Five Career Paths for an English Major

There are many career paths and English major can pursue outside of education (photo courtesy of Laurel.Miss on flickr).

There are many career paths an English major can pursue outside of education (photo courtesy of Laurel.Miss on flickr).

While enrolled in college and pursuing my degree in English Literature, the number one question I was asked was, “So, you are going to be a teacher?” No. I had absolutely no desire to become a teacher post-graduation. With that being said, there are numerous opportunities for English Majors in career fields other than education.

1. Proofreader

Proofreading assignments vary from project to project, so if you enjoy going to work every day with a new task or assignment, proofreading may be an interesting career field to look into. Proofreaders are expected to be consistently accurate and detailed in detecting and correcting errors in grammar, sentence structure, spelling, etc.

Businesses often hire in-house proofreaders to review media communications, internal publications, marketing and advertising material and company memos. Difficult tests are given to applicants to ensure they are capable of finding and correcting errors in short periods of time. Unfortunately, however, a proofreader’s salary can be rough; the median was just under $42,000 according to Salary.com.

2. Marketing Coordinator

English majors are known for the capacity for research and critical thinking skills (and you thought all those late-night dates with Shakespeare was for nothing!). As a Marketing Coordinator, English majors are able to work with the entire marketing team, conduct an analysis of a product’s needs, or assist in the development of a brand. With marketing needed regardless of the industry, English majors can find marketing positions in retail, law, and even restaurants.

Marketing coordinators average a salary of just over $50,000 a year as entry-level.

3. Speech Writer

Speech writers are employed to construct important speeches, documents and memos for corporate executives. A wide degree of creativity is needed as additional responsibilities could include editorials, press releases or published articles. Employed by all industries, speech writers average an annual salary of nearly $79,000 a year, but oftentimes require not only a Bachelor’s degree, but also four years of experience.

4. Public Relations

Usually requiring a bachelor’s degree and seven years of experience in the field, public relations managers are responsible for coordinating communications, maintaining a positive public image, and addressing accomplishments and points of view. By working closely with various personnel within a business – from executives to assistants – public relations managers oftentimes find themselves in-the-know.

The median salary is currently over $86,000 per year, with the possibility of bonuses and other benefits depending upon the company one works for.

5. Publishing

Publishers work to put together printed material such as books, magazines or newspapers. In addition, web publishing is a growing industry as the internet expands and web magazines increase their presence online. With a strong background in, and love for, writing, the ability to meet deadlines and a keen eye for the details, English majors can easily transition from college student to entry-level publisher.

Although salaries vary greatly based on region and experience, the median for the U.S. is currently $42,439.

Ashley Benson is a distance education professional with five years of experience in the for-profit sector. She has worked coast-to-coast within the United States as an academic advisor, an adjunct teaching assistant and, most recently, a campus Registrar. Through formal education and industry experience, Ashley practices staying informed on the current events and changes within higher education and the students involved.

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