Spanish Degree
This page features 33 online Spanish degrees, available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, and certificate levels. The 23 schools on this list provide a variety educational settings and program structures for all types of students. Spanish certificate and degree holders can pursue careers such as foreign language teachers, translators, interpreters, or bilingual lawyers, doctors, businessmen, or social workers.
While no specific accreditation for foreign language degrees exist, institutional accreditation for degree-offering schools is essential to ensure academic rigor and recognition in the job market. When pursuing an online degree in Spanish at whichever degree level, be sure to verify that the institution you want to attend is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency. For more information on online Spanish degree options, check out our list of schools below. Read More
Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Spanish Degrees (23)
Online Spanish Degree Overview & Career Information
Spanish degrees endow graduates with Spanish language skills and cultural knowledge that will aid them in Spanish-speaking workplaces. Spanish degree programs are available online and range from associate level to master’s degree. In addition to the standard Spanish courses, students will take courses focusing on literature, film, business, and politics, all from Spanish perspectives in order to gain a broader and interdisciplinary view of the Spanish-speaking world. Oral components of the degree are important in developing proficiency in speaking and comprehending the language, so most upper-level classes are in Spanish only.
An online associate degree in Spanish will help prepare graduates for general entry-level jobs and may give them advantage in jobs where Spanish speaking skills are needed, such as jobs in areas with high levels of Spanish-speaking customers. These jobs can range from retail, to marketing, to hospitality. An online bachelor's degree in Spanish will prepare graduates for careers in international business, journalism, education, public relations, marketing, and especially as interpreters and translators. Graduates may also be prepared to take jobs in Spanish-speaking countries.
Online master's degrees in Spanish come in a variety of forms that build upon the student’s undergraduate education and train them to apply their skills in research and education. Some institutions offer online Master of Arts in Teaching of Languages, while others offer more direct Master of Arts in Spanish with concentration in either linguistics or literature. Either online degree prepares a student for job opportunities teaching Spanish at all levels. Online certificates in Spanish are also available, but are mostly fluency exams and enrichment programs.
While online courses in Spanish are common, few schools offer fully online associate's degrees in Spanish. Hybrid programs are easier to come by, and students interested in pursuing an associate's degree can usually find programs at their local community college. Courses include beginning-to-intermediate Spanish language, introduction to Hispanic culture and Latin American civilizations, and English-to-Spanish translation. Students practice speaking, reading, writing, and oral comprehension through vocabulary memorization, verb conjugation, readings and lectures. A high school diploma or GED is necessary to enroll for an associate's degree. An associate's of arts degree in Spanish takes two years to complete, necessitating a total of 60 credits. Credits are split up between general education, including humanities, natural sciences, history, and mathematics, and specialized Spanish classes. Upon completion, the associate's degree can be used towards a four-year university degree but otherwise will only serve for limited, entry-level job positions. Those who are already mid-career may look into an associate's degree in Spanish to acquire second most frequently spoken language in the United States, and in the world, to improve their job options and professional profile.
Online bachelor's degrees in Spanish are also rare, and schools that have online courses usually offer hybrid degree programs. Minors in Spanish are very popular for those who wish to study the language in depth but also want to pursue a different field of study. A Bachelor of Arts in Spanish requires 180 credits, and establishing a foundation in the language, culture, and literature of Spanish-speaking countries. Graduates are expected to reach advanced levels of speaking, reading, and writing proficiency in the Spanish language. The credits include a liberal arts core of writing, humanities, fine arts, social science, math and sciences, with variations depending on the school. Spanish major requirements may include an internship or a study abroad through an approved partner program. Courses in the Spanish major cover a wide cultural and historical context through textual analysis of historical documents or literature, from Spain to Latin America. To pursue a bachelor's degree, students need at least a high school diploma or GED. Additional postsecondary courses taken at vocational schools or community colleges can also be transferred towards a full degree, depending on the school's requirements for transfer credits. Bachelor's degrees in Spanish qualify students for future careers as translators, interpreters, and foreign language teachers.
Online Master of Arts degrees in Spanish allow graduates to pursue an even deeper study of the language through specializations in linguistics, literature, culture, or civilization. Graduate students can also obtain assistantships in which they are paid or have their tuition covered by assisting in teaching foreign language courses. Those specializing in linguistics will take courses including Research Methods, Phonetics and Phonology, Language Teaching Methods, and Technical Translation. For the literature specialization, classes include Latin American Literature, Poetry, US Hispanic Literature, Literary Translation, Mexican Writers, and Teaching Methodology. Classes and readings are usually given in Spanish. The master's degree is 36 credits and can be completed in two years. Students must take a final oral and written exam or complete a master's thesis project in order to graduate, depending on the school. Since the master's thesis counts for credits, the non-thesis curriculum track may differ in its credit requirements. Master's degree holders can go on to become teachers at the elementary, high school, and postsecondary level. Many also go on to pursue their doctorate in linguistics or literature.
Many different kinds of online certificates in Spanish are available according to specialization, such as in business, healthcare, or simply language studies. Most certificates are enrichment programs or fluency certificates which are not necessarily applicable towards teaching certifications or degrees. Certificates can be earned through a series of online courses, and are not meant for bilingual students who already speak Spanish. Spanish language certificates may provide a certified oral proficiency rating from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) through a final examination process. Certificates are most often sought out by professionals who wish to use Spanish in their workplace, or even for travel or socializing.
The Importance of an Accredited Online Spanish Degree
When researching and applying to online Spanish degree programs, it is important for students to research the accreditation of the institutions they are considering attending. Accreditation is a voluntary process by which a school is vetted by an external organization that assesses the extent to which the education offered at the school meets established national standards. The United States Department of Education recognizes specific accreditation agencies as being qualified to make such assessments.
Because there is no programmatic accreditation for Spanish degree programs, students should prioritize regional accreditation of their prospective institutions when deciding what program to attend. Regional accreditation is given by one of six regional agencies that focus specifically on traditional non-profit educational institutions. Regional accreditation differs from both national and programmatic accreditation, as the latter two accredit non-traditional and for-profit institutions, and individual programs, respectively. Regional accreditation is the most esteemed of the types of accreditation. The acceptance of degrees or transfer credits is highly dependent on the standards of each regionally accredited institution, though most accept transfers from other regionally accredited institution. Though national accreditation is also recognized as legitimate, some regionally accredited institutions may choose not to accept credit transfers from nationally accredited schools.
Careers in Spanish
People with online degrees in Spanish may pursue careers as foreign language teachers, translators, and interpreters, all of which require a bachelor's degree, at minimum. Foreign language teachers work in elementary, middle, and high schools as well as at the university level and in the private sector. They must plan classes and exams, and employ language learning methodologies which they learn at the bachelor's and master's degree level. Additional teaching certifications and licenses may be necessary depending upon the state and institution in which the teacher works.
Translating and interpreting job opportunities are projected to increase 29 percent in the next ten years, much faster than average job growth, due to large increases in non-English speaking populations in the US and globalizing markets. Job applicants must speak English and another language with near-native fluency, in addition to on-the-job training and at least a bachelor's degree. Because Spanish is so widely spoken, professionals find Spanish language skills useful in almost any occupation, from business and tourism to healthcare and social work.
- Spanish Professor. Accessed January 29, 2017. http://www.spanishprofessor.org/spanish-courses-online/.
- Agency list. U.S. Department of Education. Accessed January 29, 2017. https://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/agencies.aspx.
- FAQs about Accreditation. U.S. Department of Education. Accessed January 29, 2017. https://ope.ed.gov/Accreditation/FAQAccr.aspx.
- Foreign Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed July 4, 2016. http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes251124.htm.
- Interpreters and Translators. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accessed July 4, 2016. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/interpreters-and-translators.htm.