army linguistics jobs take soldiers to the corners of the globe

Security Clearance

Most linguist jobs require background checks and security interviews for top secret security clearance. Some use this clearance for civilian and/or government employment opportunities after leaving military service, including roles in the FBI, the National Security Agency and corporations needing employees with language skills.

Available Languages

Arabic Egyptian
Arabic Levantine
Chinese Mandarin
Persian Farsi
Arabic Modern Standard

The Defense Language Institute (DLI)

After nine weeks of Basic Combat Training, you will report to the Defense Language Institute (DLI) for language and linguistics training. One of the world’s foremost language schools, DLI provides expert instruction in many different languages. In addition to your Advanced Individual Training, your language training will last from 6 to 16 months. As part of your education at DLI, you will also learn about the history, culture and people who speak the language you’re learning.

Testing and Requirements

The Army uses the Defense Language Aptitude Battery (DLAB) to evaluate how well a native English speaker can learn a language. The score on the DLAB determines the level of difficulty for language training.

If you already speak a foreign language, the basic measure of language proficiency is a score of 2/2 or better on the Defense Language Proficiency Test. If no DLPT is available for the language, an Oral Proficiency Interview can be scheduled through the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center.

Civilian LINGUISTICS Careers

Having experience as a military linguist sets you up for many opportunities once you complete your time in active duty. You might want to pursue a civilian linguistics career in a government agency such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, Homeland Security or in the fields of education or international business.

Benefits and Incentives

In addition to all regular benefits, linguists are paid a Foreign Language Proficiency Bonus as an incentive to maintain and improve their language skills. Linguists are paid up to $400 for each language they demonstrate proficiency in and can receive up to $1,000 a month.

You might also qualify for an enlistment bonus up to $40,000 and the Montgomery GI Bill worth over $60,000.  College credits may also qualify you for advanced promotion and extra pay.


You may ask us any questions on becoming a linguist/translator or other opportunities in the U.S. Army. Our recruiters are ready to take your questions and will get back to you as soon as possible.

Call Us


Want more information mailed to you about how to become a linguist in the U.S. Army? Fill out the form in the link below (some fields are optional) and you will receive a brochure in your requested language within one to two weeks. Voluntary information shared with the U.S. Army will not be shared with any other party and will be used for recruiting purposes only. For more information, please read our Privacy & Security Notice.

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