Jobs for English Majors

What to Do With a Degree in English

English Major
••• Do people think English majors spend all their time reading?. Phil Ashley / Stone / Getty Images

If you majored in English in college, are currently studying it now, or have talked about this being your major in the future, no doubt someone has asked you the question "what are you going to do with that?" Don't let the skepticism get to you. Regardless of whether your concentration was, is, or will be, in literature or writing, there are many options available to you after graduation. English is a versatile major. Here are some of the career choices for which a bachelor's degree in English can prepare you:

Writer or Editor

Writers and editors create or evaluate written content for magazines, newspapers, online media, advertisements, television shows, plays, and movies. Your college coursework, especially if your focus is on writing, can prepare you for a career as a novelist, non-fiction author, advertising copywriter, website content provider, blogger, technical writer, screenwriter, or playwright. You may choose instead to become a newspaper or magazine editor, online editor, or book editor.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $61,820

Number of People Employed (2016): 131,000

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 8 percent

Projected Increase in Jobs (2016-2026): 10,000

Librarian

Librarians select and organize resources so that people can use them effectively. Traditionally they worked with printed materials, but over the years, librarians have become experts in electronic resources. To become one you will need a Master's Degree in Library Science (MLS). A bachelor's degree in any subject, for example, English, is required for admission to graduate school. A concentration in literature is excellent preparation especially for public or school librarians, or academic librarians who want to specialize in this field of study.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $58,520

Number of People Employed (2016): 138,200

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 9 percent

Projected Increase in Jobs (2016-2026): 12,400

Attorney

Attorneys advise and represent people who are involved in civil and criminal legal proceedings. After careful analysis, research, and discussion with their clients, they present the facts about cases in writing or verbally. To be admitted to law school you will need a bachelor's degree. It can be in any subject that will help enhance your writing, speaking, problem solving, research, and analytical skills. English is a suitable choice.

Median Annual Salary (2017): $119,250

Number of People Employed (2016): 792,500

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 8 percent

Projected Increase in Jobs (2016-2026): 65,000

Secondary School Teacher

Teachers help students learn concepts in a variety of subjects. Generally, they need a bachelor's degree in education. Since middle and high school teachers usually specialize in a discipline, for example, English/language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, or a world language, they may also need a degree in that subject. Get an English degree if you want to teach this discipline to secondary school students.

Median Annual Salary (2016): $57,720 (Middle School); $59,170 (High School)

Number of People Employed (2016): 630, 300 (Middle School); Over 1 Million (High School)

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 8 percent for both Middle and High School Teachers

Projected Increase in Jobs (2016-2026): 47,300 (Middle School); 76,800 (High School)

Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists represent companies, governments, organizations, and individuals to the public. They write press releases, communicate with the public through social media, and prepare for press conferences. Since there are no standard requirements, if you choose this career, you should major in a field of study, like English, that will teach you how to communicate effectively.

Median Annual Salary (2016): $59,300

Number of People Employed (2016): 259,600

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 9 percent

Projected Increase in Jobs (2016-2026): 22,900

Reporter

Reporters work for television networks, radio stations, newspapers, and websites. They conduct interviews and investigations to gather information about stories. Some have their work published in newspapers or online. Others deliver their stories on the air during television or radio newscasts. Reporters also communicate with viewers, readers, and listeners on social media. Excellent writing and communication skills are essential. While many employers prefer reporters with a bachelor's degree in journalism or mass communications, some will hire candidates who have studied English.

Median Annual Salary (2016): $39,370

Number of People Employed (2016): 44,700

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 10 percent decline

Projected Increase in Jobs (2016-2026): -4,500

Advertising Sales Representative

Advertising sales representatives sell space in print publications and time on television and radio broadcasts. Although majoring in English won't provide the sales training that will allow you to do your job—most employers provide that—it will give you the excellent verbal and written communication skills that can make you a great sales rep.

Median Annual Salary (2016): $49,680

Number of People Employed (2016): 149,900

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 4 percent decline

Projected Increase in Jobs (2016-2026): -5,400

Marketing Manager

Marketing managers develop companies' marketing strategies. They identify markets, set prices, and determine how to reach potential customers. Although many employers prefer to hire candidates who have a degree in business, others value English majors' communication skills.

Median Annual Salary (2016): $132,230

Number of People Employed (2016): 218,300

Projected Job Growth (2016-2026): 10 percent

Projected Increase in Jobs (2016-2026): 22,100