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There are countless majors to choose from in college, so why does English stand out? Many are specialized or interesting, but it has distinct benefits and opportunities. It might not seem like it, but English is such a good major for college students.
What’s Beneficial About Majoring in English?
Outside of getting a degree, majoring in English has plenty of unique benefits. The classes are involved and full of engaging discussions and material. You might picture an English major writing poetry and reading classics, but a lot more goes into it than that. Each class is writing, research, or reading intensive, so you’ll build a solid knowledge base and gain new skills.
One of the biggest benefits is versatility. Many of the classes teach you things you can apply to other areas of your academics and future career. As of 2023, over 1,717,220 English majors work in varying industries. Their roles are in legal, education, writing, entertainment, administration, and business fields, to name a few.
Students who major in English can pursue a career in industries that aren’t even related to writing or reading because it teaches them transferable skills. Also, if they choose a concentration — like education, creative writing, or linguistics — they can narrow down their degree to fit into their preferred specialty.
Does It Provide Graduate School Opportunities?
An English major is a great starting point if you’re considering graduate school because it improves many foundational skills. Communicating, writing well, and knowing how to research are things those programs value.
While there are options to continue a specialty related to English, you can choose to pick something unrelated because the degree is versatile. For example, you could easily get your master’s degree in nonprofit management because it relies on writing and research skills for funding.
It doesn’t directly relate to the bachelor’s degree, but that can be a good thing. If you have a career you want to go to graduate school for, consider a bachelor’s degree in English. Many programs highly value it, and it provides relevant experience.
Does It Provide Career Opportunities?
It focuses on experiences and skills that can translate to many different fields. Since plenty of jobs require reading, writing, research, communication, or critical thinking capabilities, you have a wide variety to choose from.
Here are a few popular career options for English majors:
- Journalist: Journalists are very research-focused. An English major can lead to a journalism job, especially with the right concentration since it requires strong communication and writing skills.
- Medical scribe: A medical role might seem odd for an English degree, but it’s possible to get one. Medical scribes make over $38,000 a year on average. They write down patient and doctor interactions for record-keeping purposes and to help patients understand complex medical information.
- Copywriter: A copywriter is a common job because it is almost a direct translation of the classes. Each role typically focuses on a writing type or style.
- Teacher: Many who have a concentration in education become teachers. As of 2022, teaching is the most common profession for those with an English degree.
- Technical writer: A technical writing job is about making complex language simple enough for the average person to understand. It requires critical thinking and great writing skills, so many who major in English go on to become technical writers.
- Social media coordinator: Although it’s a bit unconventional, you could become a social media coordinator. The role relies on communication and niche writing abilities, so it can be an excellent opportunity for someone majoring in English.
- Lawyer: An English major is an incredibly popular choice for law school because it aligns with the necessary skills you need to become a lawyer.
These are some of the more popular jobs, so there are plenty more if you don’t see one that intrigues you. Many opportunities exist for any interest or specialty. You could become a lawyer, an elementary educator, or a copywriter for a publishing house.
Is Majoring in English Worth It?
Although it’s a bit of a running joke that an English major won’t make you much money, many relevant jobs pay incredibly well. We’ll take a look at what it typically costs to major in English and compare that to what you can make to determine if it’s worth it.
On average, students pursuing an English degree pay around $9,400 annually at public colleges. While the cost differs based on location, school, grants, and scholarships, it’s a solid general estimate.
People who majored in English receive salaries over $76,600 on average once they graduate and enter their careers. This number differs based on experience, certifications, and industry, but the average is still high compared to other degrees.
If you’re wondering whether it’s worth it, it likely is. You have a high chance of making a high salary and establishing yourself in a career that aligns with your personal interests.
What Do You Get out of an English Major?
While it’s still relatively subjective, the gains far outweigh the costs. There are many benefits to getting an English degree, and the skills you learn are easily transferable into any number of exciting fields.
The experience you gain can also make it easier to switch careers later on if you want a change. An English major isn’t super specialized, but that’s a good thing. The things you can learn with one apply to a broad range of jobs, meaning there’s less pressure to choose the right career path immediately after graduation.
It’s a Good Choice for a Major
You’ll enjoy majoring in English if you love to read, write, or research, but it can still be a great option if those things aren’t your passion. The solid foundation it builds can make it easier to find a career in a field you like — even ones that aren’t related directly to reading or writing.