What can you do with an English degree?

It’s a question I’ve heard over and over again: “What are you planning on doing with an English degree?” This is frequently accompanied by derision and/or unsolicited advice to change my major to something more lucrative.

Perhaps there is more job security in nursing and more financial stability in a business or engineering degree, but I believe it is far more rewarding to study what you love and, personally, I am happier around words than I am around numbers.

So, getting back to that pesky question, here are some things you can do with an English degree:

Teaching

This one is pretty obvious—I think many people automatically assume this is what most English majors plan to do with their degree. And while teaching is certainly not all that is available to English majors, it is nonetheless an excellent option. Elementary and secondary school teachers require teaching certifications, and college professors need a master’s degree.

Pre-professional Programs

College students majoring in English tend to be very well-rounded in their educations. They are taught to write well, analyze ideas, and communicate skillfully. This is why many with an English BA further their studies in fields like law, medicine, and business.

Publishing

People with English degrees are conversant in researching, editing, reading, and writing, and this makes them a good fit for jobs within the publishing industry. While these kinds of jobs are a little harder to come by, it is possible to work your way up through jobs such as an editorial assistant or a proofreader/copyeditor, or through internships.

Writing

This is another occupation that English majors are naturally suited for, but as with publishing, these jobs can be difficult to secure. Writing is also a multifaceted field—it includes journalism, technical writing, scientific writing, creative writing, and copywriting. Any Parkland College English major interested in writing should look at all their college transfer options for Writing minors or concentrations to accompany their English major upon transfer.

Advertising, Podcasts, Public Relations, Research Assisting, Speechwriting, Travel Writing, Movie Critiquing

The list goes on! There are tons of jobs out there for English majors, and a great place to find out more about it is Parkland’s Career Center in the U wing. You can take a career test and find out exactly what you’re suited for. Make sure you know all your options, and have fun exploring them!

[Marnie Leonard is a Parkland College Student Ambassador.]

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