Being a professional interpreter can be an interesting and exciting career choice. Interpreters are employed in a variety of industries, such as the medical and education fields, among others. Governments also utilize the services of interpreters on a regular basis. Wherever your interests lie, it’s important to gain the necessary background and experience before attempting to enter into this highly competitive career field. Listed below are some logical steps to follow if you decide to pursue a career as an interpreter.

Earn a degree

The vast majority of organizations that employ interpreters also require them to have at least a four-year college degree. While your degree doesn’t necessarily have to be in language, it is obviously required that you be completely fluent in at least one other language in addition to your native tongue, and preferably more. Many interpreters find that degrees in other fields serve them well in their careers – fields such as business or political science, for example.

Look for interpreter training programs

Several colleges offer programs (and some issue certificates) specifically designed for interpreters. This kind of experience can be an impressive addition to your résumé.

Gain experience

Once your language skills are solid enough to allow it, get experience in any way you can by volunteering or accepting an internship as an interpreter. While these types of positions pay little or nothing monetarily, the payback you’ll receive in experience will be well worth the effort when it comes time to find a paying job.

Get certified

Several organizations offer interpreter tests and offer certification to people who pass the tests. The American Translators Association, for example, offers exams and certification for interpreters.

Keep current

Being an interpreter is quite literally a never-ending learning experience. Even after you accept a full-time position as an interpreter, keep your skills finely tuned by attending workshops and other training opportunities that will allow you to broaden your experience and skillset.

If you’re interested in becoming an interpreter, you should be pleased to know that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this profession is projected to grow by 29% between now and 2024 – significantly more growth than most other careers on average. Given the projected growth of this field, a median average wage of just over $46,000, and a variety of industries from which to choose, there has never been a better time to become a professional interpreter. Follow the steps outlined above to lay a firm groundwork for your new career in this exciting and fascinating field!