English Degree Careers

There are a wide variety of English degree careers available, such as English teacher, a career in journalism, freelance copywriter or blogger, grant writer and editor.

English teachers can work in both public and private schools, or you can work abroad at an international school. Most public and private schools will ask that applicants possess a state recognized teacher's certificate, so you may need to pursue additional training or work for a program like Teach for America, while you pursue certification.

International English teachers are hired because they are native English speakers and because they possess an undergraduate degree in English. It is not necessary to have a teaching certificate to work abroad, though some international schools, or highly competitive teaching markets, such as Europe, may ask for one. You can get started by applying to job postings on sites like Dave's ESL Cafe, on your own college job board, at a career fair or through international teaching programs like JET or EPIK.

Many English graduates have pursued careers in journalism after graduation. Though many print newspapers are struggling, many websites and smaller alternative papers are still looking for journalists, especially in the areas of local journalism or citizen journalism. Pursue journalism internships and volunteer opportunities while in school, learn about social media and marketing, and explore opportunities in periodicals, starting with sources such as the Writer's Market. There are careers in journalism available, though the competition is fierce.

Blogger, copywriter and freelance writer are also opportunities for English majors, and you can explore some of these opportunities by starting your own blog or working as a guest or freelance blogger on some of the larger websites, as well as looking for opportunities in print magazines that have websites that need content. This career choice will depend first on your writing abilities and then on your depth of experience in topics that readers are interested in, such as hobbies, current events, politics and lifestyle. Pursue opportunities on sites such as Virtual Vocations, Craigslist, Elance, or by selling advertising on your own niche blog.

Many English majors have turned their writing skills into careers as grant writers or other policy writing. If you have experience in the non-profit world, either as paid employee or as a volunteer, you can use this experience to become a grant writer, where you write applications for funding for non-profits or research projects. If you have connections in the political world, municipal, state or federal, you can turn this experience into grant writing, political writing or blogging for political purposes.

Other English graduates have gone on to careers as editors, and the Internet has provided many opportunities for skilled editors to sell their services. The Internet is overwhelmed by poorly or awkwardly written websites or publish on demand books, that many of the writers will pay to have edited, polished and reposted to attract more visitors and to establish their sites as an authority. An editor can also work for a publishing company, newspaper, website or work as a freelancer for all types of writers from amateurs to academics.