An English degree requires substantial coursework in topics that involve reading, writing and analyzing works of literature. Students who earn a degree in English also emerge from college with strong writing skills obtained through writing workshops, peer reviews and essay writing. Oral communication skills are also gained as students participate in group projects and present their personal works to their classmates and professors. Due to the variety of experiences that English majors have during the course of completing their degrees, graduates leave school with a variety of skills that are highly sought after in many different types of careers. Employers value the excellent oral and written communication skills along with the analytical thinking style that can be expected from someone who has earned an English degree. Most graduates with an English degree find that there are many career opportunities available, particularly in the writing, education and business fields.
Education Careers for English Degrees
A career in education is one of the most common career paths for individuals with English degrees. A bachelor’s degree in English qualifies most people to be able to teach English at a junior high school or high school level. Depending upon the school system, additional education coursework or teacher certification exams might be required. Graduates with a degree in English also find work in the education field as reading specialists and tutors. Many graduates with English degrees also find positions in school and community libraries as library assistants. Obtaining a master’s degree in English is usually required in order to become a head librarian. Students who earn an advanced degree in English can also become eligible to teach English at the college and university level. A Ph.D. in English is generally required before becoming eligible to be a university professor.
Writing Careers for English Degrees
There are many writing careers available to graduates with English degrees. Some students who pursue a career in writing decide to become freelance writers and market their writing to individuals and businesses, while other graduates find that working for a company provides them with the financial stability that they desire. Speechwriters are often English majors who find that the combination of their oral and written communication skills help them to write personalized speeches for their clients. Copywriters help businesses to market their services through the creation of advertisements, web content and brochures for the public. Journalism positions and news writing are also common career paths selected by graduates with English degrees who enjoy researching and investigating local and world events.
Business Careers for English Degrees
Almost every business has a need for people with the strong writing and critical thinking skills that someone with an English degree possesses. A career in public relations is one option for graduates with English degrees who enjoy helping to convey a positive image to the public of the business that they work for through writing press releases and other reports to build public interest. Businesses also often hire technical writers to develop manuals, instruction sheets and other materials for their employees and customers. Grant writers are also in high demand by non-profit companies that depend upon the strong research and writing skills of English degree graduates in order to secure funding for their organizations and projects.
Legal Careers for English Degrees
Graduates with English degrees who have an interest in law can find employment as paralegals and legal assistants. These positions involve working with lawyers in order to conduct legal research, draft documents and provide administrative support. The research and writing required to earn an English degree also prepares students with a desire to become lawyers for the rigors of law school.
The flexibility of an English degree makes graduates extremely marketable to employers in a variety of fields. The ability to write professionally while thinking critically is a skill that can be adapted to a variety of positions. For most graduates with English degrees, there is an unlimited number of career opportunities available, allowing them to select careers that will provide them with personal fulfillment and opportunities for advancement.