The Five Best Jobs for English Degrees
I have always been perplexed by the condescending question, "What can you do with an English degree?" It was asked of me by my older sister, my parents' friends, and strangers I met along the way when I was a student.
In addition to that, this question has been repeated in movies, TV shows, and print, as if to imply that the English degree is somehow a joke. It seems that a lot of folks out there do not know that the English degree is a valuable tool for some very specific professions. Here are the five best jobs for English degrees.
Job Description: Editors proofread, correct, and prepare books, manuals, and websites for end-user view or publication. Editors often go through multiple drafts and back-and-forth communication with writers, superiors, and sometimes clients. The editor makes the difference in whether a written piece looks polished or not.
Entry-level Salaries: Commonly between $25,000 and $40,000.
Education Requirements: Bachelor's degree in English.
Job Description: The technical writer creates instruction-based information for end-users. Medical equipment maintenance instructions, airplane part installation directions, DVD player hook-up guidelines, and even cookbook recipe directions are all forms of technical writing.
Technical writing is the connection between how engineers design a product or process to work, and putting those directions into language the layperson can understand.
Entry-level Salaries: Commonly between $35,000 to $45,000
Education Requirements: An English degree recipient with a minor or specialization in Technical Writing. If you already have a Bachelor's degree, you can find certificate programs or graduate school programs that specialize in Technical Writing. University of Massachusetts is a good choice with their undergraduate PWTC program.
Teaching English As a Second Language Domestically
Job Description: Teaching English as a Second Language in the United States is also an option to consider. If you cannot leave the U.S. or have no desire to do so, you can teach English to immigrants whose first language is not English. You can teach or tutor at community colleges or teach at business institutes.
Entry-level Salaries: $25,000 to $35,000.
Education Requirements: B.A. in English preferred, and then M.S.in Education in TESOL (especially for college teaching). You might want to take a look at Temple University's TESOL graduate program.
Teaching English Abroad
Job Description: If you have a desire to travel and earn money at the same time, teaching English abroad is for you. This is by far one of the best jobs for English degrees. English language knowledge is a hot commodity across the world, and you, as a native English speaker, are highly valuable in this field.
You will educate learners in your chosen country, usually with cultural but definite language barriers. However, every school has a model for teaching English, so you need not worry about speaking the language of your host country.
American teachers are usually highly desired in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. Your students will usually be either high school students or adults desiring to learn English for business purposes.
Entry-level Salaries: Salaries vary greatly by host country. Your compensation could be $15,000 plus room, board, and airfare in Latin America, or in Middle East countries such as Dubai you could earn in the $40,000 range as a teacher.
Education Requirements: A Bachelor's degree, preferably in English. You also usually need a TESOL/TEFL certification. You can acquire this through a 100+ hour in-person or online course at a specialty school such as International TEFL Academy. These certification programs are usually completed within a month.
Social Media Manager
- Job Description: This field is on an upswing and is due to the integration of Facebook,Twitter, and YouTube in corporate business marketing. As a Social Media Manager your major responsibility is to respond to tweets and posts that consumers, fans, and foes place on your social media pages. It requires not only an excellent command of the English language, but especially an understanding of how to communicate in a positive and appropriate manner at all times, even to very negative posts.
- Entry-level Salaries: $30,000 to $40,000 for a full-time position. It is also becoming more common for Social Media Manager positions to be freelance, where a manager is contracted to many companies to manage their Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blog accounts. If you manage social media for seven or eight companies, you could make $60,000 per year.
- Education Requirements: B.A. in English or Communications preferred.