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What can I do with a degree in English?

Article Sources

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A common idea is that a study of English is best suited to those who love literature and writing. Yet, English is a broad and versatile discipline that combines literature, history, philosophy, psychology, research and writing. An education in this subject can arm students with a valuable and flexible skill set that can be translated to a variety of career paths and fields, such as communications, advertising, education, writing, journalism, media, film making, law, nonprofit, marketing and even business and finance.

If you want to earn a degree in English but have family or work commitments that are preventing you from attending classes on campus, an online degree program in English may give you the flexibility you are looking for.

Career paths for English majors base on degree level

A range of flexible online degree programs in English caters to a broad spectrum of students: from high school graduates just starting their college education to employed workers seeking an advanced degree. Here is a list of degree-level options and possible career paths you can pursue after earning each one:

  • Associate degree in English: Typically taking two years of study, students with an associate degree in English can apply for entry-level positions such as teacher's assistant, preschool teacher, desktop publisher, and similar support roles.
  • Bachelor's degree in English: With a bachelor's degree, students can apply for positions such as editor, writer, technical writer, public relations specialist, and journalist, to name a few. Most bachelor's degree programs take four years to complete and offer a choice of concentrations, such as creative writing, film studies, and gender studies, among others.
  • Master's degree in English: This graduate-level degree typically takes two years of study. Students who earn a master's may find work in a school or college setting and they may qualify for senior roles and higher salaries in non-school settings. Students may also choose a master's in English if they desire to pursue a career in research and academia.
  • Doctoral degree in English: Armed with a doctorate, students can apply to become professors at colleges and universities. They can continue doing further research and publish academic papers. The typical duration for a program at this level is four to seven years.

Common Occupations for English Majors

As with most humanities subjects, a degree in English is not directly connected or restricted to specific career paths. Here are a few common occupations for English majors, along with their career outlook and mean annual wages, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, 2017):

Writers and Authors: The world of online publications is growing rapidly. This has increased the demand for those who can craft engaging and informative content. Writers are also needed to create content in entertainment, media, advertising, etc. Professional writers may also choose to work as freelancers so they have the liberty to work at their own convenience and for a variety of clients.

Projected employment growth rate (2016-26): 8 percent

Mean annual wage: $72,120

Public Relations Specialists: Organizations constantly need creative ways to enhance their brand value, especially through social media. For this reason, there is an increasing demand for people with strong and effective communication skills who can build and maintain a positive public image for their organization.

Projected employment growth rate (2016-26): 9 percent

Mean annual wage: $67,990

Technical Writers: Whether at work or at home, people are increasingly relying on technology to make lives simpler. This has increased the demand for technical writers who create support documents, such as articles and manuals, to explain technical information in a simple, easy-to-understand way. Technical writers often choose to work on a freelance basis.

Projected employment growth rate (2016-26): 11 percent

Mean annual wage: $74,440

Benefits of Choosing an Online Degree Program in English

Online degree programs in English can offer flexibility along with rigorous curriculums that are generally similar to traditional on-campus equivalents. With the option of asynchronous classes, students can access resource materials at their convenience. Since the study of English requires extensive reading, research and writing, the self-paced nature of these programs allows students to manage their other responsibilities (like work or family) while making the most of the learning resources. Through online chat rooms and web-based lectures, students can also take part in interactive discussions with their teachers and peers.

Online degree programs in English may offer a hybrid component that allows students to benefit from campus-based sessions. In addition, online libraries, downloadable lectures, and online submission options are some of the basic features of a well-rounded online degree program in English. Students should spend time to learn about all the features of the degree program of their choice.

To know more about the various industries and positions for English majors, browse through the visual below.

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 What Can I Do With a Degree in English?
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