Careers for English Majors
So, despite your parents begging you to go pre-med, you declared a major in English and buried yourself in literature and writing. Good for you!
As a college instructor, I encounter a lot of students struggling through majors they aren’t really passionate about, simply because their parents insisted, or because they think they’ll have a better chance at scoring a job once they graduate. Sure, getting a degree in accounting will make your post-Bachelor’s job hunt a little easier, and getting a degree in a STEM-related field might seem like the smartest choice to make, but I’m here to tell you that pursuing a degree in the humanities is just as valuable, and could still earn you a job you really love, and that pays well.
As a graduate of a bachelor’s program in English, I know firsthand the negativity that humanities majors often hear from those in other fields.
“Really?” They all seem to say. “What kind of job can you even get with an English degree?”
A ton of jobs, actually! There are a multitude of career paths available to those with BAs in English—even a few you might not have expected! Here are a few:
This is usually the easiest one to guess. With a background in English, you are well-equipped to teach K-12 language arts, literature, and writing courses. You can even get your teaching certification alongside your degree requirements, and graduate ready to enter the teaching job market.
Many students in English have an interest in journalism and communications, and with their English degree, could potentially work in either of these fields. I have a good amount of friends with this degree who work in editing, whether for local newspapers or larger, national publications—even at advertising agencies.
During my graduate program, I have worked as a marketing assistant for a local alternative weekly newspaper. My background in English definitely pays off in this position. Because of the courses I took through my undergraduate career in English, I’m better able to craft copy and compose useful and targeted social media posts and press releases for the newspaper.
Web Content Writer
The cool thing about this position is that you could potentially work in any number of different fields. Any company looking for someone to create original web content would be a great fit for someone with an English degree. If this sounds like something you might like to do, it would be in your best interest to brush up on basic SEO (search engine optimization) skills, and then brag about them in your interview!
Aside from just copy editing and creating original web content, English majors can be great assets to any kind of publishing firm or company. Because of your extensive background in studying literature, you have a pretty strong idea of what makes a good book. You might also know what kind of things sell in a given time period or artistic climate. Put those skills to good use and work for a publisher.
A common step many English majors take after getting their BA is to move on to a graduate degree program to earn their MA, or even their PhD. I am a month or so away from completing my MFA in Creative Writing, and then I’ll be beginning my PhD in Literacy Studies, all stemming from a BA in English. If you feel like you want to further your education before entering the job market, these graduate degrees with make you a highly qualified candidate once you do.
The list goes on. English majors—don’t fret. Choosing to get your degree in the humanities wasn’t a bad idea. A BA in English will equip you for a great number of career paths, even outside of the traditional ones.
You just have to look for them!