What Can I Do With a Major in English?

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Disclosure: I was an English major in college. Sure, I’m more than a little biased, but I happen to believe that it’s an incredibly valuable degree that teaches students the importance of good research and the value of clear communication.

Many people think that an English degree only prepares students to work as a teacher. Though it’s true that many English majors do become teachers, most don’t. In fact, very few English majors work in a field that’s even remotely related to their major (example: I taught myself computer programming, and worked in that field for many years).

Here’s the truth: employers hire people, not degrees. Career options are rarely limited by the major that you choose, and following the path that you’re most passionate about (both in school and after) is the best way to lead a happy life. You might not believe it yet, but it’s true. Happy people do what they love.

The good news is that English majors can do just about anything. Upper management positions are filled people who earned a degree in English. Some graduates work as writers and editors, and others work in sales, marketing. Many students go on to attend graduate school, where they may earn a law degree or an MBA.

English is not an occupation, but an ability — and the abilities that English majors develop are extremely valuable in the workplace.

Career Opportunities for English Majors

Below is a list of some of the most common career choices for students who major in English. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it should help provide you with an idea of what English majors do afte graduation.

Occupation Median Salary Median Hourly Current jobs Outlook Required Education
College Professor $62,050 $29.83 1,756,000 Good Graduate Degree
Copywriter $49,060 $23.59 151,680 Normal Bachelor’s degree
Curator $48,450 $23.29 11,710 Good Master’s Degree
Editor $51,470 $24.75 129,600 Normal Bachelor’s Degree
Elementary School Teacher $51,660 $24.84 1,549,520 Good Bachelor’s Degree
High School Teacher $53,230 $25.59 1,109,500 Good Bachelor’s Degree
Kindergarten Teacher $48,800 $23.46 179,520 Normal Bachelor’s Degree
Lawyer $112,760 $54.21 759,190 Good Law Degree
Librarian $54,500 $26.20 159,940 Normal Master’s Degree
Marketing Manager $112,800 $54.23 175,570 Normal Bachelor’s degree
Middle School Teacher $51,960 $24.98 659,460 Good Bachelor’s Degree
Preschool Teacher $25,700 $12.36 12,190 457,240 Bachelor’s Degree
Public Relations Manager $91,810 $44.14 56,720 Normal Bachelor’s Degree
Public Relations Specialist $52,090 $25.04 258,100 Good Bachelor’s degree
Social Service Manager $57,950 $27.86 130,560 Normal Bachelor’s degree
Social Worker $42,480 $20.42 350,500 Good Bachelor’s degree
Technical Writer $63,280 $30.42 48,910 Normal Bachelor’s Degree
Writer / Author $55,420 $26.64 145,900 Normal Bachelor’s Degree