If you made the brave decision to major in English, creative writing, or pretty much any subject that falls under the arts or humanities, you’re surely familiar with that age-old question:
“So what are you going to do with that?”
If you’re lucky, your eyes haven’t rolled permanently to the back of your head yet. But why do so many people view an English degree as something useless anyway?
15 Jobs for English Majors
As it turns out, there are actually dozens of career fields available to English majors that span well beyond teaching English or running a bookstore.
Read on for some of the most popular job titles held by English majors. Next time Aunt Trisha asks you what your post-graduation plans are, you’ll definitely be prepared.
1. Social Media Manager
Social media managers help create strategies for promoting different organizations. The job requires excellent communication skills as well as creativity.
Often, social media managers will have to write proposals to outline and justify their strategies, so strong written communication is essential. Additionally, they may have to edit the work of other bloggers or guest writers who are contributing their work.
Average U.S. Annual Salary: $49,453*
2. Technical Writer
Technical writers create manuals, instructions, “help” sections of websites, and other documents that explain the use of products or services.
It’s definitely not creative writing, but it does require precise language that can be understood by everyone, making this a great opportunity for English majors to use their expertise with words.
Average U.S. Annual Salary: $58,824
Writing outstanding journalism requires a deep knowledge of the English language. Whether you write features, news articles, investigative pieces, or even sports articles, you’ll need to know which tones to write with and how to use them in order to tell compelling stories.
Conducting interviews also calls for excellent communication skills, something that English majors definitely know a thing or two about.
Average U.S. Annual Salary: $45,845
4. HR Specialist
Human resource specialists need to be especially skilled with their writing because their jobs require precise language in order to ensure that contracts and other internal documents are clear and effective.
Their duties include drafting employment policies and contracts between employers and employees, as well as creating advertisements for open positions. They may also utilize technical writing to create training documents or employee handbooks.
Average U.S. Annual Salary: $49,967
5. English Teacher
If you really love what you studied, it would make sense that you might want to share your passion with others (but it’s nice to know it’s not your only option!)
There are many opportunities available to those who want to teach English—from introductory level classes for non-native speakers to university courses, sharing your knowledge with others can be a very rewarding experience.
Average U.S. Annual Salaries:
High school level: $48,483
University level: $68,760
ESL Teachers: $41,562
6. Editor or Content Manager
Editors don’t just proofread and check other people’s work for spelling and grammar errors. They often serve as a manager for a writing team, assigning articles, evaluating submissions, rewriting text, and even submitting their own pieces.
You might also explore the possibility of becoming a book editor and helping others to get their work ready for publication.
Average U.S. Annual Salary: $57,210
7. Public Relations Manager
PR managers must have outstanding communication skills. Their duties include writing press releases, influencing the public’s perception of an individual or organization, targeting the right audiences, and helping their clients to communicate with the public.
Average U.S. Annual Salary: $65,053
You don’t need a law degree to become a paralegal. In fact, many paralegals have Bachelor’s degrees in English. They apply the skills they learned as English majors to communicate effectively, research cases and laws, write reports, and prepare documents ahead of trials.
Average U.S. Annual Salary: $47,138
9. Interpreter or Translator
If you want to work as an interpreter, you’ll obviously need to speak another language fluently. But if that’s something you can do, you may want to consider using your English skills to enter the exciting world of translating.
Your options are pretty wide open here: you can work freelance and assist individual clients, or you might even work for international organizations as an interpreter at important meetings. However, the volume of work available to you will also depend on the demand for the languages you speak.
Average U.S. Annual Salary: $41,864
Even in today’s digital world, we still need librarians. In fact, with so much information floating around out there, librarians can play a critical role in teaching others how to conduct proper research.
Librarians may also help to develop databases or research new books to add to the library’s collection. However, you will need to continue your education with a Master’s degree in library science (yes, that’s a thing, and it’s important!)
Average U.S. Annual Salary: $49,331
If you’re a word nerd, you may want to consider becoming a lexicographer. Lexicographers are the people who compile dictionaries. They study the origins of words and how their meanings evolve over time.
A lexicographer’s work typically involves writing, compiling, and editing dictionaries for publication (both in print and online). If you speak more than one language, there are also plenty of opportunities for bilingual dictionaries.
Average U.S. Annual Salary: $35,000
Copywriters usually work closely with marketing or advertising departments to create informative or promotional material. For example, copywriters create the text on company websites, brochures, and advertisements.
The possibilities with this kind of job are also pretty wide open—you might work freelance for multiple clients, or even full-time with a specific agency. Today, copywriting remains one of the highest paid jobs for freelance writers.
Average U.S. Annual Salary: $49,869
13. Marketing Coordinator
A marketing coordinator can have a wide range of responsibilities, from creating marketing calendars to researching and creating new marketing strategies.
Their main roles, however, usually involve the interpretation of data and information—so strong critical reading and analytical thinking skills are essential. English majors will also be able to put their communication skills to work here.
Average U.S. Annual Salary: $43,023
14. Freelance Writer
While it can be difficult figuring out where to start, freelance writing can become a very lucrative career for those who have the right skills and determination.
The options are basically infinite, as there are now so many platforms available to writers. Competition can be fierce, though, so some smart networking can certainly make the difference when it comes to getting steady gigs.
Average U.S. Annual Salary: $40,299 (varies)
Bonus Career: Lawyer
This one may surprise you, but in fact lawyers spend a large deal of their time writing, from contracts to memos and other legal documents. Being able to communicate effectively, both on paper and in the courtroom, is absolutely essential to any legal position.
While you won’t be able to practice law with just an undergraduate English degree, according to College Consensus approximately 80% of law school applicants with an English degree were admitted to at least one law school.
Average U.S. Annual Salary: $118,160
*All data regarding salaries was collected from PayScale.
TCK Publishing is Hiring
At TCK, we’re always on the lookout for great talent, especially English majors! Be sure to check out our current job openings and send in your application today.
What’s your dream job? Feel free to share in the comments below!
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