13 Best Jobs for English Majors: Definitions and Salaries

Updated 6 August 2023

Finding a job as an English major requires harnessing the skills learned at university. English major skills are transferable, as most companies can benefit from candidates with excellent written and verbal communication, critical thinking and analytical skills. Understanding the types of jobs available for English majors can help you make more informed career decisions after university. In this article, we discuss the top 13 career choices for English majors, explore the skills English majors benefit from and answer some frequently asked questions.

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Top 13 jobs for English majors

Below is a list of the top 14 jobs for English majors, based on the skills and primary duty requirements:

1. Reporter

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National average salary: $77,799 per year

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

Primary duties: Reporters are journalists who work in broadcast or print media. Reporters write or talk about topical events and provide analysis for viewers and readers. They liaise with government and local officials, witnesses and conduct interviews to provide comprehensive coverage on a topical event. Reporters may also work on their own projects and conduct investigations to produce exclusives for their network or publisher. They can often work as freelancers or as part of a company.

Related: How to Become a Journalist

2. Research assistant

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National average salary: $75,184 per year

Primary duties: Research assistants work on behalf of institutes like universities and museums to conduct research and readings on topics of interest. This may be for a new exhibit, curriculum or research for a book. They primarily work on interpreting data and translating texts written or recorded in a foreign language. Research assistants are particularly useful for PhD fellows or university lecturers.

Related: What Does a Research Assistant Do? (And How to Become One)

3. Content writer

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National average salary: $68,014 per year

Primary duties: Content writers primarily work to produce written content on behalf of a company, agency or client. Content writers may produce written articles, scripts and prepare creative briefs for interactive content. They typically conduct all the primary research and reading in accordance with a brief to produce a piece of writing on a particular topic. Content writers can work as part of a company or freelance for multiple people.

4. Publisher

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National average salary: $79,528 per year

Primary duties: Publishers work to publish manuscripts, books, magazines and newspapers. Publishers may also work with authors to develop book titles, blurbs and other assets that market a book effectively. They may also work with third parties to help illustrate and distribute the book, magazine or newspaper.

5. English teacher

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National average salary: $86,459 per year

Primary duties: English teachers take primary responsibility for teaching the recommended English curriculum, including teaching and guiding students through topical or popular books. English teachers mark students' work and provide useful feedback. They also take responsibility for informing parents of the student's progress in their class. To qualify as a registered teacher, English teachers may require a minor in education or a master's in education after their bachelor's.

6. Marketing executive

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National average salary: $75,563 per year

Primary duties: Marketing executives help generate new, creative campaign ideas. These ideas can help to improve company engagement and increase customer basis. Marketing executives conduct primary research and analysis on the type of following a brand or company has and help to adjust their products or advertising campaigns to suit the primary audience's requirements.

7. Social media manager

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National average salary: $81,672 per year

Primary duties: Social media managers monitor company engagement through their social channels. This provides a business with vital insight into the type of following a brand has. Social media managers can play an instrumental role in expanding the customer base by adopting a solid social media strategy and establishing the brand's tone of voice. These professionals connect on an individual basis with their customers online to promote brand loyalty. Social media managers may be in charge of generating and distributing interactive or written content across a company's social channels.

8. PR associate

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National average salary: $71,798 per year

Primary duties: Public relations (PR) associates spend their time organising publicist events to promote their client and their work. PR associates also liaise with the press or alternative parties to diminish stories about their clients. They help organise meetings with representatives to discuss public strategies. PR associates track media coverage of a specific topic to adjust their PR strategy accordingly.

9. HR manager

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National average salary: $114,498 per year

Primary duties: Human resources (HR) managers take responsibility for the human element of a working environment. This includes organising disciplinary hearings, interviewing and hiring new staff, conducting redundancies and organising payroll. HR managers may work as part of a team of HR managers and take responsibility for individual parts of a business. They also take responsibility for drafting contracts and may produce written reports for senior leaders in the business.

10. Project manager

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National average salary: $120,711 per year

Primary duties: Project managers take primary responsibility for the progression of a project. They conduct risk assessments and generate strategies whilst working with a team to ensure they meet client deadlines. Project managers liaise with clients and third parties and analyse customer feedback to improve a product. Project managers produce written reports on the project's progression and present them to senior leadership. They ensure that a project helps a business meet its goals and targets.

Related: How to Write Effective Reports in the Workplace

11. English lecturer

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National average salary: $104,131 per year

Primary duties: English lecturers work within a university setting and lecture on a pre-approved curriculum. These professionals guide their students to write effective reports and essays on texts and how to utilise critical thinking to achieve the highest grades. English lecturers also mark coursework and exams and provide grades and feedback on how a student can improve. English lecturers may also publish their own research and work alongside lecturing.

12. Columnist

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National average salary: $76,322 per year

Primary duties: Columnists work on behalf of a newspaper, blog or magazine to produce written content on a specific subject. Columnists conduct most of the primary research for their columns. This may include reviews on books, movies, music or products to help guide customers to making well informed buying decisions. Columnists may work in partnership with a brand to help promote their products or services. Columnists can commentate on a variety of topics, from pop culture to finance and politics.

13. Librarian

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National average salary: $88,011 per year

Primary duties: Librarians manage the overall running of libraries. This includes ensuring that bookshelves are fully stocked and members return their books. These professionals also ensure that memberships are up to date and they enter data correctly on their system. Librarians may work as part of wider chains or government agencies conducting vital research or may own small book shops and run community libraries. Librarians require strong technical skills to manage large amounts of data.

What do English majors learn?

At university, English majors often read and analyse text, regularly produce thousands of words and develop necessary hard and soft skills. Here are some skills that English majors develop at university:

  • analytical

  • problem-solving

  • critical thinking

  • research and secondary reading

  • information processing

  • empathy

  • verbal and written communication

  • time-management

  • topical awareness.

Related: Written Communication Skills: Tips and Examples

Frequently asked questions

Here are the most commonly asked questions surrounding jobs for English majors:

Is there a demand for English major jobs?

There is an increase demand for jobs for English majors like public relations professionals because of the skills that they require. These roles require creative minds with effective research and writing skills. Creativity is valuable in a business, as it generates innovative solutions and product ideas that could increase revenue. Creativity is a core asset in a company's bid to reach key business development milestones.

Why are English majors useful in many different industries?

Most businesses require effective communication skills, diligent research skills, attention to detail and optimal organisation skills. The abilities that English majors acquire throughout their degree are transferable and can be useful when adopting industry-specific hard skills. This may be valuable across multiple industries.

Why is being a talented writer important at work?

A business that values good writing markets itself well to clients and other businesses. Quality writing reads and sounds professional, so English majors are useful assets to a company's image. Communication provides a strong foundation in a business and good writing is at the core of effective communication. With solid writing skills, English majors can effectively and clearly execute tasks, leading to better working relationships and continual career progression.

Related: How to Write an Effective English Tutor Resume in 6 Steps

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