20 Great Jobs for English Majors
English is a liberal arts program of study that nearly every college and university offers. Majoring in English can provide you with many skills to prepare you for employment in a field that interests you. If you are majoring in English or considering it, it may be helpful to know what jobs are available if you earn a degree in this field.
In this article, we list 20 careers for English majors, including their typical responsibilities and average salaries.
What skills do English majors learn?
An English concentration involves extensive reading and writing and provides an understanding of language. By studying a wide range of literature, English majors develop excellent analytical, critical thinking and communication skills. These versatile, transferable skills can help an English major to succeed in a wide range of roles and industries and prepare for a variety of graduate studies. Some top skills an English major learns include:
Verbal and nonverbal communication
How to analyze and process information
Attention to detail
Careers for English majors
Consider some of these common jobs that require the skills of an English major:
High school English teacher
Social media manager
Human resources generalist
Public relations manager
Internal communications executive
National average salary: $13.48 per hour
Primary duties: Production assistants work in the film and television industries and perform a variety of duties. They might answer phones, create schedules, order and pick up food and drinks, help with transportation, order supplies and perform any other errands. Being a production assistant is an entry-level role that is often the first step in a film or television production career. They can become producers, directors or other roles. Production assistants need to be reliable, detail-oriented and have excellent active listening skills.
National average salary: $17.46 per hour
Primary duties: Editors oversee written materials for publication. They can have a variety of tasks, including reviewing material and judging public interest in it, offering suggestions to writers, proofreading materials for mistakes and assisting in the publication process. Editors can work in any field that produces written publications, including for magazines, book publishers, marketing firms and online content agencies. They need excellent attention to detail and written communication skills, including knowledge of grammar and writing styles.
National average salary: $20.10 per hour
Primary duties: Technical writers take complex and highly technical information and communicate it in an easy-to-understand way. They often write user and instruction manuals, articles, how-to guides or other informative pieces to assist people in comprehending difficult subjects. They may also create diagrams. They can work in many fields, including information technology, scientific research and engineering. Technical writers need superb communication skills and the ability to understand highly complex material.
National average salary: $24.03 per hour
Primary duties: Writers can use their trade in a variety of ways. They can write anything from novels, speeches and poetry to blog posts, how-to articles, advice columns or company communications. Many companies employ freelance writers or hire full-time staff writers. Besides written communication skills, writers need to have vision, creativity and close attention to detail.
National average salary: $44,828 per year
Primary duties: Marketing associates perform day-to-day tasks in a company’s marketing department or an advertising agency to assist marketing managers. Their duties often include researching marketing trends, writing and proofreading copy and performing administrative tasks.
National average salary: $40,523 per year
Primary duties: Reporters and journalists write and report news stories. They can specialize in many areas, including politics, sports, social issues, crime and entertainment. They need investigative skills to research information and conduct interviews. They might accept assignments from employers or develop their own ideas to pursue stories. Reporters can work in newspapers, magazines, radio, television and online.
National average salary: $47,488 per year
Primary duties: High school English teachers instruct students in grades 9-12 in reading, writing, research and grammar skills. They plan and create lessons, provide direct classroom instruction, create and grade assessments and update students and parents of students on educational progress. All public schools in the United States and many private schools require teachers to have a teaching license and requirements for earning one vary by state.
National average salary: $47,562 per year
Primary duties: Communications officers facilitate accurate and effective communication between their employer, the media and the public. They plan, create and distribute content to promote or control awareness of a company, organization or individual’s brand. Communications officers need excellent interpersonal and conflict resolution skills and communication skills to develop and maintain relationships with executives, managers and journalists.
National average salary: $47,884 per year
Primary duties: Social media managers use online marketing strategies to promote awareness of a company or its products and services through social media platforms. Besides typical marketing and advertising strategies, they use social media to create and develop relationships with customers through online conversations and engaging with the community. They strategize, create and publish content online. Social media managers need creativity, empathy and interpersonal skills and good communication skills.
National average salary: $50,175 per year
Primary duties: Paralegals assist lawyers. Their responsibilities might include researching laws, legal cases and precedents, compiling and organizing information, drafting legal documents and investigating the facts of a legal case. They help lawyers prepare for trials by finding and presenting information. Paralegals need to be detail-oriented and have research, investigative, organization and communication skills.
National average salary: $54,094 per year
Primary duties: Human resources generalists work in a company’s HR department to communicate essential employment information to employees and recruit and hire staff. They might organize and implement training procedures and programs and create and publish company policies. HR generalists can also facilitate communications between employees and supervisors and conduct or assist with performance reviews. These professionals need discretion, decision-making and problem-solving skills and organization and communication skills.
National average salary: $54,375 per year
Primary duties: Public relations managers help their clients to communicate effectively with the public. They can work for organizations, the government or prominent individuals. Public relations managers develop their client’s public image by writing press releases, preparing information for the media and designating information sources. They may also identify target audiences and create marketing or promotion plans. Public relations managers might supervise a small or large staff of communications employees, depending on their employer.
13. Content manager
National average salary: $56,411 per year
Primary duties: Content managers supervise the presence and production of content on websites. They can research, source, write, edit and post new material and update or remove outdated material. They might work alone or oversee a team of writers and editors to ensure that the site’s content is accurate, current and interesting to a target audience. Content managers need creativity, leadership and analytical skills and excellent communication skills.
National average salary: $56,757 per year
Primary duties: Librarians are information science professionals who assist individuals in finding information and compile, organize and update information. They can work in public libraries, schools, universities, research institutions or government agencies. Librarians often need a Master of Information Science degree, and can prepare well for that program by first earning a bachelor’s degree in English.
National average salary: $59,488 per year
Primary duties: Publishers oversee the publication of written materials, including ordering content, accepting and approving submissions, arranging writer contracts, overseeing editing and design and engaging in marketing efforts to promote sales. Publishers can work in a variety of industries, such as book publishing, magazine production or online content. They might focus on a certain genre, such as novels, journal articles or biographies, or in a certain subject, such as science or poetry.
National average salary: $66,996 per year
Primary duties: English professors teach college-level courses in literature, writing and literary theory. They develop their courses’ curricula, creating and grading assignments and communicating with their students on their academic needs and progress. They also often perform research and write articles for scholarly journals. English professors usually specialize in a certain field of literature and typically need a Ph.D. degree in English to teach at the university level.
17. Research analyst
National average salary: $67,398 per year
Primary duties: Research analysts work in a specific sector to discover, analyze, interpret and present data, often for market research purposes to identify industry trends and client needs. They can specialize in any field, such as information technology or education, and can be hired for full-time positions within companies or work as independent consultants. Research analysts need acute attention to detail and researching, analytical and communication skills.
National average salary: $70,280 per year
Primary duties: Lawyers are legal experts who can use their knowledge of the legal system. They can be government prosecutors or defenders, or specialize in a civil area such as divorce, contracts, intellectual property or many other fields. Lawyers need to attend law school, and many earn an undergraduate degree in English to prepare them for that further study.
19. Brand strategist
National average salary: $70,893 per year
Primary duties: Brand strategists work on a marketing team to create and deliver a consistent and effective brand for a company’s products. They oversee the direction of a brand, such as tone and design elements. They will often perform market research and create marketing plans and need to be creative and detail-oriented.
National average salary: $81,635 per year
Primary duties: Internal communications personnel work to ensure accurate and efficient communication between all employees within an organization. They collaborate with other supervisors to motivate and inform employees in various ways, such as emails, reports, bulletins, social media and newsletters.
They might inform employees of company goals, policy updates, human resources developments and other information necessary for every employee to perform their roles well. Internal communications executives need excellent written and verbal communication skills as well as leadership, analysis and organization.