Photo courtesy of Jody Hong Films
By Shabana Bachu and Cara Hutto
Whether it’s your deep admiration for Shakespeare or your desire to write the next New York Times best-selling novel that inspired you to study English, one of the greatest parts about getting an English degree is its versatility when it comes to choosing a career.
English majors develop a strong core set of skills that are useful in most jobs on the market—strong communication skills, ability to digest and analyze complex information, and the ability to consider multiple perspectives. With these in your toolkit, you’ll thrive in the workforce.
Here are eight great jobs for English majors.
1. Grant writer
Grant writers are responsible for drafting letters, proposals, and grant applications to secure funds for organizations. Grant writers are especially important for nonprofits, so if you love persuasive writing and activism, this could be a great job for you. To become a grant writer, you’ll want to have a strong background in rhetorical theory, have stellar grammar skills, and take as many courses on grant writing as possible to gain experience.
Average salary: $48,000
Whether you’re a publicist for an individual or a larger company, this job is all about communication. A publicist can be responsible for anything from drafting press releases and scheduling appearances to attending events with their clients and networking—that’s where your training as an English major comes in. Understanding how to promote people and brands, put out PR fires, and establish positive relationships is necessary in this role. Publicists’ salaries are dependent on factors like who their client is and how much experience they have. The best way to gain valuable experience while you’re in college is through communication internships.
Average salary: $58,000
3. Broadcast journalist
This one is for the English majors who crave a good story and don’t mind being on camera. News reporters are responsible for pulling together news stories on tight deadlines, delivering assignments on live TV, producing on-air scripts, and more. To become a news reporter, it’s imperative to have previous experience, like coursework or internships in newscasting, reporting, or editing.
Average salary: $38,000
If you’re bilingual, love to travel, and studied English in school, translating could be the perfect career for you. In addition to having the opportunity to travel often, translators are exposed to different government officials and important people from all over the world. Since this is a social role, it requires someone who’s comfortable constantly meeting new people and speaking to them in ways sensitive to their languages and cultures. But even for the more introverted English major who is interested in this position, a job as a government translator, someone who translates and composes official documents, could be perfect for you.
Average salary: $47,000
Read more: 11 Traveling Jobs & How to Get Them
Whether an elementary school teacher or university professor appeals to you more, having an English degree is incredibly helpful when entering the field of education. All teaching positions require a bachelor’s degree, and you might need further certification and licenses to teach in public schools depending on your state’s requirements. If you wish to teach higher education, you might need to obtain a master’s degree or Ph.D. Keep in mind that an English degree doesn’t confine you to teaching literature or the English language, that’s the beauty of the degree’s versatility—it can help you in most subjects.
Average salary: $42,000
English degrees are a great gateway into a career in law. If you want to be a lawyer one day but don’t want to enroll in law school right away, becoming a paralegal will give you valuable, first-hand experience in dealing with a lawyer’s day-to-day duties. This job calls upon the skills every English major has under their belt—research, writing, analysis, and synthesis. Additionally, expect to be tasked with reading hundreds or even thousands of pages of court cases and other legal documents.
Average salary: $48,000
That’s right, you don’t need a degree in science to kickstart your career in medicine. In fact, those who major in the humanities are more likely to stand out in the sea of biology or chemistry degree–holding medical school applicants. Aspiring doctors who study English will have an added degree of well-roundedness—not only are they interested in science, but they’ll have impressive writing and communication skills. An English degree can also prepare you well for the vast amount of reading and studying that medical school entails. Keep in mind, though, that you will need some coursework in math and science to get into most med schools.
Average salary: $180,000+
8. Court stenographer
A silent but indispensable part of any courtroom is the stenographer, sometimes called a court reporter. It may seem like a simple task, but this job requires incredible attention to detail and organization. Court reporters record everything that is said in a courtroom. It’s crucial that this person can concentrate despite constant distractions, can stay cool under pressure, have good listening skills, and have impeccable spelling—qualities that most English majors possess.
Average salary: $40,000
Read more: How to Know if You’re Qualified for the Job