Whether you’re a bookish student deciding on your major or an already determined English major looking at the plethora of career options the working world has to offer you, there are so many possibilities for what you can do with an English degree. However, those on the outside probably have one singular assumption about what book lovers can do, and you’ve probably heard “So, you’re going to teach?” enough times in your life. Teaching is a noble profession, but it certainly isn’t for everyone, and it’s far from the only available option if you want to use your love of literature to further your career.
The English major isn’t simply a cycle of turning students into teachers and those teachers turning more students into teachers. If that were the case, there would be an over-saturation of teachers looking for work, which clearly isn’t the case. English majors can find work in a ton of industries. It’s all about looking around and finding something that suits your skills and personality, as well as your bookish inclinations. Here are a few career options you can keep in mind.
If you tend to be a bit more introverted, love to write, and have an easy time coming up with creative ideas, you might make an excellent copywriter. Writing “copy” essentially means writing any written text you might see online, in a magazine, or even next to products you’re looking to buy. Copywriting can be about anything, from medical copy to blog posts — just like this one! Many employers even allow their copywriters to work remotely, so it can be a great choice for those who love to travel or work from home.
2. Public Relations Specialist
Public relations is all about representing people, brands, and organizations well to the public, which is a great path to explore for those who have a way with words. This can be a great direction for English majors looking to thrive in a corporate environment, or who want to work in a specific industry like politics, entertainment, or even media. Public relations is an industry where you can start from the bottom and work your way up, with internships and entry level positions for recent grads paving the way to bigger things in the future.
Yes, you read that right. Being an English major can lead you to the courtroom. English is one of the most popular and highly recommended majors for those looking to go to law school after they get their bachelor’s degree — right up there with political science and history. Being a lawyer requires strong written language skills and lots of reading and comprehension ability, which an English major focuses heavily on. If you find yourself to be an extrovert and a stellar debater, law could be the path for you.
While many journalists have a journalism degree, you can also get into the field with an English degree — or plenty of other fields of study. There are many different kinds of journalists, and you can decide which one you want to be — from investigative, to political, to entertainment. If you like the idea of working in a fast-paced environment, delivering the news, and functioning as a part of a team, journalism might be the perfect career for you. It’s also one where you can start small and work your way up.
Contrary to popular belief, being a librarian doesn’t simply mean that you work at the library. Librarians are trained and qualified industry professionals who organize information and keep the library running smoothly. Becoming a librarian requires a master’s degree from an ALA accredited program — the American Library Association. If you love books and libraries, library sciences could be a fantastic career for you to lay your roots.
“Editor” can mean a lot of things, and an English degree can help you get to pretty much all of them. One kind of editing is copyediting, where you edit various kinds of copy that copywriters are responsible for writing. Another is working in the publishing industry and editing books for publication. Another is editing for a magazine or newspaper. While some of these editing paths will start you off editing right away, others often require working your way up — like starting as an editorial assistant for a publishing company. If editing seems like your thing, you can pick your path and see where it leads you.
Jobs for English Majors
If you study English — or you’re just thinking about it — there are so many careers and jobs it can lead you to. Whether you’re more the editing type or you want to climb the corporate ladder, there’s a place for you and your English degree. All you have to do is figure out what you love and let the words guide you.