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What to Do With a Degree in English

Alternative Careers


English Major

Do people think English majors spend all their time reading?

Phil Ashley / Stone / Getty Images

If you majored in English, are majoring in it now or are considering it in the future, no doubt someone has asked you the question "what are you going to do with that?". In fact, a degree in English can prepare you for a variety of careers. If you love this subject and want to study it in college but are worried about what you will do after graduation, here are some options for you to consider.

Writer or Editor

Writers and editors create or evaluate written content for magazines, newspapers, online media, advertisements, television shows and movies. English majors may become novelists, non-fiction authors, advertising copywriters, website content writers, bloggers, technical writers, screenwriters and playwrights. They may decide on careers as newspaper and magazine editors, online editors and book editors.

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Librarians select and organize resources so that people can use them effectively. Traditionally they worked with printed materials, but over the years they have become experts in electronic resources. To become a librarian you will need a Master's Degree in Library Science (MLS). First you will have to earn a bachelor's degree which can be in English or pretty much any subject you desire.

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Attorneys advise and represent people who are involved in civil and criminal cases. After careful analysis, research and discussion with their clients, they present the facts about cases in writing or verbally. to be admitted to law school you will need a bachelor's degree. It can be in any subject that will help enhance your writing, speaking, problem solving, research and analytical skills. English suits the bill.

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Secondary School Teacher

Teachers help students learn concepts in a variety of subjects. Generally they need a bachelor's degree in education. Since middle and high school teachers usually specialize in a field of study, for example English/language arts, mathematics, social studies, science or a world language, they need to earn a degree in that subject as well.

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Entrepreneurs own and operate their own businesses. Regardless of the nature of your venture, an English degree will certainly help you with the first step you must take—writing a business plan. Without one you won't be able to get funding. Those with English degrees are usually good communicators, problem solvers and critical thinkers, all necessary skills when running a business.

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Public Relations Specialist

Public relations specialists represent companies, governments, organizations and individuals to the public. They write press releases and prepare press conferences, using various forms of media to reach out to the public. Since there are no standard requirements for working in this occupation, if you want to work in it you should choose a major that will teach you how to communicate effectively. English is one of them.

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Reporters conduct interviews, do research and write news stories. Their work is published in newspapers or online. Some deliver their stories on the air during television or radio newscasts. While many employers prefer reporters with a bachelor's degree in journalism or mass communications, some will hire candidates who have earned a degree in English.

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Advertising Sales Representative

Advertising sales representatives sell ad space in print publications and ad time on television and radio broadcasts. They receive their sales training from their employer, but must bring good verbal and written communication skills to the job.

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Marketing Manager

Marketing managers are responsible for companies' marketing strategies. They identify markets, set prices and determine how they will reach potential customers. Although many employers prefer to hire candidates who have a degree in business, others value English majors' communication skills.

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