Japanese is a discipline that encompasses not only the Japanese language, but also Japanese culture, literature, art, history, and philosophy. Advanced degree programs in Japanese studies explore Japan’s relationship with other East Asian countries, as well as examine Japan in a global context. Japanese is a good fit for students who want to master the Japanese language, who want to teach Japanese, or who seek a career in Japanese translation or interpretation. Online degree programs in Japanese are uncommon, and some may incorporate only a few online courses into a curriculum that is largely campus-based. Other online college degree programs in Japanese are focused on communicating in the engineering field, where a technical understanding of the Japanese language is helpful for English speakers who frequently work with Japanese speakers. Traditional programs, however, are available at all degree levels.
Online Associate Degree Programs for Japanese
It is uncommon to find an online degree program in Japanese offered at the associate degree level. Associate degree programs in Japanese generally last two years, and may be included in a general studies or foreign language curriculum. Such programs will include general education courses in college writing, mathematics, and humanities, coupled with Japanese language studies and area studies courses. Courses might include elementary and intermediate Japanese, as well as courses in East Asian civilization and politics, and Japanese life and culture.
Online Bachelor’s Degree Programs for Japanese
Online bachelor degree programs in Japanese are also uncommon. Bachelor’s degree programs in Japanese are typically a stepping stone for students who want to eventually pursue graduate study in Japanese linguistics and literature, although some earn teacher licensure and go on to teach Japanese in high schools. The focus of most bachelor’s programs in Japanese is on acquiring language skills, and students take beginning, intermediate, and advanced classes in Japanese. In addition, students take courses in East Asian history, culture, and civilization, as well as study classical and contemporary Japanese literature.
Online Master’s Degree Programs for Japanese
Most online masters degree programs in Japanese are geared toward individuals with a background in the engineering field. For example, the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a Master of Engineering in Technical Japanese through distance education that is designed to help English-speaking engineers communicate and understand technical information with Japanese-speaking engineers. Programs such as this differ from traditional master’s programs in Japanese studies because of their emphasis on communicating in industrial, scientific, and business contexts. Traditional master’s programs in Japanese tend to take a more classical approach to Japanese language studies, emphasizing everyday conversation in Japanese, as well as Japanese literature, literary criticism, comparative studies, and area studies.
Online Doctoral Degree Programs for Japanese
While accredited online degree programs in Japanese are not currently available at the doctoral level, traditional Ph.D. programs allow students to specialize in a specific area of Japanese. Specialization areas might include Japanese language and linguistics, or language and literature. Students take advanced courses in literary theory, classical and contemporary literature, sociolinguistics, or East Asian art. Students typically take a comprehensive exam after completing their course work. The dissertation is the most significant undertaking involved in a Ph.D. program in Japanese, and entails writing a book-length document detailing students’ original research into a relevant area of Japanese studies and defending the dissertation in front of a faculty panel.
Online Degree Programs in Japanese in the Work Place
Those who graduate from the best online degree programs in Japanese may go on to teach Japanese in public and private high schools or teach courses in Japanese language and Japanese studies at the college level. Others may pursue careers in Japanese interpretation and translation. High school teachers require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and teacher certification, and are projected to experience 7% job growth through 2020, which is slower than average growth when compared to other occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Postsecondary teachers generally require a doctorate or professional degree, and are projected to experience 17% job growth through 2020, which is considered average employment growth. Interpreters and translators typically require a bachelor’s degree, and can expect 42% employment growth through 2020, which is much faster than average for all occupations.
The median yearly salary for high school teachers was $53,230, according to the BLS. The salary of postsecondary teachers is more reflective of their advanced education, and sits at $62,050. The median yearly salary for interpreters and translators was $43,300. When considering these salary figures, be mindful that BLS figures are averages, and that actual salaries are dependent on your experience, geographical location, and other factors.