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Top Careers for English Majors

Contrary to popular belief, there are a lot of jobs for English majors that exist beyond the realm of teaching. While it’s common for English majors to become K-12 teachers or college professors, fortunately there’s options for students who don’t want to pursue this route. In fact, English majors develop skills that are transferable to a variety of fields. Employers in many industries value creativity, critical thinking, communication, reading, and writing – all of which are skills cultivated by the study of English. Read on to learn about 10 of the most popular careers for English majors.  

Related: English major overview

Top 10 jobs for English majors

1. Technical writer

Ever wondered who wrote your car manual? What about the assembly instructions that came with the new desk you just bought? Chances are it was a technical writer. These writers use precise language to make complex topics easier to understand. Their work is frequently found in things like how-to manuals, instruction booklets, and help sections of websites. Along with strong writing skills, technical writers usually have experience in a complex field such as medicine, computer science, engineering, or automotive repairs. This is a great career path for English majors who have extensive knowledge in another field.

2020 Median Pay: $74,650 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 12% (Faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

2. Copywriter

Nearly every day we view the work of copywriters, most of the time without even realizing it. From the text on the back of our shampoo bottles to the advertisements we stumble across online, copy is everywhere. Since their job is to promote goods and services, copywriters must have a knack for producing persuasive writing. This should come naturally to English majors who are particularly passionate about writing and human psychology. 

2020 Median Pay: $67,120 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 9% (As fast as average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

3. Editors

Wherever writers are employed, you can count on there being editors too. These are the folks who comb through the finer details of written works and make them presentable for publication. Although they spend a lot of time correcting spelling and grammatical errors, their job entails much more than this. They also give general feedback and direction to writers, develop story ideas that fit the publication’s tone, and oftentimes write their own stories. They’re typically employed by magazines, newspapers, websites, and book publishers. English majors looking to pursue a career in this field can start out by seeking entry-level work as editorial assistants. 

2020 Median Pay: $63,400 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 5% (Slower than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

4. Public relations coordinator 

An effective PR coordinator is like a good Instagram filter. They maintain a positive public image for their clients, which can include companies, brands, and individuals. They do this by writing press releases, planning social media posts, drafting speeches, and arranging interviews. Because English majors are such great writers and communicators, making the transition into PR isn’t too far of a stretch. For English majors looking to enter this field, however, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to minor in public relations or a related field such as business or communications. 

2020 Median Pay: $62,810 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 11% (Faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

5. Journalist

Journalists have one of the most important jobs in today’s society – keeping the public informed about what’s going on in the world. Journalists take on many different roles, with job duties that range from writing and interviewing to photography and video production. Based on their background and skill set, however, English majors are best suited for writing- and editing-intensive roles. To round out their journalism resumes, English majors can take courses in reporting, media writing, photography, and video production and editing. Securing an internship in the field is also a great way to get your foot in the door. 

2020 Median Pay: $49,300 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 6% (As fast as average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

6. Fundraiser

Commonly employed by nonprofit organizations, universities, and hospitals, fundraisers 

organize campaigns and events to collect money and other donations. They also draft language used by volunteers for telephone fundraising, write letters of appreciation recognizing donors, and develop content for brochures and websites. With their organization skills, attention to detail, and writing abilities, English majors have what it takes to be successful in this field. 

2020 Median Pay: $59,610 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 16% (Much faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

7. Librarian 

You’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who loves books more than librarians. For English majors who are especially passionate about literature, becoming a librarian is an excellent career choice. Although a master’s degree in library science is required to enter this field, an English degree serves as a great foundation. English majors develop crucial reading, writing, and organizational skills, all of which are needed to be a librarian. Librarians work in many settings, including colleges and universities, public libraries, and elementary, middle, and high schools. 

2020 Median Pay: $60,820 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 9% (As fast as average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

8. Lawyer 

The path to becoming a lawyer requires a law degree, but many begin their journey by studying English as an undergraduate. That’s because practicing law requires strong oral and written language skills for things like case briefs, reports, and analyzing and presenting cases. For English majors who are passionate about social justice and serving their community, becoming a lawyer may be the way to go. 

2020 Median Pay: $126,930 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 9% (As fast as average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

9. Market research analyst 

How do companies predict which products and services will be a hit with consumers? The answer lies in market research analysis. Professionals in this field study market conditions to examine the potential sales of a product or service. For instance, market research analysts commonly evaluate the effectiveness of advertisements by surveying consumers. They’re employed in most industries, including popular ones such as healthcare, finance, information technology, and education. Majoring in English isn’t the traditional route to a career in this field, but it’s possible with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. 

2020 Median Pay: $65,810 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 22% (Much faster than average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

10. Human resource (HR) representative 

At a lot of companies you’ll find either a single HR representative or a whole department. These professionals assist with recruiting, hiring, training, and promoting employees. They also help set the tone for workplace norms, ensure ethical behavior among employees, and make sure their organization adheres to employment regulations. English majors have the reading and writing skills needed for this job, but taking business or human resources courses can boost their employability. Interning in an HR department can also be helpful in securing full-time employment. 

2020 Median Pay: $63,490 per year
Projected Growth (2020-2030): 10% (As fast as average)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 

Additional resources

If you’re looking at this list because you’re considering what to major in, our guide to how to choose a major might be helpful. We also have extensive guides about every college major to help you compare.

If you’re already in school or have graduated, we have a list of tips to help you find a job after graduation. Additionally, you can check out our guide to financing grad school, if that is something you are considering. Finally, we have a list of the fastest-growing careers for you to consider. Good luck!