We are willing to bet that if someone were to survey a group of English or fine arts majors, most of them have been asked by a well-meaning parent or loved one, “so, what are you gonna do with that major?” It’s true, the career perception for English and fine arts majors are limited to a few options. Most people think these degrees can only lead to careers in academia or a life of bohemian obscurity.
Although those career paths are certainly romantic and noble, they don’t exactly pay well. Finding a well-paying job for English majors and fine arts majors just takes a little creativity—something of which these candidates have plenty. According to the latest statistics, degrees in the liberal arts, including English, make up the most sought-after degrees in America. For those of you wondering, “what can I do with this major,” having a degree English can lead to some very lucrative career opportunities. All it takes is knowing where your skills add value.
English and fine arts degree paths teach a very valuable set of skills that are sometimes brushed over in more specialized and focused degree paths such as business or the sciences. Skills like reading comprehension, critical analysis, verbal communication, written communication, time management, and careful attention to detail are highly sought-after soft skills and are core disciplines taught in undergrad English and fine arts degrees.
The fact of the matter is English and art majors have highly transferable skills that add value to a wide range of industries including marketing, advertising, publishing, law, and beyond. Getting a well-paying job as an English major is not hard, all it takes is a little positioning and creativity. We compiled a shortlist of some of the best paying jobs for English majors.
Being a successful advertising, promotions, or marketing manager relies heavily on the effective use of language, both through advertising to consumers and also with client interactions. Throughout the course of their curriculums, English majors are expected to present persuasive analysis to their professors and peers in order to earn their degrees. So, analyzing the performance of an advertising or marketing campaign and then creating a report for clients isn’t too far removed from writing an essay on a work of literature for an assignment.
Being a marketing manager requires effective reading, writing, and communication skills that just aren’t honed in mainstream business curriculums. The National Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found the median income for a career as an advertising, promotions, and marketing manager is a whopping $132,620 per year or $63.73 per hour. This is not exactly an entry-level job, mind you. Often you must work for years as an advertising or marketing associate before moving into the role of manager.
As an administrative service manager, communication is key. The main responsibility of an administrative service manager is helping an organization run smoothly. They must understand and anticipate the needs of each department in order for a business to run to scale. As an administrative service manager, a candidate can expect to spend most of their day creating company and departmental procedures, assisting upper management in creating strategic plans, setting organizational goals, overseeing training initiatives, and other such communications-heavy administrative tasks.
The BLS put the annual median income of an administrative service manager at $96,180 or $46.24 per hour. Again, this isn’t exactly an entry-level position you can land right after earning your bachelor’s degree, it usually requires a few years of experience as an administrative assistant to get an understanding of an organization and its employees.
Many English majors enter their academic pursuits with dreams of being a writer. Well technically, being a technical writer is still a writing job. Not only that, it pays well and is in high demand across pretty much every industry. Technical writers need strong writing and proofreading skills and a hefty dose of research prowess in order to get their jobs done. These writers are responsible for creating product manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, industry whitepapers, and other types of long-term technical documents.
The BLS reports the median salary for technical writers at $71,850 per year or $34.54 per hour. This job requires a degree in English, and some institutions have created specialized English majors for technical writing. The career outlook for technical writers is seeing a steady growth curve of about 8% through 2028.
Almost any organization that requires copy needs an editor to review it. However, the role of an editor expands further than just providing proofreading. Editors review materials for spelling and grammar, revise content, assign tasks and projects to writers, perform fact-checking duties, and evaluate submissions. A background in English emphasizes all these disciplines, making English majors a perfect fit for the role of editor.
The BLS reports the median income for editors is $59,480 per year or $28.60 per hour. Starting a career as an editor requires a strong background in reading and writing. The role of editor seems like a tailor-made role for an English major.
The above jobs and career paths aren’t the only high paying jobs for English majors, but they are a few that could really use the skills and experiences of English majors. So the next time your mom, dad, or well-meaning busybody asks you what you are going to do with your degree in English, tell them that you will have a very long and lucrative career and continue to work on your novel at the same time.
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