For the vast majority of people, the subject of English involves no more than reading books and talking about them. For those who choose to pursue higher study in English, however, the field is much more complex. While there is still reading and discussion, much of work in English study builds marketable skills for later employment.
No matter what some may say about the low value of an English degree, the data paints a different picture. Matthew Sigelman, referring to the results of a large study undertaken by job-market analytics company Burning Glass Technologies, puts it succinctly: "Employers really value soft skills that are the bedrock of a liberal-arts education."
Below are a few of the areas of focus in an online BA in English program.
At the core of critical thinking are strong analytical skills. A bachelor's degree in English is daily practice in processing complex ideas and reorganizing them for clarity -- key abilities in a variety of careers.
The field of law has long been recognized as a natural analog to English degrees, as both focus on close reading and grappling with abstract ideas. The fate of nations and individuals can hinge upon the meaning of specific language. English majors learn to pay attention to detail in texts, and those skills directly transfer into the office.
A degree in English also brings those analytical skills into concert with communication strategies. Employers look for this combo in employees because so many transactions in business rely upon processing complex information and communicating it to others.
Caitlin Klueber -- current marketer for The Oppenheimer Group (major supplier to Whole Foods) -- found that her English degree applied directly to her daily tasks: "I know how to analyze documents quickly, pay attention to my audience when answering emails and company queries, and how to write a succinct, effective report to summarize my company's needs and goals, and the goals of our customers." Beyond just reading literary texts, English majors write constantly, honing valuable communication techniques and approaches.
Of course, much of the writing that English majors do is accompanied by diligent research. A degree in English teaches students how to find, evaluate and incorporate credible sources. While generations past may have had trouble finding enough information, today's English majors more often than not have to deal with too much. Earning an English degree involves sifting through misinformation to find the facts, and employers expect the same.
Grade school English is only a small portion of the broad field of English. It may begin with reading and discussion, but it doesn't end there. English majors learn many skills that distinguish them in the job market and make them competitive for 21st century jobs.
Learn more about the LSUA online Bachelor of Arts in English program.
Sources:The Chronicle of Higher Education: Liberal-Arts Majors Have Plenty of Job Prospects, If They Have Some Specific Skills, Too
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