Prospective English majors often share a similar experience. When they announce their plans to study English, friends and family ask quizzically, “What can you do with that?” Often, the widespread myth is that there are no jobs for English majors. In reality, this is far from the case. In fact, the confusion may stem from the fact that there are many diverse career options available to English majors. They can find employment in areas such as business, education, government, research, publishing, media, communications and writing.
Journalism is just one writing job available for English majors. Journalists write for TV, radio or the internet, as well as print. They inform and educate the public by continually researching their subjects and producing compelling copy.
Objectivity, communication skills, strong writing proficiency, and the ability to stay calm under pressure are all critical in this career. An English degree can prepare you with the writing and research skills you will need to succeed. The average annual salary for journalists in 2015 was $37,720, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
An advertising director creates and manages an organization’s marketing strategy. This job is fast-paced, and it includes activities like budgeting for ad campaigns and managing the production of brochures, catalogs and media kits. Creativity, good communication skills and marketing knowledge are crucial to this position.
An English degree can prepare you for this this career by sharpening your writing and critical thinking skills. In 2015, the median pay was $124,850, according to the BLS. The job outlook for advertising directors is strong at 9 percent growth through 2024 — a higher rate than average.
A B.A. in English can also prepare you for a career as a paralegal. These law professionals support attorneys by conducting research, drawing up documents, organizing files and much more. This job requires verbal and written communication skills as well as the ability to conduct comprehensive research. According to the BLS, the 2015 median pay was $48,810 per year. The growth rate for paralegals is 8 percent through 2024.
Editors work in publishing, marketing, the tech sector and more. They edit for grammar, usage and style, while also directing, planning and coordinating the material to cater to their audiences. Editors must have highly specialized writing and grammar knowledge and the ability to manage tight deadlines.
Courses in English programs develop the writing and grammar knowledge essential to produce clear, error-free publications. Deanna Rodin said in an article for Her Campus that, “A major in English expands your vocabulary, enriches your ability to express ideas, teaches you to make complex material more palatable and trains you to become an efficient and effective communicator.” According to the BLS, the 2015 median pay for an editor is $56,010 per year.
Copywriters write digital and print material and help with social media for all sizes and types of organizations. They often play the role of editor and proofreader as well. This job requires creativity and excellent writing skills. Brazen.com lists a copywriter’s approximate annual salary at $53,000.
PR professionals compose their organizations’ newsletters, social media content and press releases in a strategic manner to market their companies. They need excellent writing, research and communication skills, all of which they can gain with an English degree. According to the BLS, the 2015 median pay for a public relations specialist was $56,770 annually.
SEO Content Writer
SEO — search engine optimization — is a type of web-based content that uses keywords to attract specific audiences. An SEO content writer, then, creates the content for websites that attract intended audiences with relevant and searchable writing. Content writers must have good writing skills and a knowledge of SEO and social media. According to brazen.com, an SEO content writer’s approximate annual salary is $56,000.
Technical writers create instruction manuals or other materials that explain complicated, technical information in reader-friendly terms. Writing and formatting skills as well as technical knowledge are important in this field.
English majors — particularly those who have taken technical communications classes — can use their communication skills to clarify technical information for people who lack technical experience or knowledge. In 2015, technical writers made $70,240 per year, according to the BLS. Technical writing jobs should grow at a rate of 10 percent, which is higher than average.
High School Teacher
High school teachers are instrumental in preparing students for college and careers. They teach both academics and life skills. High school teachers need strong communication skills and the ability to engage a diverse range of attention spans with a single topic or issue. High school teachers make approximately $57,200 annually, according to BLS.
English majors enjoy a wide array of career options because they all have strong communication skills. They also bring analytical thinking, research skills and creativity into the workforce. Graduates with a B.A. in English will find that jobs for English majors are readily available.
Learn more about the LSUA online BA in English program.
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