What To Do With An English Degree

Published by Ivy Jones on

What to do with an English Degree

English majors often get the same question: “What are you planning to do after you graduate?” It’s difficult to answer this, and it can become overwhelming as a young adult in undergrad.

Judith Y. Kim | Avant-Youth

The full truth is that many jobs that have to do with writing and the English language can benefit from an English major’s work. It is easy to check out internships or jobs that are seeking people with or working towards English degrees on sites like LinkedIn and Indeed. There are also the search engines for the specific jobs linked  below. If you are passionate about English, here are a few paths you can take after school:

1. Tutoring ESL (English Second Language) and
TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language)

  • Average salary for ESL teachers: around $45,500
  • Average salary for TEFL teachers: It depends on what country or area to which you are going. 

Judith Y. Kim | Avant-Youth

Teaching English as a second language in your community or even so far as a foreign country abroad is an option for people with English degrees. If you have an English degree, or are working on one, you are especially fluent in how the English language works grammatically as well as stylistically. There are programs such as those highlighted in this article on goabroad.com. In addition, there is a search engine that can help when choosing where to go and what language to teach that functions to help people like you. On a blog focusing on TEFL experiences, you can find out schools that provide free housing

2. Law school

Law school is not the first thought many people have when they first hear “English major,” but it is another possible way to go from your undergrad degree, especially if you are looking to continue your education.

Much of a lawyer’s job consists of writing and communicating, as well as analyzing legal documents for schooling and professional practice. While this is not every young adult’s cup of tea, it is appealing for those wanting to go above and beyond the expectations of an English degree. For those interested in law school, to find out if that path is the right one for you, you can easily contact a local law program and sit in on a lecture or two.

3. Librarian

If you have a love for literature (inherent to English Majors), working in a library is a definite option. While there is a slight negative impact on the demand by the implementation of technology into the workspace, two out of three librarians are forty-five years of age or older and retiring soon. Librarians require a lot of experience with literary research. Much of their duties include keeping track of books, cataloguing information and doing scholarly research. Some words from librarians on their jobs can be found on ALA (American Library Association) such as this page on reasons to be a librarian. On the same site, there is also a section for education and careers, which shows off jobs.

In addition to these, ALA provides a job search engine.

As a young adult, the best way to begin library work is through an internship. Lucky for you, you now know the websites to begin your search!

4. Freelancer

  • Average salary: varies between what jobs, amount of hours worked, experience, company revenue, etc.

You can always become a freelance worker. Freelance writers, editors, team managers, publishers, proofreaders and more are constantly available for hire. There are several freelance platforms that are trustworthy, such as Upwork, Fiverr, Submittable, Flexjobs and Contena.

Plenty of literary journals such as the Colorado Review, Nashville Review and The Threepenny Review pay for content and specific entries are available on submittable.com year round. In addition, this graph shows how quickly the self-publishing industry has grown.

As well as these, there are boards for those looking for freelance work. A few of them, for example, are FlexJobs for general work, MediaBistro for journalism, andServiceScape for job postings.

Judith Y. Kim | Avant-Youth

5. Copywriter

This is a job for English major writers who prefer nonfiction over fiction. Copywriting focuses on informative content, and a copywriter can work for businesses or themself. Under this umbrella also falls writing proposals and ads. 

As an English major, you are well-versed in how to get thoughts and information across. You also know grammar inside and out. Copywriting is definitely a way to go if you enjoy writing but don’t find yourself falling into creative writing.

It is easy to hop into internships for copywriting, and those can help you gauge if you want to continue with the career.

An English degree is extremely versatile. However, the future may be scary, especially when you’re unsure of what you’re going to do after college. Have no fear. There are a number of options for your future career.

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