Having your dream job isn’t just a flighty wish.
It can become an absolute reality.
Do you want to find a job where you can use the skills you’ve worked so hard to hone—speaking Mandarin Chinese?
Ask yourself this: what’s really stopping you? It’s likely that you’re the one holding you back, because we know there are companies that are jumping at the chance to hire someone with Chinese language skills.
If you’ve passed the Chinese Efficiency Exam (HSK), then there’s a long list of potential employers you should look into. From teaching Mandarin Chinese to working for the government, there’s no shortage of jobs that require Chinese language skills. And many of them pay handsomely.
Still not convinced? Let’s look at some reasons why showcasing your Mandarin Chinese language skills on your resume could jump-start an adventurous and well-paying career!
Why You Should Consider Jobs Requiring Chinese Language Skills
- You may have an opportunity to travel abroad—and make a living doing so. If you’ve wanted to travel abroad for years but haven’t had the financial means to do so, you’re in luck. Many of these jobs for Chinese speakers will pay you to work in a Mandarin-speaking country, including mainland China, Taiwan or Singapore.
- Language skills are a perk for employers and are often well-compensated. Many of these jobs boast a handsome six-figure salary. Even if you aren’t in it for the money, having Chinese as a second language on your resume puts you at an advantage over people with little to no secondary language skills.
- Your fluency will improve even more. Practice, practice, practice! It’s hard to become fluent if you aren’t living in a Chinese-speaking country or have few Chinese-speaking friends. When speaking Chinese becomes a part of your job, however, you pick up the speed and flow of a native speaker pretty quickly.
- Some jobs value language skills over schooling. It’s true! It can be tough finding a well-paying and rewarding position without at least four years of college under your belt. While most of these jobs require a bachelor’s degree, some require little to no college or academics. All you need is a high grade on the HSK exam and possibly some high school Chinese course experience.
7 Dream Jobs Requiring Chinese Language Skills
1. Chinese Instructor
Becoming a Chinese instructor is often the goal some Mandarin learners have in mind when they begin taking Chinese courses.
This career allows you to share your love and knowledge of Chinese with others, whether that be in a high school, community college or university. You’ll be required to determine the levels of students and plan lessons accordingly. Obviously, proficiency in Mandarin Chinese is a must for this position.
In order to become a Chinese teacher, you’ll need to become certified or gain a certification waiver. You’ll also need a bachelor’s degree at a minimum and complete a teacher education program.
The job market is fairly saturated with jobs for Chinese teachers, particularly because language courses are in such high demand.
Being a Chinese teacher is an incredibly rewarding job because you get to share the joy of learning a new language with others.
2. English Instructor
Another common goal for Mandarin learners is to use their skills to travel abroad and teach English to Chinese speakers.
Teaching English in China involves all of the same things as teaching Chinese in the United States and then some.
Though requirements vary for each program, typically you’ll need a bachelor’s degree, around two years of post-grad work experience, a TEFL certification and a valid passport. And, of course, you’ll need to be willing to move abroad. To really take your students to the next level, having a working knowledge of Chinese is a plus.
Although many bilingual Westerners saturate the market for teaching English abroad, it’s important to remember how many countries speak Mandarin, and how many options you really have.
There are so many benefits to teaching English in China. From a great salary to free housing to health insurance to gaining visas, there’s no shortage of benefits to traveling abroad with your Chinese skills!
3. Subtitler or Transcriber
A transcriber is someone who listens to audio and transcribes the dialogue into text. A subtitler is a type of transcriber who creates subtitles for films, television shows and educational videos.
In the context of Chinese, one could become a transcriber or subtitler that takes English-language media and transcribes it into 汉字 (hàn zì) — Chinese characters or converts Chinese-language media into English.
Becoming a transcriber is often a freelance gig, meaning you usually don’t need a degree to become one. All you need is proof that you can read and speak Chinese well. Usually, a speed typing test and transcriber foot pedal are required. As with many freelance jobs, you’ll have quite a bit of competition.
While being a transcriber isn’t the most exciting job, it’s definitely one of the easiest ways to make money with your Chinese skills. It’s also a great way to get paid to practice your Chinese.
4. Research Analyst
A research analyst, also known as a financial analyst, is someone who investigates and reports to their company in order to help them make better decisions (what they’re looking for depends on the company). A research analyst is there to sniff out competition and find out what they’re up to.
When it comes to large companies that have competition in countries like China and other Mandarin-speaking nations, having Chinese language skills are a major plus when investigating information that may not be available in English.
You’ll usually be required to have a degree in this field, but if you prove to have strong analytical skills, then some companies may not require a degree. You can get close to making six figures for this kind of job. If you love research and have strong Mandarin reading skills, becoming a research analyst may be the perfect spot for you!
5. Translator or Interpreter
To become an interpreter, you’ll need good reading, listening and speaking skills in both Chinese and English. Much of the requirements one needs to be a live translator are similar to the requirements of a transcriber, as it’s a freelance career. However, you’ll need to be at almost native-level fluency to get any jobs.
The job market is very broad for Chinese interpreters, including government and law positions, medical translating, conferences, private work and more.
Becoming a live interpreter is an exciting and well-paying way to keep your Chinese skills sharp. The flexibility and freedom are also pretty great.
6. Global Marketing Specialist
Global marketing is becoming increasingly important, especially when products have a worldwide presence. A global or international marketing specialist is similar to a research analyst in that one will have to do quite a bit of analyzing and research. However, a marketing specialist works more towards improving a particular brand’s presence in other countries, including China.
Chinese language skills are a must for this position if a company or brand is trying to market their product in China. Strong marketing, design, administration and financial skills are also needed. You may be required to live in China to properly oversee a company’s marketing team there, so both written and spoken Chinese skills are necessary. A bachelor’s degree is also required.
If you have strong leadership skills and are looking for an opportunity to travel, becoming a global marketing specialist may be the job for you.
7. College Prep Consultant or Tutor
A college prep consultant or Chinese tutor is different from being a formal Chinese or English teacher, as its scope of employment is very broad and may not require certifications or intensive schooling.
A Chinese tutor or college consultant job is a great way to earn yourself a work visa in China if you wish to work abroad. However, it usually takes a couple years of experience to get that far.
Because there are so many different types of positions for Chinese tutors, from working at colleges to freelance gigs, the requirements for this job are pretty broad. For the most part, one needs to pass the HSK exam and have a working knowledge of Chinese. These positions can take place in either China or your native country.
This career is a rewarding one because you can help Chinese students get into U.S. colleges or U.S. students study abroad in a Chinese-speaking world. The benefits, depending on the type of tutor or counselor position you secure, often come with a handsome salary and benefits.
There’s no shortage of options out there for job seekers with Chinese language skills. It’s important to recognize your worth as a Chinese speaker and put your talent to good use!
祝你好运 (Zhù nǐ hǎo yùn) — Good luck on landing your dream job!
Em Casalena is a published author, freelance writer and music columnist. They write about a lot of stuff, from music to films to language.
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