Take heart, thou English majors; thou jugglers of words and smiths of prose. Thine education was not toiled in vain!
Majoring in English has gotten a bad reputation over the past few years. Sure, you can write and understand Shakespeare, but can you offer value to an employer? Does anyone in the market actually need someone with an English degree? Can reading and analyzing classic works actually result in food on the table and a paid light bill? Yes it can!
There are actually many English degree jobs from high-quality employers. As you’ll discover, this is more than a niche degree, and you can do more than be an English professor.
English Major: What Skills Will You Learn?
An degree in English might not seem like the most job-ready education in the world, but you may be surprised by how many skills you’ll gain that are directly related to the workplace. These skills are not only useful to employers, they can be applied to a wide range of industries. With a BA in English, you will develop excellent written and oral communication skills, making you an important addition to many different companies.
Throughout your English program, you’ll take many different courses that cover a wide range of topics related to English and literature. Many courses will focus on reading and analyzing novels, but subject matter can also include short stories, poetry, and even plays. You may, for example, be tasked with reading an important piece of literature and explaining, in clear writing, the overall theme and message of the work. BA in English courses can include history of writing, rhetoric, critical thinking, mechanics in writing, and American or British literature.
First of all, you’ll learn to write well. This not only includes proper grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation, it means learning to write in a manner that is engaging and effective. Many different education paths will touch on writing, but in English, it becomes one of the main subjects, allowing you to hone your skills as a writer and communicator. From business memos to song lyrics, understanding quality writing is the foundation of an English major.
You’ll also learn to read analytically. Being able to take in information and understand it, then, if needed, reframe this information so it can be understood by others, is a skill that many employers will appreciate. An English major will also train your mind to not just read, but read in an efficient manner, which will be important when you start one of the best jobs for English majors.
Being an English major will also teach you to meet deadlines with writing, communicate in a clear manner, and think critically about all information.
Minors that Complement an English Degree
While taking your classes, you may be required to select a minor while majoring in English. Choosing the right minor may depend on the types of jobs you will pursue after college, but common options include art history, general history, literature, psychology, humanities, linguistics, or a foreign language. If you will be looking for a job in the business and finance world, a business degree or minor in economics would be a strong addition to your BA in English.
Most Lucrative Entry-Level English Major Jobs
When you first enter the job market after college, you’ll have a lot of different options in front of you. With a BA in English, there is almost no industry that is off-limits, as all areas need good communication and analysis of information. The next three jobs, however, are lucrative options for entry-level English majors.
#1 Freelance Writer
Avg. Salary: $40,000
Want to use your English degree before you graduate? Want to make money on the side and see if it blossoms into a full-time career? You can join the ranks of millions of Americans who make a living through freelancing and find plenty of jobs for English majors with no experience. As a freelance writer, you get the chance to choose your own hours, select your assignments, and work at your own pace, and you may be surprised by just how much money you can make. If you know how to write, there are many different resources for finding quality work. Pinning down an exact salary for freelance writers can be tough, but Pay Scale says that the average salary for writers in their first five years of freelancing is roughly $40,000. They also claim that the average hourly wage is $24.37, which, with 52 40-hour workweeks, would mean a salary over $50,000 a year.
- Southern New Hampshire University
#2 News Reporter
Avg. Salary: $38,870
These English major jobs can include all types of information media, including television, radio, and newspapers. They typically provide information that informs the public on issues and events, and can be responsible for news ranging from local to national to global. Although they work in an office, newsroom, or studio, they often spend much of their time in the field gathering information. The average salary for these English major jobs is below $40,000, but the top 10% can earn an average over $163,000, making it a lucrative career for people who stay with it. In most cases, the career trajectory starts in a small market and stair-steps upward to larger metro areas.
- University of Massachusetts – Lowell Bachelor of Arts in English
Avg. Salary: $30,830
These professionals work primarily in radio, delivering news, sports, and music to listeners. They may, depending on the specifics of the job, interview guests or provide commentary on specific issues. Although speaking is a major part of this job, an English degree helps announcers write scripts that are clear, effective, and engaging. Unfortunately, the job market for announcers may be declining. According to the BLS, the field will drop by 11% between 2014 and 2024. $30,000 may not seem like a significant income, but this job creates a great opportunity for English majors just entering the job market. Besides that, the top 10% can earn an average over $89,000. In most cases, initial training to work sound or video equipment will be required.
- California Baptist University Bachelor of Arts in English
Best Jobs for English Majors
Selling Yourself as an English Major
Now comes the fun part: convincing employers that majoring in English has made you an effective and useful addition to their team. So how is this done? Start with the basics. The most important factor for English degrees is communication. Every employer in every industry needs quality communication, and if any job includes written documents of any type, you have the potential to be an important employee.
English majors also have the ability to think critically and develop creative solutions to problems and issues affecting businesses. Many employers love how English majors can deal with obscure, indirect concepts and create comprehensible solutions.
Finally, the ability to read, review, and recycle information should not be overlooked. The legal profession, for example, will have lots of industry-specific terminology written by long-winded attorneys. It takes someone with the training and skills of an English major to cut through the jargon and tell people exactly what they need to know, in relatable terms. This principle applies to many industries, including technology, medical, and financial sectors.
These skills, while conceptual and potentially obscure, are often a top selling point for anyone with an English degree.
Continuing Education for English Majors
When you complete your English degree, you can dive straight into the best jobs for English majors, or you can continue your education. Even if you choose an English major job, you still have the option of going back to school at any time.
For many people majoring in English, the common choice is to attend graduate school. This can be an important step if you wish to teach English, literature, or writing at the high school or collegiate level, as you will gain a deeper understanding of the English language and how it applies to modern forms of writing.
However, attending graduate school is not the only option. In fact, anyone with a BA in English should stay well-versed in writing techniques. You can join various writing groups, which can be attended online or in person.
There are also certificate programs available for writers of all types, from novelists to technical writers. Certificates not only make you more attractive to employers, they also enhance your skills in a wide variety of areas. Organizations that offer writing-based certificates include the American Marketing Association, the American Writers and Artists Inc., the Content Marketing Institute, and HubSpot, an influential digital-marketing company.
There are also many professional conferences that you can attend throughout your career. These conferences are often designed for aspiring or active authors, but there are conventions that tailor to English majors who work in a professional business environment.
Cement Your Future with an English Degree
You can have a top-quality online english degree degree at a price you can afford. GetEducated meticulously calculates total tuition including any fees for each program in our directory. Click on any english degree in our database for more information including reviews from students like you.