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Careers in English


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A degree in English provides openings to many employment opportunities and further study in such areas as law and other advanced degrees. It is common knowledge that effective communication is essential to almost any field of endeavor. A degree in English represents not only the ability to write well, but also provides well-developed skills in both critical and lateral thinking. The most commonly expected field of employment for someone with a degree in English is teaching, but the degree provides access to employment in areas such as editing, publishing, business communications, web content writing, freelance writing, and many aspects of the publishing field. Internet communication has revolutionized the way professionals in any field convey information, and even though texting has altered the way casual acquaintances communicate, a clear understanding of written communication is essential in the profession. Employers in the professional world expect the skills, abilities, and cognitive development that a degree in English can provide.

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Useful Skills within the English Field

Decision Making - Weighing out the options in a situation or a problem and logically choosing the best course of action.

- Paying attention to what other people are saying, and taking time to understand the points being made.

Managing Time
- Allocating and budgeting your time for different tasks so that things get done when needed.

Reading Comprehension
- Ability to understand complex written paragraphs, instructions, or reports.

- Using logic to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

- Talking, giving speeches, or speaking in a group to convey information, explain ideas, or give instructions.

Writing and Authoring
- Composing and communicating your ideas in written form.

- Actively looking for ways to help people.

- Teaching others how to do something. 


Career Options

To identify what education or training is typical for careers within the English field, use the O*Net hyperlinks below and click on “Job Zone.” In addition, seek out the advice of fellow students and alumni working in the industry in our mentoring program on The Quad (for current students and alumni only), or speak with a career coach.

As with all majors, the education you receive serves as a foundation of knowledge that prepares you for what you may face in the professional world. The career field you chose may require additional education or experience.

Copy Writers
Court Reporters
English Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary
Insurance Underwriters
Poets, Lyricists and Creative Writers

Public Relations Specialists
Reporters and Correspondents
Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education
Technical Writers
Word Processors and Typists
Writers and Authors

Getting Started: Internships

Gaining real-life experience is an ideal way to start a new career. The career services website has an extensive list of internships and fellowships. Browse through the internships; they are organized by interest or by federal program. 

There are government-organized internship programs which provide students or recent graduates the opportunity to gain real-life experience. Many require students to maintain either a half-time or full-time student status. The best ways to identify potential opportunities such as these is to contact branch offices directly, search, and look at the agencies’ career portals. Keep in mind that these positions are not always posted online, so direct contact with the agency is key.

The Pathways Program is a federal initiative that offers internship programs for current students as well as training and career development opportunities for recent graduates. Recent graduates must apply within two years of degree or certificate completion (except for veterans; due to their military service obligation, they will have up to six years to apply). The internship program for current students replaces the former Student Career Experience Program (SCEP) and Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).

The Presidential Management Fellows Program (PMF)
PMF is designed to attract outstanding federal service members from a wide variety of academic disciplines who have a clear interest in, and commitment to, a career in the analysis and management of public policies and programs. To be eligible, an individual must be a graduate student completing or expected to complete, during the current academic year, an advanced degree. Graduate students who have had their degree conferred in the preceding two years from the opening of the vacancy announcement are also eligible for PMF. 

The Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP)
WRP is coordinated by the Office of Disability Employment Policy and the U.S. Department of Defense, and aims to provide summer work experience and, in some cases, full-time employment to college students with disabilities. The program develops partnerships with other federal agencies, each of which makes a commitment to provide summer jobs and a staff recruiter. Each year, recruiters interview about 1,500 students with disabilities at college and university campuses across the nation and develop a database listing the qualifications of each student.

Getting Hired: Government Agencies, Organizations, and Search Engines

The list below provides a few examples of federal agencies where English degree holders might find employment. Clicking on the position title will take you to the corresponding position classification guide provided by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Each position within the federal government is classified under a series of numbers. For example, the “Information and Arts Group” is within the 1000 series. You can narrow down the exact series number based on your interests and search for it on across hundreds of federal agencies. Click here to see a list of federal positions by major.

Editorial Assistants
Management Analysts
Misc. Admin. and Programs Specialists
Program Analysts
Program Managers
Public Affair Specialists
Technical Writers and Editors
Writers and Editors

Sample Agencies
Federal Emergency Management Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
U.S. Department of Defense
U.S. Department of Education
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Department of Labor
U.S. Food and Drug Administration

While many of the major job search engines will have positions in several fields to choose from, the list below is specific to the English field.

BookJobs-Jobs in Publishing
Freelance Writing Jobs
Journalism Jobs
Poets and Writers, Inc.
Technical Writing-Writers Write
Telecommuting Jobs for Writers


Conferences and Expositions

ACLA Annual Meeting
July 6-9, 2017
Utrecht, Netherlands

ALA Conference
June 22-27, 2017
Chicago, Ill.

NCTE Annual Convention
Nov. 17-20, 2016
Atlanta, Ga.

Get Connected: Social Media

A login may be required for access to social media.

The Bird and Dog - A quarterly literary magazine for AMU and APU student writers
Society of Professional Journalists - LinkedIn

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