Interpreters and Translators Top Emerging Career in 2017 According to UC San Diego

The University of California San Diego’s Extension Center for Research on the Regional Economy published research concerning the outlook of career opportunities for college graduates in 2017. The Center ranked the top 10 “emerging careers” for bachelor’s degree holders and found that interpreters and translators topped the national list:

  1. Interpreters and translators
  2. Operations research analysts
  3. Personal financial advisors
  4. Computer systems analysts
  5. Software developers, applications
  6. Market research analysts and marketing specialists
  7. Substance abuse and behavioral disorder counselors
  8. Information security analysts
  9. Meeting, convention and event planners
  10. Management analysts

68,000 Interpreters and Translators by 2026

The report published by UC San Diego used information from labor-market data firm Emsi. They filtered Emsi national data by job change percentage across 10 years from 2016 to 2026 (greater than or equal to 10,000 jobs), included only entry-level jobs that required a bachelor’s degree, and which required work experience of zero to five years.

Additional sources included the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and Burning Glass Labor Insights for miscellaneous demographic breakdowns and employment states and metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) data.

Interpreters and translators topped the national list and were second place in the localized San Diego rankings. According to Emsi’s data, interpretation and translation will skyrocket in terms of projected growth numbers for the next nine years to 2026, when the firm predicted there would be 67,985 professionals in the industry with a median hourly rate USD 21.90.

That’s a growth rate of 31% across the US, over four times more than the average job growth rate in the US at 7% (between 5 to 9% growth rate is average), according to the BLS. Notably, the BLS has its own Fastest Growing Occupations list where interpreters and translators are absent.

Apply in California

The 2017 report provided a further breakdown of career outlook for each of the top ten ranked jobs. California sports the highest employment level for interpreters and translators, followed by Texas and Florida.

The report also included brief feedback from the director of Medical Connections GmbH on the demand for video remote interpreting with curious input saying “the art of public speaking is another key skill for interpreters now. They have to be able to do the speech like the speaker would and even better.”

Translator and interpreter job openings consistently go above 5,000 to 6,000 entries across popular job sites, LinkedIn, and SimplyHired.

From Zero in 2016 to Top Spot in 2017?

UC San Diego’s 2016 emerging careers report did not include interpreters and translators in the top ten rankings at all, though a change in methodology could have significantly affected the outcome.

In their 2016 report, UC San Diego also used data from Emsi, but looked at job growth percentage from 2015 to 2019 and included jobs with 4% or higher growth. They also used Burning Glass national data for 2015 and the top ten results are the jobs that are cross-referenced between Emsi and Burning Glass.