Why English? Career Paths

So what can you do with an English degree?

Image of graduating students

Some fields open to English majors seem obvious. Many English majors become English teachers or work as writers or editors. But English majors find employment in a wide range of industries because virtually all industries require people who can read carefully, think critically and write effectively. 

The University of Texas has assembled a list of jobs open to English majors. They divided the jobs into different categories. Listed below are "direct jobs". For these jobs the skills required "are so similar to the skills acquired in studying English that a degree in the field will usually serve as a credential for getting the job."

Advertising Copywriter
Computer Instructional Designer
Computer Marketing Communications Specialist
Continuity Writer
Copy Editor/Copy Reader
Corporate Communications Specialist
Correspondent/Stringer
Editorial Assistant
Employee Newsletter Editor
Film Researcher/Copywriter
Freelance Writer
Policy And Procedures Analyst
Publications Researcher
Radio/Television Copywriter
Radio/Television Researcher
Reporter/Staff Writer
Secondary School Teacher
Special Program Teachers
Technical Editorial Assistant
Technical Writer
User Documentation Writer

Also listed are "less direct jobs." For these jobs "the fit between the academic training in English and the job skills is still very close. However, knowledge of English may be less pertinent to these positions, and a degree in English itself may or may not serve as a credential for employment."

Biomedical/Medical Research Assistant
Consulting Operations Administrator
Customer Service Representative
Educational Researcher
Energy Communications Specialist
Energy Researcher
Environmental Communications Specialist
Environmental Researcher
Financial Researcher
Historical Research Assistant
Institutional Researcher/Historian
Labor Relations Researcher
Legislative Aide
Lobbying Researcher
Market Research Assistant
Public Relations/Public Information Specialist
Publications Marketing Representative
Research Assistant
Survey Assistant
Urban Planning Research Assistant

(See the complete list "What can I do with a major in English?" for a more complete discussion of the skills required for and duties associated with each of these jobs.)

In addition, English is often referred to as a "pre-professional" major because the strong emphasis on reading, writing and thinking provides an excellent foundation for graduate study. (Read more about English as a "pre-professional" major.)