Careers in linguistics

… Specifically, what are they? I recently became interested in the subject, but I’ve not an idea as to how I’d use it. For those who do not understand (I’ve come into problems before with this question), linguistics does not revolve around knowing a language (though that would help), but rather knowing its roots and other wacky things like that. So, any help?

It’s very hard to find one outside of academics. Linguistics does usually have a fair-sized department at any university. I think professorship is the most promising route.

Do you need any additional degrees to go into professorship? What degree of linguistics do ya’ need (IE. Bachelor’s, Master’s, PhD; I’m guessing a PhD)?

Professors tend to have PhDs. So if you want to get into linguistics now you have a good 7-8 years to go.

Linguists are just about all employed in Academia. And no, you don’t need a PhD, that is, unless you want the title and not just a job.

Note that language models are a practical part of industry, in particular in computers, in particular particular dealing with PDAs and cell phones and text entry, as well as things like speech recognition and automated language translation. Also keep in mind that programming languages are also languages, so it would include things like reverse engineering, re-engineering, disassemblers, code translators, etc. So if you’re interested in computers and language models, you could find some interesting work. You’d probably want to get a Master’s if you do this, but that’s generally only 1 year and a bit over a 4-year Bachelors, rather than Ph.D.s which can run another 3-5 years on top of both Bachelors and Masters’.

You don’t always need a Master’s to get a PhD though. Although I’m not familiar with the way the humanities likes to structure their programs.

Anyone in the state of knowledge of the answer to my emboldened question?

EDIT: By the way, what is the point of having a PhD other than a title?

Many universities won’t accept you as a professor unless you have a Ph.D. Usually you need to go Bachelors -> Masters -> Ph.D, but some programs allow you to skip something. Also, usually you’d need a four-year Bachelors to get a Masters (as opposed to a three-year one) but that also is sometimes waivable. It all depends on the program. I’d tell you to take a look at the website of a university you’re interested in attending, and see what the requirements are for a Masters/Ph.D.

It should also be noted that unless you really do want to be a professor, don’t get a Ph.D. It’s actually often harder to get a job in industry when you have one, because you’re overqualified. Because a Ph.D. thesis is so specialized, if you want to get a job in the same general field but not in the specific field of your thesis, you may find it harder than if you just stopped at a Masters. But again, it depends on the field.

Forensic linguistics always looked like a pretty interesting area to me. That is, studying suicide notes/confessions/witness statements/interviews etc. to determine what people are really saying, and use the findings as evidence in court. It’s why they started recording police interviews with people who were arrested rather than going by written transcriptions (written by the police, of course, who tended to doctor them, both accidentally and deliberately).

I expect you’ll find linguistics are actually involved in more areas than you think ^^