What can you do with an English degree? English is an incredibly versatile and useful degree. Every industry and organization require written and verbal communication. Yet, many people struggle with basic writing tasks. English degree jobs are always available, as organizations benefit from excellent organization and clear, concise communication. In addition, it is possible to hold any of the following positions while simultaneously working on your own personal writing goals (such as a blog or novel).
1. English Teacher
One common career choice for English majors is teaching. If you already know that you want to go into teaching, it’s helpful to choose an English degree program that leads to initial teacher licensure. Within this profession, there are specialization opportunities. For instance, you could opt to teach elementary, secondary or postsecondary English classes. Alternatively, you may decide to focus your career on teaching students with special needs.
These days, teaching doesn’t always take place in a classroom. Another career option is virtual teaching. There are K-12 and postsecondary education institutions that teach remote students entirely online. Digital tutoring is another option that you may want to consider.
2. ESL Teacher
ESL stands for English as a Second Language. Sometimes, it’s referred to as English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). ESL teachers specialize in teaching English to non-native speakers, focusing on reading, writing and conversational skills. ESL teachers often work with immigrants with residence the country, as well as students living in the U.S. on student visas. There is also opportunity for travel in this profession. Many ESL teachers work abroad, introducing students to English. ESL teachers may conduct classes and one-on-one tutoring sessions. Note that the requirements to become an ESL teacher can vary from one state and organization to the next. Generally, ESL teachers must obtain licensure and ESL certification.
3. Magazine Writer
Magazine writing is a particularly enriching field for individuals who have an English degree. It enables writers to delve deeply into one narrow subject, interviewing experts and doing research. Then, these professionals use their research to write a compelling story that keeps readers engaged. There are magazines and journals for every possible interest—from crocheting and fishing to history and psychology. This allows you to choose a niche that best fits your passions.
Many magazine writers are freelancers who work for multiple local, regional or national publications. Typically, they will submit a pitch (also called a query) to a magazine editor that explains their story idea. If approved, the freelancer and editor will agree on the payment for the piece before the writer gets to work. Solid organizational skills are a must-have, as freelance writers often work on multiple stories for different publications at the same time. In some cases, magazine editors will contact freelancers with whom they have previously worked and ask them to do a particular story.
4. Grant Writer
A job as a grant writer might be the perfect fit for you if you are passionate about pursuing work in the nonprofit sector and prefer a job that requires a great deal of writing. These professionals are responsible for researching databases to identify grant opportunities that fit the organization. Then, they write a grant proposal that:
• Describes the nonprofit
• Explains the program that requires funding
• Identifies positive and measurable impacts on the community if the program is funded
Grant writers must convince grant makers to provide funding for needed programs. Grant writers may secure funding for clean water initiatives, education, healthcare and many other worthy causes. Many grant writers are freelance contractors. However, large charities often employ their own full-time grant writers.
5. Developmental Editor
There are multiple types of editing positions, one of which is developmental editing. Developmental editors are “big picture” editors. They examine the entirety of a manuscript. Instead of proofreading line by line, developmental editors identify structural and organizational issues. Their ultimate goal is to enhance a potential reader’s experience and enjoyment of the book by working closely with the author to shape the direction of the manuscript by preventing plot holes and inconsistencies.
Most developmental editors work directly for publishing houses. These are sought-after positions, and it it typical to have to work one’s way up to them. Expect to start as an editorial assistant at a publishing house before you have the experience necessary to pursue a higher-level editing position.
Regardless of how you plan to use your English degree, you can get started at Grand Canyon University. The College of Humanities and Social Sciences offers a Bachelor of Arts in English with an Emphasis in Professional Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English for Secondary Education degree, which leads to initial teacher licensure. If you already hold a bachelor’s degree, you can further enhance your career and grow your skillset by earning a Master of Arts in English with an Emphasis in Education degree available online. To learn more, visit our website or click on the Request Info button on this page.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.