Online English Degrees

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Do you have a deep appreciation for the English language and enjoy learning about the history of literature? Then a degree in English is a great way to take your passion for words and turn it into an enjoyable, challenging career! From teaching to writing and editing, the skills you learn throughout your online English degree program can apply to a number of different career paths!

Careers in English

Those who have an interest in working in the field of English can find work in a number of different industries. Many English graduates pursue work in teaching and writing, however the communication skills learned throughout the course of your studies can be an excellent bridge to working in a variety of fields. From business to the arts, an English degree is a versatile tool to reach your future goals!

Below we have put together a short list of popular career opportunities and their median annual salaries to give you an idea of the options available after you graduate from an online English degree program:

Job Title Job Summary Median Annual Salary
Technical Writer In charge of producing written content for instruction manuals and other documents in a way that translates to the general public. $60,560
Copywriter Works for an advertising department of a company to produce persuasive ads and handouts. $52,238
English Language/Literature Teacher, Postsecondary Typically teaches two to three classes in their area of specialty to adult students at a college or university. $47,046
Copy Editor Responsible for reviewing content for their organization’s publications, including magazines, websites, and other written materials. $49,830
English as a Second Language (ESL) Teacher Primarily teaches English to students who are not native speakers and helps them to understand common customs in American culture. $46,066

*Job and salary data provided by Payscale.com


As you can see, many careers in English have to do with the educational or writing fields, and these jobs offer annual salaries above the national average across all occupations. Regardless of the English specialty you choose to work in, you may make more or less than the numbers above based upon your individual skills and experience.

Types of Online English Degrees

Online degree programs are popular choices for adult students that want to achieve their educational goals while having flexibility within their class schedule. Through an online English program, you will still receive a quality education from top universities while having the convenience to log-on to your classes anytime and anywhere.  Since the minimum education requirement for most jobs within the English field require a bachelor’s degree, most reputable universities offer degrees online in English starting at that level of education.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees in English

An online bachelor’s degree program in English will provide you with a solid foundation to build the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in the professional world. Through the course of your degree program, you will participate in a disciplined study of literature and focus on advanced writing and critical thinking skills.

In addition to the general education courses required to earn your bachelor’s in English degree, you will take specialized classes that may include:

  • Studies in World Literary Genres
  • Composition and Creative Writing
  • Literary Research
  • Literary Theory

After graduation, you will be prepared to take on a professional position as a writer, communications specialist, journalist, or editor. Additionally, the communication skills learned throughout this program are a valuable asset when applying to jobs across a variety of different industries.

Online Master’s Degrees in English

There are a select number of accredited universities that offer a master’s degree in English that is fully online. Typically, this program can be completed in less than two years, and you may be able to work at a faster pace through the flexibility of online education. During your online master’s in English degree program, you will learn advanced skills in writing and communication as well as perform critical examinations and research into the various literary genres.

While working towards your master’s degree in English, you will have the opportunity to take a wide range of literary courses that cover the following topics:

  • Technical and teaching writing
  • In-depth American Literature courses
  • Advanced courses in British literature and authors
  • Studies of literary periods throughout history
  • Literature in film and drama

To successfully earn your online master’s in English degree, you may be required to research and write a critical thesis on a professional topic. Additionally, students are required to sit for comprehensive examinations before completing their degree program.

Online Doctorate Degrees in English

For students who have aspirations of teaching in the postsecondary setting or conducting professional research, a PhD in English is the ideal route to advance your skills. The coursework of a doctorate degree in English emphasizes research skills, and the classes involved in the degree program integrate writing, rhetoric, technology, and textual studies.

When pursuing an online doctorate in English degree, you will likely have the opportunity to focus your studies by choosing from a variety of concentration areas. These specialties within the English degree program may include:

  • Literary and cultural studies
  • Writing, rhetoric, and discourse
  • Technology and media studies
  • American literature
  • Creative writing

A PhD program in English is a competitive, rigorous course of study that is geared towards helping students master professional communication and research skills. In order to successfully graduate from this online program, you will be required to research and present a professional dissertation as well as pass comprehensive examinations.

English Career Outlook and Salary Information

When considering an online degree in English, it is important to also have an understanding of the projected outlook for the specific career path you wish to pursue. With the variety of different occupations associated with an English degree, there is also a wide range of salaries and employment outlooks. Reputable resources such as the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offer a solid starting point for researching the outlook and average salaries of the different English job paths.

Data from the BLS shows an overall positive picture for those interested in working in the English field. Although some careers such as authors and editors are growing slower than the national average, there are still new jobs becoming available every year. If you are interested in using your degree to teach within a postsecondary institution, the BLS projects that there will be a 9% increase in employment between 2019 and 2029 – which is faster than the national average across all occupations!

As expected, the annual salaries for English occupations vary based upon geographic location, job responsibilities, and experience. The BLS shows that writers and editors typically average $63,200 per year, while postsecondary teachers can make an annual pay over $79,500. With salaries above the national average across all occupations and an overall positive job outlook, those pursuing a degree in English appear to have a bright future ahead of them!

View a list of the top 40 English careers to compare jobs and salaries in this field.

Is an Online Degree in English Right for me?

For students that are considering enrolling in college to major in English, there are a number of options available for pursuing a degree. In addition to community colleges and traditional universities, many of the nation’s top schools offer high-quality online English degree programs.

So how do you know if pursuing an English degree online is the right choice for you?

If you are a self-motivated student with high organizational skills, the flexibility of online learning can be a great option for continuing your education. There are many advantages to enrolling in an online degree program for English, including:

  • Flexible scheduling options that allow you to balance family and career obligations
  • Access to classes taught by leading English and literature experts across the country
  • Options to complete your education in less time through accelerated classes
  • State of the art learning platforms for an interactive student experience

With degrees in English offered as a virtual option through accredited universities, those who complete an online degree program are now able to benefit from the same level of quality education and support as traditional, on-campus students.

Comparing Top English Degree Programs

Choosing a school to complete your English education is a major decision and there are several factors to consider during the process. Not only do you want to ensure that the school offers a high quality curriculum, online students should also have access to a variety of student services that can help them succeed.

Accreditation

Regardless of your degree program, you want to attend a college that has been accredited by a recognized accreditation agency. By enrolling in an accredited English degree program, you help to ensure that the curriculum meets expected quality standards and your degree will be recognized within the professional workplace.

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes a number of regional accrediting agencies, as well as several national agencies that evaluate specific degree programs in a postsecondary institution. Some of the names you will want to look for when researching online English degrees include:

For a complete list of recognized accrediting agencies and their contact information, you can check out the U.S. Department of Education’s website!

Student to Faculty Ratio

Low student to faculty ratios within your English degree program are important whether you are taking classes online or at a traditional college campus. Since communication with your professor and classmates in an online environment typically consists of emails, message boards, and virtual lectures, a small class size will help to ensure that you are getting individualized attention and support throughout the duration of your courses.

In addition to low student to faculty ratios, it is also a good idea to research the quality of the professors that work within your prospective school’s English program. By taking the time to look through the “Faculty” section of your college’s website, you can find out more information on the qualifications and credentials of the faculty that will be instructing you throughout your education.

Academic Advising and Student Services

Since online English degrees are typically offered as an alternative course option through traditional brick and mortar colleges, online students should have access to student advising and support services. These unique services are designed to provide students with the extra support they need to reach their full potential in their education. Some of these services may include the following:

  • Virtual academic advising appointments to help English students choose appropriate classes
  • Access to extensive library and literary resources to assist students in English research projects
  • Online tutoring and peer mentorship programs for challenging English classes

For students who want to take their passion for literature and language to the next level, an online English degree can be the perfect starting point to an exciting career. Whether you want to pursue a career in writing and editing or you’d like to instruct students in the joy of English learning, an online degree program opens the door to a lifetime of opportunity!

Ready to start your journey?
Elizabeth Abner
WRITTEN BY Elizabeth Abner

Elizabeth is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Foreign Policy and earned her master's degree in business administration. For her undergraduate studies, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a concentration in international business. Elizabeth's research is focused on universities offering online degree programs.