How Do I Become an Arabic Linguist?

Jennifer Leigh

There are certain steps necessary to become an Arabic linguist: have a firm grasp on the language, attend a post-secondary institution, and apply for positions. For certain jobs, such as a college professor, it is necessary to obtain advanced degrees in linguistics or foreign language. You need to decide which type of career in linguistics you wish to pursue before beginning your education and training, as career paths vary considerably. For example, it is possible to become an Arabic translator, work on computer software, or research and document the Arabic language as an Arabic linguist.

Certain types of jobs require an advanced degree in linguistics or the Arabic language.
Certain types of jobs require an advanced degree in linguistics or the Arabic language.

While it is not necessary to be fluent in Arabic to become an Arabic linguist, you do need to be knowledgeable about the language. Researchers do not necessarily need to be capable of speaking Arabic fluently, but they need to understand the etymology and history of the language. For certain careers in linguistics, such as a translator, you do need to be able to speak and read Arabic fluently. This is why it is important to decide which path you wish to take in the field before attempting to become an Arabic linguist. The more that you know and understand the Arabic language, the easier it will be for you to find a job in the field.

A bachelor's degree in linguistics or Arabic is the minimum qualification that you need for most jobs in the field. This requires that you have a high school diploma, apply to programs at undergraduate institutions, and complete the coursework as outlined by the institution. Many positions in the field of linguistics require advanced degrees in the subject in order to be successfully hired, which involves anywhere from two to seven additional years of school at a post-secondary institution and culminates in a master's or doctoral degree. Graduate-level coursework is more complicated than undergraduate and often requires that you contribute original research to the field.

The final step to become an Arabic linguist is to apply for positions in the specific area that you wish to pursue as a career. Application processes differ depending on the job, but usually require a completed resume or curriculum vitae, references from previous employers or professors, and a well-written cover letter. You can find jobs to apply for through the government, at research institutions, and in educational settings. Talk to your advisor before you graduate college to find out the best places to look for jobs to become an Arabic linguist.

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