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Military Translator & Interpreter Jobs After the Military

jobs after the military

Being able to speak or write in another language is an excellent skill to have when looking for a job. Those that have worked as an interpreter or translator during their time in the military will have those skills.  This is in addition to the education and experience they will have gained during their time in service.  There are many job fields they could go into when their time in the military is over.

Civilian Jobs After Serving as Translator or Interpreter in US Military

Here are a few civilian jobs after serving in the military as an interpreter/translator:

Foreign Language Teacher

Becoming a Foreign Language Teacher can be the right career path.  With experience learning and using a foreign language, and a desire to teach that language to others, you will be a good fit for this career.

You could work at a secondary school, or a college or university. As a foreign language teacher, you might also be in charge of a student club, or other cultural experiences having to do with the language that you will be teaching.

You will need to at least have your bachelor’s degree in order to become a teacher. You would also need a teacher’s license to teach in your state. If you would like to teach at the college level you would need to have a master’s degree, if not a doctoral degree. Having a master’s degree in foreign language can also be helpful even if you do want to stay with the K-12 age group.

According to Salary.com, the average salary of a Foreign Language Teacher would be from $37,250 to $65,140 as of March 28th, 2019.

>> Find jobs with companies looking to hire veterans and transitioning military.  Click here to get started today!

ESL Teacher

An English as a Second Language Teacher or ESL Teacher can also be a good option for those who have worked as an interpreter or translator in the military. You could work at the elementary, secondary, or postsecondary levels or for adults, teaching them basic english skills. This could also be a career you could do on a part-time basis.

In order to become an ESL teacher you would need either a bachelor’s degree or master’s degree, preferably in ESL. You would also need to obtain your teacher’s license in your state.

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of an ESL teacher would be $47,714 as of April 21st, 2019.

Interpreter or Translator

Not all military jobs translate so well to an exact career, but the interpreter or translator job can. You can get a civilian career as an interpreter or translator. Interpreters use the spoken word, and translators use the written word in order to convert one language to another. You can work for all types of employers. Many businesses hire interpreters or translators to help them in this global world. You can also work for the government at different levels, including in your local community. Work in the medical, legal or educational fields may also be available to you.

You should have a bachelor’s degree in order to work in this field, and of course be fluent in another language. Having experience in another culture or knowing how other cultures live can also take you further in this field.

According to Salary.com, the average salary of a translator would be $47,123 as of March 28, 2019 and according to Glassdoor.com, the average salary of an interpreter would be $36,000 as of April 22, 2019.


A historian would work to research, analyze, and interpret the past. Having a background in another language and culture would have a lot of benefits in this position. A historian can work in many different places, gathering information on behalf of businesses, organizations, the government, or even to write a book. You could work in a museum, or even a college or university as a professor. Traveling can also be a big part of the job.

In order to find a good career as a historian, you will need more than a bachelor’s degree. A master’s degree would be ideal, and sometimes a doctorate depending on the type of work. If you decide to go on to become a professor, you would definitely need a master’s degree and if you decide to teach history in the primary or secondary levels, you would also need a teacher’s certificate.

According to Payscale.com, the average salary of Historian would be $47,042 as of April 18th, 2019 and the average salary of a professor would be $86,667 as of April 16th, 2019.

Interpreter and Translator Military Occupation Codes

The Army, Marine Corps, and the Air Force all have the Interpreter/Translator MOS/AFSC. The Army is MOS 09L, the Marine Corps is MOS 2799, and the Air Force is AFSC 9L000. In the Navy you can work in the Cryptologic Technician career which is similar.  The Coast Guard uses interpreters in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary.

As an interpreter/translator in the military, service members would have learned skills such as:

  • Being able to listen to others
  • Being able to effectively speak to others
  • Problem solving
  • Understanding and speaking another language

In many cases, those in this MOS/AFSC have learned the following languages:

  • Pushtu
  • Persian
  • Arabic

In other less likely cases, they may have learned:

  • Chinese
  • Kurdish
  • Korean
  • Russian
  • Turkish

Beyond that, these service members are capable of learning a different language than their own.  This is beyond what they have learned and experienced during their time in the military.

After having served in the military in this type of job, you should be able to find a good civilian career. You have the skills, experience, and the drive to do so.




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About the author

Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.