If you love reading, writing and everything in between, you may consider earning an English degree and pursing a related career. Getting a master’s degree in English education opens the door to a diverse world of opportunities, including some you may not have thought about before.
These degree programs will teach you countless skills and foundational knowledge that can be applied to a variety of settings where you can truly make a difference. All companies need employees with good communication skills, both verbal and written, which an English degree can give you.
As you explore your career possibilities, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I primarily want to write my own work?
- What types of writing do I tend to gravitate toward (fiction, technical writing etc.)?
- Do I want to teach others about the influence of writing and empower students to reach for their dreams?
- Would I prefer to work for corporate America, a government agency or a nonprofit entity?
Your answers to those questions can guide your career decisions and help you make the most of your time in college. Whichever path you choose, your master’s in English education will allow you to confidently pursue your career.
Secondary School Educator
Many people who are passionate about writing and literacy decide to become teachers in order to serve and inspire the next generation. In some states, secondary school educators must obtain a master’s degree after earning their teaching certification. In other places, a bachelor’s degree and a teaching certification are all that’s required.
If you do plan to teach, you should choose your degree programs wisely from the start. You’ll first need to complete a teaching-related bachelor’s degree, such as a Bachelor of Arts in English for Secondary Education. Be sure to choose a program that leads to initial teacher licensure, as this indicates that the curriculum is aligned with the state standards for acquiring a teaching certification.
When you’re ready to pursue your graduate degree, look for one that emphasizes language arts for educators, such as a Master in English Education. During the course of your advanced studies, you will take a deep dive into topic areas such as writing theories, pedagogy and effective methods of teaching literature.
A post-secondary English teacher works with college students, helping them refine their understanding of literature and polish their writing skills. Like secondary English teachers, college professors are responsible for developing their own curriculum and lesson plans. They also must deliver lectures, give extra help to students when needed and assess students’ progress. They may also advise students, helping them to refine their career goals and plan their course load.
College professors are also expected to make contributions to their field by publishing in scholarly journals and writing monographs or longer books. Colleges usually require professors to conduct their own research and publish regularly in order for them to achieve tenure.
Professors who work at four-year universities must have earned a doctorate as well as a master’s degree. However, it’s entirely possible to become a professor at a community college with just a master’s degree. In addition, these smaller colleges may not have strict requirements regarding their professors’ research and publishing activities.
A career as a curriculum writer is a great option for those with a master’s in English education who want to work in the education field but don’t necessarily want to teach. These professionals are also usually skilled in technical writing, as they are tasked with creating and revising instructional material for school districts and other companies.*
Curriculum writers are an important part of the education field, as they use their skills and knowledge to help not only develop new educational material but find unique ways to implement them into already written or new material. This can include finding new techniques for teachers in a school district to help improve the quality of education or finding new ways to exhibit company ideas to employees during a mandatory training course.
Although some curriculum writers work for different businesses, most of these professionals can be found in the education field. It’s important for them to know and understand all that goes into this field, so having a master’s in English education is often required of this career. Many curriculum writers are also licensed teachers or school administrators.*
It’s important to note that as a curriculum writer, you will often be interacting with teachers and other members of a school district to ensure the success of the curriculum and how it will be implemented in the classroom. Not only do curriculum writers need technical writing skills, but they need to have solid communication skills as well, which a master’s in English education will help you achieve. This career path gives professionals the opportunity to make a difference in the education field outside of a classroom setting.
Many people like the thought of putting their talents to good use in the nonprofit sector. If this describes you, then you might consider becoming a grant writer after earning your master’s in English. A grant writer is responsible for securing the funds that a nonprofit agency needs to operate and serve its clients.
A typical day in the life of a grant writer may include the following tasks:
- Searching through databases of foundations and grant opportunities to find those that best fit the nonprofit’s mission
- Reviewing grant proposal guidelines
- Drafting compelling, fact-based grant proposals that describe the importance of the nonprofit’s mission
- Maintaining records of submitted and pending grant proposals as well as those that have received responses
- Communicating with foundations, ensuring that all questions are answered in a timely manner
In addition, some grant writers take on broader responsibilities at their nonprofits, as some nonprofits are smaller and have fewer employees. For example, they may be responsible for writing letters asking individuals to donate to the nonprofit. A grant writer may also coordinate the overall funding campaign and track how the grant money is used.
It’s customary for a grant writer to work for just one nonprofit, rather than for an agency. However, some grant writers are freelancers who may work with a range of nonprofit clients. Regardless of which path you might choose to pursue, you’re likely to find meaningful and rewarding work helping nonprofits fulfill their mission of service.
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences at GCU offers a variety of undergraduate liberal art degrees, including the Bachelor of Arts in English for Secondary Education, the Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing and a number of graduate degrees including a Master’s in English with an Emphasis in Education. Click on Request Info at the top of your screen to begin planning your future at GCU.
*Retrieved from Resilient Educator, How to Become a Curriculum Writer in July 2021
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.