What Can You Do with an English Degree?

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Are you a master of words with a passion for communication and literature and interested in various English careers? Then an English degree could be your ticket to a fulfilling and diverse path forward!

English careers

From teaching to journalism and everything in between, there are several ways to use your English degree across a variety of industries.

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Whether you enjoy the fast-paced environment of the corporate world or have dreams of publishing your own novel, an English degree is a solid choice to give you a leg up in the competitive modern job market.

What Can You Do With an English Degree?

People with English Degree, working in Marketing industry

When deciding what to do with an English degree, it’s important to know that an English degree offers a far-reaching skill set that can be used in a variety of fields.

From business marketing and publicity to content development or teaching, there are many different options to choose from after you have mastered the English language. If you like writing and editing, you can opt to become a technical writer, an editor, a proofreader, a general writer, or even an author. You can also take your writing skills into a path of journalism writing about news and trending stories.

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If you prefer teaching, you can use your English degree to become an English teacher and opt to teach kindergarten all the way through to college depending on your preference. Those who are looking to use their English degree for non-writing and non-teaching jobs may find success as a public relations specialist. You can also use your English skills to work in many fields like marketing, business, and even law.

10 Things You Can Do with a Degree in English

You can unlock many fulfilling careers with an English degree. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), here are 10 options to consider and their projected job outlook over the next 10 years.

1. Librarian and Library Media Specialist

Library Media Specialist checking online for book catalogs

Education Requirement: Master’s degree

A career as a librarian or library media specialist can be a strategic choice for book-loving English majors. These professionals build and maintain library collections, plan educational programs, and supervise support staff. They also help library patrons conduct research, find materials, and learn how to use technology. The employment of librarians and library specialists is projected to grow by 6%.

2. English Professor

English Professor discussing to her class

Education Requirement: Doctorate

As an English professor, you can share your love for reading and writing with college students. A postsecondary English teacher plans syllabi, teaches classes, mentors students, grades papers, and serves on administrative committees.

You’ll also develop expertise by researching and publishing articles in your areas of specialty, like American literature or science fiction. The demand for postsecondary teachers is forecasted to increase by 12%.

3. Lawyer

Lawyers and paralegal discussing in their office

Education Requirement: Doctorate or professional degree

As a lawyer, you can build on the communication and research skills you developed as an English major. Most people who pursue this career path attend law school, complete a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree, and pass the bar exam.

Lawyers typically create legal documents like contracts, research laws, and represent their clients in hearings and trials. The employment of lawyers is expected to increase by 10%.

4. Public Relations Specialist

Public Relations Specialists in a meeting

Education Requirement: Bachelor’s degree

A public relations specialist helps individuals and organizations develop and maintain positive relationships with the public. This position’s responsibilities may include answering requests from media outlets, creating social media campaigns, and writing press releases. The employment of public relations specialists is expected to grow by 8%.

5. Editor

Editor reviewing articles from the writers

Education Requirement: Bachelor’s degree

An editor plans and prepares material for publication. Typical duties include correcting grammatical errors, fact-checking material, and helping content creators make revisions.

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An editor can work for book publishers, healthcare systems, newspapers, and many other employers. It is projected that demand for editors will decline by 5%, so this field can be competitive.

6. Technical Writer

Technical Writer thinking about additional research work

Education Requirement: Bachelor’s degree

A technical writer helps communicate complex topics to general audiences. Experts in this field write assembly instructions, how-to guides, instruction manuals, and other technical documentation.

They often gather user feedback, help design graphics, and research products to create clear instructions. It is forecasted that positions for technical writers will increase by 6%.

7. Writer and Author

Writer working on some articles

Education Requirement: Bachelor’s degree

Becoming a writer or author is one of the most obvious career paths for English majors with a passion for the written word. These experts create engaging fictional or nonfictional content for books, blogs, magazines, plays, and other media. They usually conduct research, write drafts, and revise their writing based on editor feedback. The demand for writers and authors is projected to increase by 4%.

8. Interpreter and Translator

Translator attending an international business meeting

Education Requirement: Bachelor’s degree

If you have a knack for learning languages, a career as an interpreter or translator could be a strategic choice. These specialists convert spoken or written words from one language to another as precisely as possible to ensure no meaning is lost in the translated version. It is projected that the employment of interpreters and translators will rise by 20%.

9. High School English Teacher

High School English Teacher discussing in class

Education Requirement: Bachelor’s degree

A high school English teacher educates 9th- to 12th-grade students about literature and writing. They design lesson plans, teach classes, grade assignments, and meet with parents. These specialists also help students prepare for standardized tests and college applications. The employment of high school teachers is expected to increase by 5%.

10. Fundraiser

team of fundraisers talking about their next outreach

Education Requirement: Bachelor’s degree

A fundraiser helps nonprofit organizations, political campaigns, and other groups raise money and other donations. Typical responsibilities include finding and contacting potential donors, planning fundraising events, and developing relationships with donors.

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The employment of fundraisers is projected to increase by 11%. You can use this short list as a starting point to research the diverse jobs you can get with an English degree.

English Careers & Salaries

English Careers & Salaries

Many career paths can be pursued after you have successfully completed an English degree program. To help you understand the broad scope of the English field, we have put together a list of the top 40 English careers & salaries according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Chief Operating Officers $179,520
Marketing Administrators $135,030
Lawyers $127,990
Promotion Managers $127,150
General and Operations Managers, Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services $127,110
Top Executives $98,980
Education Administrators $98,420
Project Management Specialists $94,500
Information Writers $80,560
Technical Writers $78,060
Professors of Communication and Writing $77,560
Creative Writing English Professors $75,930
Writers and Authors $69,510
Job Specification Writers $64,120
Marketing Specialists $63,920
Instructional Materials Directors $63,740
Editors $63,350
Press Secretaries $62,800
Executive Assistants $62,060
Special Education Teachers $61,820
Elementary School Teachers $61,400
Librarians $61,190
Editors, Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers $61,060
Kindergarten Teachers $60,900
Court Reporters $60,380
Adult Basic and Secondary Education and ESL Teachers $59,720
High School Teachers, Private $56,510
Advertising Agents $52,340
Songwriters $49,130
Journalists $48,370
Legal Secretaries and Administrative Assistants $47,710
Abstract Writers $47,310
Electronic Publishers $46,910
Medical Records Specialists $46,660
Braille Transcribers $37,900
Office Secretaries $37,880
Information Clerks $37,450
Court Messengers $33,050
Medical Transcriptionists $30,100
Sportsbook Ticket Writers $27,530

Based on your skill set and experience, you may make more or less than the average salaries shown above through the course of your career journey. Due to this degree offering such broad career opportunities, it helps to look at the specific career outlooks to understand the projected trends for the various English degree jobs.

Reputable sources, such as the BLS, are an excellent starting point for researching the specifics of the career ideas you hope to pursue. Overall, the English career outlook is on par with the national average across all occupations. For example, the BLS estimates that jobs within communications and media will experience a 6% growth over the next decade.

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Additionally, education, training, and library occupations are projected to have a 7% growth during the same time frame. This positive growth outlook for English careers is largely due to the advancement of technology within the business world and the multitude of new ways that organizations must use to deliver their messages to the public.

When pursuing a degree in English, much like with careers in finance or engineering careers, you have a number of career opportunities available to you depending upon your interests and specialization.

How to Know if a Degree in English is Right for Me

managing editors planning their projects
An English degree can be a great fit if you want to sharpen your critical analysis, reading, and writing skills. Here are other signs that you may excel as an English major:

  • You can spend hours lost in a good book
  • You’re a stickler for proper grammar and spelling, even in emails and text messages
  • You want to study literature from many authors, genres, and periods, such as African American literature and children’s literature
  • You want to pursue a creative career, like freelance writing or journalism.
  • You enjoy learning new words and languages

Choosing a major is subjective, but these criteria can help you determine if your college’s English department is the right home for you.

English Licensure and Certifications

professionals with TESOL

Many English majors want to become teachers after graduation, but you may need to complete a certification or license to qualify for this career. Here are two popular credentials:

  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL): This graduate certificate prepares you to educate English language learners in community colleges, nonprofit language institutes, and other organizations.
  • State Teacher Certification: Many states require you to take a teacher preparation course and pass an exam to become a public school teacher.

Teacher licensing rules vary by state, so it’s beneficial to research certification requirements in your preferred area.

Is Financial Aid Available?

English Degree Financial Aid

You may qualify for financial aid opportunities to help you pay for your English degree. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) can help you determine if you’re eligible for financial aid from federal and state governments. You may qualify for grants, student loans, work-study programs, and other resources.

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You could be eligible for grants and scholarships from your college, community organizations, professional associations, and other groups. You can also ask your current employer if they offer a tuition reimbursement program for employees.

What Is an English Degree?

Content Strategist choosing what photo to publish

An English degree is a degree program that teaches the skills necessary to effectively utilize the English language through various forms of written and oral communication. Many English degrees also cover literature throughout the course of history to provide students with a broad foundation for understanding the nuances of the language.

Many students pursue a degree in this field to work towards English degree careers in teaching. However, there are numerous career paths available beyond teaching English classes, including work within the business field, technology, and publication.

In a typical bachelor’s English degree program, you can expect to take courses that cover problem-solving and critical thinking, oral communication, literature, and in-depth writing skills. If you would like to specialize in a specific English topic, many colleges offer a variety of concentrations within the degree program that include:

  • Creative Writing
  • Cultural Studies
  • Film and Media
  • Literature
  • Linguistics
  • Writing and Rhetoric

If you need more flexibility in your schedule than a traditional degree program offers, there are several top-tier colleges that offer online English degrees to help adult students balance the demands of career or family obligations.

Is English a Good Major?

Students pursuing English Major

Yes, English is a good major for many undergraduate students. This degree helps you gain valuable transferable skills, including critical thinking, problem-solving, and writing for diverse audiences. These versatile abilities can make you an appealing candidate for employers in many industries.

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For example, an English major could work as a technical writer for an information technology or manufacturing company. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a technical writer earns a median salary of $78,060. You could also seek employment as a content creator, editor, teacher, or many other careers.

What Skills Do You Learn in an English Degree?

Writer proofreading her works

As an English major, you can take courses in communication, creative writing, literature, rhetoric, and other areas. These classes can help you acquire desirable skills, including:

  • Crafting a persuasive argument
  • Digital literacy and literary analysis
  • Editing and proofreading
  • Organization and research
  • Storytelling

These capabilities can boost your resume and enable you to qualify for many English major careers.

Where Do English Majors Work?

English Degree graduates, working in a Publishing agency

Most employers need workers who can communicate and collaborate effectively. Because these skills are in high demand, English majors can work in a diverse range of fields, including:

  • Advertising and marketing
  • Business and Finance
  • Education
  • Journalism
  • Publishing

You can find English major careers in almost every industry, allowing you to seek employment in areas that best fit your passions and professional goals.

How Much Does an English Teacher Make?

English Teacher's Salary

Many people assume that English teachers earn low wages, but you could potentially earn a high salary in this field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here are the median salaries for several career paths in education.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Elementary, Middle, and High School Principals $98,420
Postsecondary Teachers $79,640
High School Teachers $61,820
Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers $61,350
Adult Basic and Secondary Education and ESL Teachers $59,720

Salaries vary widely based on factors like your employer, region, and work experience. Earning a graduate degree and teaching for several years could potentially boost your salary.

What Can I Do With an English Degree Besides Teach?

Lawyer and her client in a meeting

An English degree can open the door to numerous exciting possibilities beyond teaching. The Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that many careers for English majors will experience positive job growth over the next decade.

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For example, you can apply your writing skills by creating user manuals for various companies. The demand for technical writers will increase by 6% in the next 10 years. Many English majors also find employment in corporate and nonprofit organizations. For instance, public relations and fundraising managers will experience 8% job growth over the same time period.

What Are the High Paying Jobs for English Majors?

High Paying Jobs for English Majors

Many English major careers can earn lucrative salaries, especially if you work for a corporation or law firm. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are five high-paying careers with an English degree.

Careers Annual Median Salaries
Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers $133,380
Lawyers $127,990
Public Relations and Fundraising Managers $119,860
Postsecondary Education Administrators $96,910
Technical Writers $78,060

Starting with related entry-level jobs for English majors can help you gain the experience and knowledge you need to progress to higher-paying positions.

Is an English Degree Worth It?

English Teacher in a high school class

Yes, an English degree is worth it for many professionals. This major allows you to acquire in-demand soft skills often highly valued by employers.

For example, you can hone your argumentative writing, communication, and editing skills. According to the BLS, editors are projected to see a job growth of 5% over the next 10 years while technical writers are expected to see a 6% job growth over the same period.

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If you’re wondering what can you do with an English major, the answer is almost anything. This versatile degree can prepare you for many careers in corporations, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, and other areas. And because this degree is so flexible, you may find it easier to translate your skills to new industries if you want a career change.

Getting Your English Degree Online

student getting his English Degree online

An English degree involves more than just reading books. You’ll develop valuable abilities like active listening, creative writing, and project management. These skills can make you an attractive employee for employers in numerous industries.

For instance, you could pursue a career as a freelance writer, marketing specialist, or English professor. You can also improve your writing skills and gain a deep understanding of the history of literature. If you’re passionate about language and stories, you’ll likely find personal enrichment as an English major.

If you’re ready to start your online English degree, you can take the first step today by researching accredited programs.

Ready to start your journey?
Brianna Anderson
WRITTEN BY Brianna Anderson

Brianna has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Florida and an M.A. in English from the University of Kentucky. Her research interests include careers and professional development, digital pedagogy, and first-year writing.