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Jobs for English Majors: They Do Exist

Posted by Bridget Quigg

The butt of every cocktail party joke – the English major. “Oh, that’s nice that you read Shakespeare. But, how does that get you a job?”

Well, it turns out that wordsmithing just might be the ticket in to today’s job market. According to a survey of HR professionals by global outplacement agency Challenger, Gray and Christmas and quoted in a New York Times article, “Young Workers: U Nd 2 Improve Ur Writing Skills,” the number one skill missing amongst entry-level job applicants is “writing skills.” Huh, sounds like that business degree may not do the trick for getting started in a new career.

In even better news for English majors, according to PayScale’s 2010 College Salary Report, English majors end up in some reasonably lucrative careers post-college. The most popular jobs for English majors and their median annual salaries 10 years out of school are:

Career                   Salary

Technical Writer       $68,900

Paralegal                 $53,100

Copywriter              $49,900

In terms of cash flow, the problems of English majors aren’t exactly solved. Their salary after 10 years doesn’t top aerospace engineering majors, who come out number one overall with $108,000 per year. But, hey, the English major probably is happier writing the next “Just do it” campaign rather than negotiating where to place the toilets on an airplane - not that ensuring comfortable bathrooms isn’t a worthy pursuit.

We’ll end with some other artsy, socially-minded, non-lucrative majors and their median yearly salaries according to PayScale’s 2010 College Salary Report:

College Major      Starting      After 10 Years

Journalism             $35,800      $66,600

History                  $38,500      $73,000

Art History             $39,400      $57,100

Public Relations      $35,700      $63,400

Anthropology         $36,200      $62,900

Social Work           $31,800      $44,900

1 Comment

  1. 1 Wesley Snipes 16 Apr

    If you are interested in English, you probably have an interest in making your ideas known to the rest of the world. True, you may not make a great deal of money. But if you are successful then you have a great chance of making a name for yourself. Maybe even you will have other people write about you and your ideas. This is the one great advantage over other, more tempting, majors. It would be great to leave a legacy in writing even after you have left this world. 

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