An English degree is a broad and versatile degree which offers graduates a wide variety of career paths to follow. With an emphasis on communication and the written word, English majors learn to research, analyze and interpret information. They are encouraged to be critical and creative while exploring the many cultures of the world around them as well as the cultures that have come before them. English majors also study the history of the English language along with the beginnings of the written word. They learn how language has developed into the way we use words today and how it may change in the future.
The following is from an article recently published in the New York Times
Companies are also seeking evidence of communication and writing skills, analytical ability and teamwork . . .
. . . you can’t be casual about your job search . . . your résumé, cover letter and interviewing skills must be top notch.
. . . in most fields, it is important to write and speak clearly and to see things from different perspectives. A graduate with an English degree who tailors those strengths to a particular job description can make a strong case for being hired.
An understanding of the human condition gained through great literature can be helpful in professions like social work . . .
Writer/Author/Journalist - A Natural With An English Degree
The most obvious career path is writing whether it be creative, article writing, or journalistic. An English degree gives the writer a strong foundation on which to build a writing career. The new writer can learn a great deal by studying the works of established writers. Great fiction is the workbook of the novice writer and every book you read will teach you something about your own writing.
An English Degree Can Prepare You For A Career In Television/movies/radio
An English major leaves college with the knowledge to pursue many creative writing endeavors including producing and writing for television, movies and radio.
Technical Writing With Your English Degree
An offshoot of the creative writer would by technical writing which includes grant and proposal writing. The English major can chose the concentration of the major such as creative writing, technical writing or teaching that best fits the desired career path.
English Majors Make Great Editors
The study of written language, word usage and sentence structure gives the English major the expertise to edit the work of others. Expert editing is needed in many venues including manuscript and online editing. Editors are often proofreaders and ghostwriters as well and are needed in the business world as well as the publishing world.
An English Degree Gives You The Skills To Be An Effective Teacher
Another obvious path for English majors is teaching. Those with a BA in English can teach at the elementary and secondary level. Further education is needed for teaching at a higher level such as universities and colleges.
Skills Learned With Your English Degree Will Prepare You For A Career In Law
An English degree can be a good building block to the pre-education of the law student. The ability to research and analyze information can be invaluable. Also what lawyer wouldn't benefit from the capacity to write and articulate well and be adept at proper word usage with the facility to communicate effectively.
These same proficiency of research and information investigation can be applied to the job of assistant to an attorney.
Become A Librarian With Your English Degree
An English degree is a good foundation for library studies. Working with the written word on a daily basis, Librarians need a good understanding of literature, and also need the ability to research and analyze data.
Business Communications With Your English Degree
The skills acquired as an English major are invaluable in the business world. Writing and communicating coherently, researching and interpreting information and critical thinking are all valuable assets for the successful business person.
The field of public relations is based on effective communication through both oral and the written word.
Researching information and knowing how to effectively apply it to the real world are skills learned through the English degree program.
Ten skills English majors graduate with.
Ability to organize thoughts, ideas and materials
Ability to analyze texts and interpret their meaning
Ability to argue positions effectively
Ability to analyze the written word
Ability to write in an articulate manner
Ability to research and explain the results
Working knowledge of grammar and vocabulary
Ability to be a creative thinker
Ability to critically observe the world around them
Ability to effectively communicate by listening to and questioning data
- Moms Going Back to School at 50 or any age
- The High Cost of College Textbooks
- Earn a College Degree Online for Job Security and Personal Growth
- How to Balance School and Family When Mom Goes Back to College
- Low Residency MFA Programs for Creative Writers
- An English Degree Can Translate Into Opportunity
Why don't you major in something useful? Do you actually expect to get a job with that?
- Online English Degrees | Literature & Poetry Degree Programs - eLearners.com
Interested in an accredited online degree in english, poetry, writing or literature? If so, you're in the right place! Search online english degrees offered by fully accredited online college and university programs at eLearners.com.
- Careers with an English Degree, A&S Perspectives newsletter, Winter-Spring 2006
- Careers for English Majors
- "Working Your Degree:" English - Sep. 1, 2000
Sure, you can write a poem in iambic pentameter and recite the prose of 17th century literary greats.
- What Can I Do With An Undergraduate Degree in English - Career Resource Centre, U of Manitoba
The Career Resource Centre at the University of Manitoba provides occupational and educational information. Although some information is provided via the web, U of M students are encouraged to visit the office for additional assistance (474 Universit
sophie on March 25, 2013:
I am in English graduate w/ my BA degree and I believe there are many avenues to take w/ this degree. Never put all your eggs in one basket. With this degree if you take on a career and find you dont like it, you can def gain a different career w/ this degree. Plus, we live in a world where English, the nature of it, and the skills we learned getting the degree is just as necessary as "eating" to survive.
rubytraveller on February 26, 2013:
Plenty of great jobs to choose from and I also think that it is definitely a good idea to do a degree that interests you. With passion comes opportunity.
I'd like to add one if I may - these days there are lots of people choosing to take a year or so out and teach English abroad, especially with the local job market as it is. A good chance to see the world and spread the language to those who need it :)
A couple of examples of countries looking specifically for English grads:
Saudi Arabia - http://goldstarteachers.com/esl-jobs-in-china/view...
Jacksprat on December 18, 2012:
I totally agree with Eric that English Majors are born this way. I taught High School English in Jamaica W.I. for nine years and after migrating to the US, I considered becoming a nurse to earn the big bucks but after six years of college I have earned both my BA and MA in English. I'm at a crossroad right now because I do not know what to do with these degrees, since I really was not contemplating being a teacher. I guess I'll have to figure it out as soon as possible, especially when I consider the fact that I'm owing over $80,000 in financial aid.
Carishma james on November 30, 2012:
i've done my grad in English, and 'm screwd up with a hotel into banqueting...
i want to be in my feild but i dont get any outstanding opportunity to perform in my feild:(
Can neone HELP???????????????????????????????????????
Megan Garcia from Florida on November 29, 2012:
Amazing hub! I used to hate English but then I realized I actually love it! Lol I communicate and organize my thoughts best on paper and always have. I am debating majoring in English.
Nohaa on June 29, 2012:
im in my final year of my english degree. i believe that this hubpage totally deserves a big public applause because it has opened up our future english-holders to opportunity doors. in my big extended family, im the ONLY one who does language while others do science. they always tell me how unworhty, time-wasting and silly the idea of pursuing degree in language is but i just blankly ignore them eventhough sometime it gives hard times for me. but now, happily im doing something that i and anyone can benefit the most of it.
Tropic of Capricorn on June 25, 2012:
I've been out of school for three years and have been unemployed for as long - I'm a little bitter that I majored in English specifically and that I did an arts degree generally. Go into Engineering, people! My older sister took Engineering and she has had no problem finding well paying jobs. I'm just thankful I don't have mountains of student debt for a degree that hasn't done anything for me. I knew when I started dropping out of classes like "Shakespeare's Contemporaries" - watch me yawn, seriously - that my English degree wasn't taking me anywhere except to the dole queue.
Go into Science, get into engineering, anything but Arts and English!!
Shweta on April 23, 2012:
English is such a happening course for those who have passion for the subject.
I am thinking of seriously taking up English as my major. Having degree in journalism, I would like to explore the world of English language.
Do what you like..!! :) Be great in what you do and I am sure you will end up with the job that interests and as well pay you enough.
There is only a thin line of difference between English and communication studies. so you can switch places. Hope this helps ppl who are cornered.. Regards!
Evangeline Hemingway on April 22, 2012:
Julia...you simply need certification. Check into your states requirements for certifications.
julia on April 17, 2012:
i want to be a teacher how do i go about getting a job with a ba in english
PhD is respect on April 17, 2012:
I am about to graduate with my English degree, and i spoke to an administrator at my school recently in hopes of figuring out my next step. I love English literature. It is important to realize that a masters in English is not much better than a bachelors degree, and not respected very much in the world of academia. A PhD is how to really maximize your chosen field, and after an average of 7 more years of schooling, and being hired as a college professor the first few years must be spent grueling away in research attempting to gain tenure. Its a long and hard route to being a successful English professor, say goodbye to the next 10 years of your life should you choose this path. On a lighter note, imagine how much smarter you'll be in the end.
Aishwarya Ghuge on April 06, 2012:
I am going to go abroad after class 12 [right now I am in class 6.] and get my masters degree in English. I was not really clear of what I shall do after that but after seeing this page my future has become clearer.
divakar3368 from Maldives on March 24, 2012:
Thaks for an informative hub.
KrysMck on February 29, 2012:
Thank you! I wasted my first three years at university in a degree I didn't like. I ending up taking Special Studies at a different university, decided to major in English (general) and was accepted into second year last fall. I've been playing with the idea of applying for the Honours program as it would open up post-graduate opportunities but I don't want to be a professor/ teacher. Lately, I've been thinking more and more about editing and technical writing. Regardless of where I end up, I'm excited for where my English Degree is going to take me!
lafenty (author) from California on February 28, 2012:
Good luck with your degree.
Thomas Polk on February 26, 2012:
Thank you so much for this page. It makes me feel excited that i'm going after my English creative writing BA now that i had the chance to see what i can do with it. Thank you, Thank you so much for this page.
lafenty (author) from California on February 17, 2012:
I believe teachers are way undervalued. Good for you and for your future students who will benefit from your positive attitude.
lafenty (author) from California on February 17, 2012:
Yes, seem to be hearing that more and more.
Hollie Greene on February 16, 2012:
I'm a student at the University of Arizona and I'm currently a Journalism major. I have recently been considering changing my major to English for the opposite reasons I've red in the comments thus far. I actually very interested in teaching because I love the language and all it entails. From writing to reading I enjoy it all. Everyone seems to look down at teaching as a profession. I see it as a fulfilling, admirable career with a decent pay. As long as I make enough to keep clothes on my back, food in my mouth and a roof over my head, I will be happy to wake up everyday and teach what I love.
Phil on February 13, 2012:
yea, stay away from the english degree unless you can handle falling back on teaching as a "plan b" option.
while it is possible to get jobs in these other positions, it is incredibly tough...nearly all jobs nowadays prefer experience over the degree anyway.
i "thought" i'd prove everyone who told me i could only teach with this degree...guess what? going back to school to get certified and become a teacher now...lol.
Professor Camp on February 07, 2012:
I have a Master of Arts in English and worked as an adjunct for the past two years. This degree is no longer valued. There aare practically no full-time teaching positions in colleges anymore so forget getting any benefits or having stable employment. Adjuncts like me have been being exploited for over thirty years now and we only get paid $2,000/per course. I spent over 60 hours a week and spent $75/per week driving to different colleges. I only made $24,000 in 2011 and spent at least $2,000 of it on gas.
Do not bother getting an MA in English unless you have someone paying all of your bills!
agreement chauke on January 11, 2012:
i wanted to become a lawyer but just because of poverty at home and they can't afford to pay for my course i ended up taking english(B.A) and i became an English teacher and i'm loving it.Later i will pursue my legal career path.
jeni on January 10, 2012:
English Literature makes me a good thinker and it makes me to feel proud in forming a the character being.
RishabhSingh on December 23, 2011:
I'll be completing my B.A. in English(Honors) by May next year. I want to pursue A legal career after it. Can I do this in Canada? If yes, then please mail a list of colleges offering the course to the following e-mail address:
GIS-is-hiring on December 17, 2011:
I selected on 12-16-2011, a young person with a recently-earned degree in English, and barely any work experience, to fill a position for which we had 600 applicants. It is an entry-level position providing telephone support, doing clerical tasks, public customer service & public education, and intense analytical administrative support to a team of three geographic information specialists. A panel of 3 (GIS) people had spent two weeks poring over the resumes. It was easy to eliminate half of the applications due to spelling and grammar issues. This applicants resume was noticed because she used complete sentences, proper spelling and grammar, and creatively elaborated upon how her achievements could translate to the work environment. We were looking for someone with attention to detail, analytical, who demonstrated initiative, and an above-average cognitive capability, with an exemplary customer service attitude. (None of these were mentioned in the job description). The applicant needed to present professionally (groomed), be amiable and helpful. We selected 6 to interview. Three of them did not do any research on the position. :( Not only did the final-selection candidate do research, practicing with key-terms flashcards, but she was engaging, and convinced me she would be receptive to me teaching her an entirely new career in geographic information systems, without a chip-on-her-shoulder of prideful indignation. I appreciate the well-rounded, intelligent, creative, enthusiastic young lady this English degree has produced.
Michelle on December 15, 2011:
Last Thursday, I graduatated with a Master's degree in English Language Arts. Just like others on here... I too am in search of a career other than teaching. Although I now have a Master's, people are looking for someone with experience instead of book work. Someone else had mentioned getting a business minor. Personally, I believe that is a great idea!! As of right now... I am branch manager at a title loan place. None of my degrees are helping me at all right now! I see them all as a waste of money at this point.
James on December 14, 2011:
Check out the ebook How to Find a Career as a Humanities Major in 126 Days at Selloutyoursoul.com. It will help break down that big task of a career into daily actions.
CommOrEnglish from California on December 09, 2011:
How closely related is a degree in Communication to one in English? I am one class away from earning a B.A. in Communication and Rhetoric and I want to become an English or Language Arts teacher. I chose to study communication after being encouraged to do so by my High School journalism teacher who was also an English teacher. I wish I would have asked him what his path was to teaching both disciplines. I am concerned that my communication background is not enough to make me a desirable candidate for teaching English. Are there any experiences that can be shared to help my situation? Thank you.
ANNONUMOUS on December 08, 2011:
cool will take onbourd
Doug on November 29, 2011:
I'm an English Major who is having serious doubts as well in completing a degree in this field. Although I thrive in the coursework,I no longer believe that this degree is respected or will reflect positively in the job market
Jamie on October 28, 2011:
I am just starting to apply for uni for 2012. For me English Language is the most fascinating subject, and I am choosing it because I know I can really get my teeth into it, but I am with dion et al in that you need backup in order to make a career. I intend to going into a journalisty career, and so student newspapers, bulletins, radio etc. are a must for me. You cannot just rely on the degree however pretty it looks on a CV. Make sure you can prove that you can wield your degree like a flaming sword of witty menace. I salute anyone who chooses to study something they love.
Tay on October 26, 2011:
of what the non-profit organization is trying to accomplish. I plan to pursue a masters degree in English with a concentration in professional and technical communication. I hope that by doing so I will be able to branch out further and work on writing grants to fund my organization. It is all in what your heart is set on. Who cares what typical people tell you? If YOU want to utilize your degree to write about, uh, I don't know trolls! =) Then by all means do it! (Not literally, but you get my point.) All that an English degree means is that you may have to dig a little deeper to find your nitch.
Tay on October 26, 2011:
Dion, that is absolutely NOT true. English is one of those degrees that can go a long way, but it is up to YOU to figure out how far it can go. I currently work in the public service sector with a non-profit organization. Because of my English degree I am able to convey -through written documentation -the purpose
dion on October 23, 2011:
"Needless to say, YOU MUST pair a BA in English with either a certificate in another field that you wish to pursue or you will need 2 degrees. If you don't take this advice, you will be working misc jobs that post as the following: "Bachelor Degree Required" or "Bachelor Degree Preferred." I have worked for these companies, and you might as well have not gone to college to work for these companies."
This is absolutely true and this is the bottom line when it comes to English majors. This should be printed at the top of the article.
Having a BA in English by itself these days is equal to not having a BA in English by itself.
You may have a slight advantage but to be honest it's so slight that it's negligible and you could easily be overlooked depending on how interviews go and how much experience others have. I think that experience is trumping education these days, and if you're trying to get started in a field, having a degree doesn't really help you because you're up against job seekers with tons of experience.
It's damn annoying because half the time you could be just as qualified for the position or overqualified but compared to someone with experience in the field, you're nothing.
Susan on September 06, 2011:
How do you get a job writing when they all want 5 years experience? Have even looked for internships to gain experience. Would be happy proof reading and even research work. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
loveEnglish on August 26, 2011:
I'm sorry but I agree with halfempty's quote: "stay away from this degree people and do something more work related..."
I too have a BA in English, and this degree is worthless unless you want to teach or pursue editing publications. Before receiving many rejection letters for editing positions (I even interned as an editor), I decided to leave the country and teach English overseas. After coming back to the US and being unemployed for 6 months, I am now pursuing my post baccalaureate certificate in paralegal studies.
CAUTION: One cannot be a librarian with solely a degree in English. An individual cannot work within a social service agency because these jobs want someone with a degree in social science. By the way, many people have a Masters degree in these fields, so an employer will not even look at your resume.
If you decide to be an editor, manage your portfolio online while in school. You cannot get a job in this field without a portfolio.
Needless to say, YOU MUST pair a BA in English with either a certificate in another field that you wish to pursue or you will need 2 degrees. If you don't take this advice, you will be working misc jobs that post as the following: "Bachelor Degree Required" or "Bachelor Degree Preferred." I have worked for these companies, and you might as well have not gone to college to work for these companies.
Beth on August 26, 2011:
What other majors could I puruse if I wanted to be a writer for like television. I don't want to be a journalist, and my school doesn't have a screenwriting major. I also can't start majoring in english now because I'm way too far into my school's college of communications for that at still graudate in four years. Should I study journalism anyways? Communication studies?
Gabbi on August 03, 2011:
This is for everyone who wants to put in their opinion... I am 20 year old going into my Sophomore year in college... I just recently changed my major to english, but I'm not sure exactly what I could do with it. I really love to write, but I'm not sure if I would enjoy writing for newspapers, and I don't want to be a teacher. I might enjoy some sort of journalism, possibly in media or news... something along those lines. But I'm a bit stuck. I love creative writing and art. Any suggestions on a more specific english major I should go for?? Thanks!
halfempty on July 07, 2011:
stay away from this degree people and do something more work related, this is a dead subject with its blinkers firmly set on teachers, writers don't need a degree, journalists do journalism as for the other jobs you'll find alot of competition. I love the subject but i'm sufferring with its adaptablity to the job market
stella on July 07, 2011:
i am just about to start with my english degree,i was stressed that i had not made the right career choice but now i know it's the good one.
Gregster on June 08, 2011:
Engish is an outstanding major;it's all about communication. Did you all take linquistics?
Lizzy on June 05, 2011:
Thank you for this article! My parents never liked the whole English major idea but I think they will perk up when they see this. I always said an English major can help me with law but they never believed me. Thank you for this!
Tera on April 20, 2011:
Most useless degree next to Sociology. I should've majored in French like I wanted to do!
Wendy S. Wilmoth from Kansas on March 21, 2011:
It would be good to note that in order to become a librarian (in the U.S., at least) it is necessary to have a master's degree in library science (MLS, MSLS, or MLIS).
KM2011 on February 28, 2011:
I'll be graduating w/ an English/Literature degree this May and I still don't know what I can do w/ it. The job fairs provided by my university were not any help. I can either be an elementary teacher or a high school teacher. And w/ a Maters, I can be an English professor. After this article, I knew I chose the correct degree path. I'm going to start looking for intern jobs in editing, film, business and maybe even continue my education in law! Thank you so very much.
Ant on February 27, 2011:
Thanks for this. I'm about to start a BA with an English Major. Fingers crossed.
soniya on February 27, 2011:
after the 12th , now i am pursuing in BBA but i am having too much interest in english. plz guide me in which line i can go which is related to english.
Jean Ann from Niagara, Ontario Canada on February 22, 2011:
I received my first degree in English, and yes, I wanted to teach. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching literature at the HS level and reading/English at the elem level. I don't regret a moment of it!
As language literacy drops in favor of technical literacy, the demand for people who can use written language effectively will increase greatly, I think. The ability to use written and spoken language well and correctly is still the mark of an educated person. (Yeah, yeah, I know: spoken like an English teacher! LOL)
Jimmie Quick from Memphis, TN USA on February 02, 2011:
As a person with a degree in English, I applaud this hub! English majors can do so much more than teach.
labri1993 on January 29, 2011:
great information - but you might want to check how you spelled English in the line "Writer, Author, Journalist - A Natural with an Engllish degree (should be just one l, not two."
lafenty (author) from California on January 25, 2011:
Thank you Aldrins Mallari and congratulations on earning your degree.
Aldrins Mallari on January 25, 2011:
I am currently on my last term of majoring English. I can clearly see that I really made the right decision 4 years ago. Many people often say, oh you will become a teacher, but I said no, not only a teacher. I can work in any field as long as English proficiency is related. MY ENGLISH PROFICIENCY IS MY BIG WEAPON,DEFENSE MECHANISM & ADEPTNESS UPON ENTERING THE REAL WORLD THAT NO ONE CAN TAKE AWAY FROM ME.
Thank you so much for making this very helpful website.
lafenty (author) from California on January 09, 2011:
Thanks, Luke, I appreciate your comments.
Luke on January 09, 2011:
Amazing amount of info good job mate
Luke on January 09, 2011:
Amazing amount of info good job mate
Jenna on January 02, 2011:
Just this morning I told my fiancé that I wish someone had beat me with a stick when I said I had wanted to major in English. I graduated with my B.A. in English 3 years ago and accepted a job as an inside sales rep in the IT sales industry. (Not my first pick, but it was the highest offer I had at the time.)I am desperately looking to change my career path, having learned the hard way that I am not cut out for sales, but I feel trapped. This article has given me some hope that I can wander down another career path, leave my job and be happy. To anyone majoring in English in this economy, I would strongly encourage a minor in Business, or other secondary field. It might help to open a few doors down the road....
mimi lora on December 30, 2010:
i've just gonna started with my 2nd semester for my english majors..now it was just enhace me to do better in this course much more than before..i just love this language...english provides everything and express things in clear and comprehensive way!! :)
James on December 17, 2010:
You can also check out my guide for lost humanities students at selloutyoursoul.com...I just posted an interview about how English majors can become editors with a former Amazon.com editor...
Tim on November 30, 2010:
English majors are, from what I have just read, very good at explaining what their degrees are good for.
lafenty (author) from California on November 13, 2010:
Amy, thanks for your comments. You should just go for whatever you want. There is a big world out there, just waiting to teach you interesting things.
Amy on November 13, 2010:
I've always loved reading, writing, and just sharing. Someone once advised me to not major in English because all I can ever do with that major is to teach students and edit papers. This year is my last year in high school. I'm planning to attend a liberal arts college because there is just so much to learn in this world! And my life is not long enough to learn everything. Mind-as-well spend my life understanding variety of things.
Kayla on October 17, 2010:
I'm getting ready to change my major to English. I first picked something with job security. I'm changing to something I love. I believe I've made the right decision.
Thank you for this wonderful article!
An English learner on September 21, 2010:
I am an English learner. I was looking for articles about jobs that are available for people who have English degree. Thank you for sharing this article on the internet. I really appreciate your time in writing it. It widens my views on how I should use my expertise that I've got from studying English.
lafenty (author) from California on May 26, 2010:
Thanks for your opismedia and good luck.
opismedia on May 26, 2010:
I intend to attend to some online schooling and acquire an english degree. Anyway thanks for your share.
lafenty (author) from California on May 24, 2010:
Annemarie, I am just a few classes away from my degree and continue to hear that an English degree provides a solid foundation for many careers. Good luck to you and your sister.
AnnieMarie82 from Texas on May 24, 2010:
What a great hub! I always wanted to major in English but my mother always discouraged me; she said, "All you can do with that is teach." I guess mother doesn't always know best. My half-sister just graduated from high school Saturday and she is a beautiful writer but is unsure of majoring in English because of HER mother's "advice." I am going to share this with her tonight!
JDove-Miller from YOUNGSVILLE on May 17, 2010:
Having been an English major and wondering what else to do with it other than teach, I appreciate your list. Am glad I chose teaching though.
ericvonjed on May 16, 2010:
We don’t choose to major in English, we’re born this way.
Kimmie10 on February 23, 2010:
Thank you very much for this article. English and Literature were my favorite subjects. I didn't know what you could do with your life if you majored in English besides being a writer.
olga88 from TX on June 20, 2009:
Good information. Nicely done. I feel empowered now!
anglnwu on June 09, 2009:
My fascination with the English Language led to a degree in Literature and Writing. I know the common response when people learn you have an English degree--what can you do with it? Plenty, you've just given many options and clear list of what it can do for you. Personally, I think it will make a good jumping board into other fields.
Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on June 02, 2009:
I started as an English major, but realizing that it would make me a teacher--switched to Art History.
Didn't help. I became a teacher anyway.
Sheila from The Other Bangor on June 02, 2009:
Good luck with earning your English degree. I'm sure you will find it useful.
Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on June 02, 2009:
The great thing about English majors is they chose that major because they love language and the written word. The ability to communicate effectivly through writing has suffred in recent years so and English major should have plenty of opportunity.