Careers You Should Consider
Careers You Should Consider: The following is a list of English major careers, with typical responsibilities and average salaries.
Although an English degree may not directly prepare you for one particular role, the skills you gain from it are excellently written and verbal communication, critical thinking, persuasive reasoning are transferable to a number of different fields, many of which pay quite well.
“If you want to major in English and earn a lot of money, you don’t necessarily have to figure out how to do that as a writer,” she says. “Take your communication and analytical thinking skills, and apply them in other areas.”
Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and PayScale, I rounded up some of the best-paying jobs for workers who have bachelor’s degrees in English.
In this article, I list 10 careers for English majors, including their typical responsibilities and average salaries.
Table of Contents
Why Should I Pursue a Career in English?
Adaptability and flexibility are key traits to have when looking for a career and trying to prove yourself to potential employers.
English graduates possess strong liberal arts backgrounds that showcase their ability to adapt to many job responsibilities.
English majors can succeed in several high-paying jobs that offer career advancement opportunities.
Recent graduates should expect entry-level jobs for English majors to pay less than entry-level positions in some other areas, including STEM fields.
However, individuals can continue their education through professional development or by earning advanced degrees both of which can raise their salary potential.
Beyond external motivations, many students pursue a career in English simply because literature and writing are their passions. Most students want to pursue a career where they can put their interests to good use.
How Many Years Does It Take to Enter This Field?
Associate degrees typically take two years to complete. You can then transfer your credits to a bachelor’s program, which requires an additional two years of study.
An undergraduate education involves approximately 120 college credits. Many master’s programs require two more years and 45-60 credits.
The length of a doctoral program varies the most, as the majority of your time in the program consists of researching and writing a dissertation. Students typically take 4-6 years to earn their doctorates and complete 90-120 credits in the process.
If your career goal requires you to earn a professional license, such as a teaching license, you may need to complete additional requirements outside of those related to your degree.
Beyond course requirements, your program’s learning model also influences how long you need to remain in school.
In an individually paced program, your course load each semester is flexible and you move through the curriculum at your own pace.
Alternatively, in a cohort learning program, you take a set number of courses each semester with the same group of classmates; this structure is more rigid but allows for more collaboration and networking.
Careers After an English Major – Great Jobs for English Majors
Since your major is only one aspect of your professional profile, you should carefully assess other values, interests, and skills before making a final career decision. However, here are some common careers for English majors to consider.
1. Social Media Manager
Social media managers need the kind of creativity possessed by English majors to devise strategies to promote an organization through social media outlets.
Often, they develop written proposals for other staff to consider and must explain their ideas to colleagues in order to draw consensus.
Social media managers often need to choose bloggers and content developers with whom to affiliate, and they need to manage these relationships.
The critical reading skills of an English major can help them to select quality writers and provide constructive feedback to these individuals.
The time management skills of the English major help the social media manager to juggle the many different projects which are typically coordinated within that role.
New graduates will often start as assistants supporting the efforts of social media, public relations, and marketing managers. Pursue on-campus roles with social media for student organizations or administrative offices at your college.
Salary: Social media managers earn an average annual salary of $50,473.3
2. Technical Writer
Technical writers compose manuals, frequently asked questions, help sections of websites, and other documentation regarding the use of products and services.
They tap the ability of English majors to use precise language to explain ideas most clearly and simply.
Technical writers need to solicit and incorporate feedback as they revise documentation based on user experiences just like English majors do when revising their essays based on the criticisms of faculty and classmates.
Salary: Technical writers earn an average annual salary of $60,103.4
3. Public Relations Specialist
Public relations specialists need to tell a compelling story about a client or colleague which will capture the attention of the media and generate placement with a magazine, newspaper, website, television, or radio station.
English majors have developed a refined sense of storytelling and have the creativity and writing skills to convey these messages through press releases.
Organizational skills critical to managing the English major’s extensive reading/writing workload are essential for public relations representatives as they plan events and address the needs of multiple constituents.
Salary: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual salary for public relations specialists is $61,150.5
Ask an attorney to reference their most critical skills, and it won’t take long for them to mention writing as a core skill. Lawyers compose contracts, memos, legal documentation, and courtroom arguments.
The writing skills of English majors, and their ability to carefully construct language, position them to excel in these aspects of legal work.
Writing maybe even more essential to the success of law students as they continually draft arguments about legal cases and precedents.
Law students also use the reading skills that English majors develop in order to wade through the extensive legal texts and articles that are assigned.
In order to pass the bar exam, law students must also craft well-written answers to essay questions.
Salary: Lawyers earn a median annual salary of $122,960, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.6
5. Grant Writer
Grant writers are also storytellers, as they must convincingly explain to funding agents how resources will positively impact their constituents.
They often review, edit, and modify submissions from scientists and faculty as part of the grant development process.
Research and reading skills are essential to grant writers as they investigate funding sources and review projects which have been funded by target organizations over time.
The artistic sensibilities of many English majors favor them in situations where they are generating funding for organizations in the realms of art and culture.
Salary: Grant writers earn an average annual salary of $51,395.7
Librarians can tap the English major’s ability to appreciate good literature as they consider which books to incorporate into their collection. Reading skills help them to quickly read book reviews as they decide upon selections.
English majors learn how to tap resources as they compile information for papers and librarians spend considerable time guiding patrons regarding the best sources for their research projects.
The detailed orientation and organizational skills of the English major help librarians to set up efficient systems for cataloging and shelving books.
Salary: Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, librarians earn a median annual salary of $59,050.8
7. Editor and Content Manager
Editors must have the critical eye of the English major as they review submissions for magazines and book publishers.
They provide critical notes and directives for revisions to writers. Content managers and online editors need to evaluate the writing ability of potential contributors, often freelance writers, and provide feedback and direction.
Editors, like English majors, must know their audience and plan for communications that will appeal to their readers.
They must be able to set and abide by deadlines in order to produce publications on schedule.
Salary: According to PayScale, editors earn an average annual salary of $52,403 and content managers earn an average annual salary of $59,076.9 10
8. Human Resources Specialist
Human resources specialists utilize language very precisely and carefully as they draft employment policies for organizations.
They coach managers about written communications to employees about performance. Human resources managers compose advertisements for jobs in order to attract the most qualified candidates.
They develop written training materials for staff development.
Human resource managers need the critical reading skills of the English major when reviewing resumes, employee evaluations, language for contracts, and proposals for expanding staffing.
Salary: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, human resource specialists earn a median annual salary of $61,920.11
9. Teaching English as a Second Language
English majors develop a solid command of the English language, including grammar and vocabulary. They are well-positioned to pursue graduate work and qualify as an ESL instructor domestically in the public school system or at a college.
In addition, English majors are recruited as English teachers directly out of college by international language organizations, including the Peace Corps, as well as language schools abroad.
Salary: ESL teachers earn an average annual salary of $45,544.12
Fundraisers must be able to engage prospective donors, assess their interests, and devise written communications that have the best chance of generating contributions.
Development staff write content for brochures and websites and compose campaign letters.
The draft language for volunteers to use with telephone fundraising. Fundraisers draft letters of appreciation and articles recognizing the contributions of donors.
Fundraisers, like English majors, must be organized and detail-oriented in order to plan successful events and cater to the needs of those in attendance.
Salary: Fundraisers earn an average annual salary of $46,850.
In addition, there are also many professional conferences that you can attend throughout your career.
These conferences are often designed for aspiring or active authors, but some conventions tailor to English majors who work in a professional business environment.
Sharing this article (Careers After an English Major) with your friends can also help them build up their careers and chances in the English major.