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What Can You Do With Online Bachelor Degree in English?: Jobs and Salaries

written by: Elizabeth Porter•edited by: Sarah Malburg•updated: 1/3/2010

Interested in obtaining an online bachelor's in English? In this article you'll find what course requirements to expect, what jobs you can get, what salary you may get with your degree, and what might come next in your education.

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    Program Requirements

    A typical online bachelor's degree in English will consist of the following types of requirements:

    At least one course in

    • An introduction to writing course (this is usually a requirement of the first or second semester in order to make sure students can write well).
    • Writing or journalism.
    • Early British reading (Old English to 1680). Think Shakespeare.
    • Another British reading (1680-1890). Think Romantic Movement.
    • American literature.
    • Classical, biblical, or renaissance.
    • World literature
    • Seminar in literature (topics can vary).
    • Literature courses of your choice

    ** Some colleges will require a foreign language requirement**

    The purpose of the requirements is to make you well versed in all variations and time periods of writing. The college/university does not want to give you a degree and have you ignorant of who Chaucer, Emerson, and Plath are. Not every course will fit your interest of reading, but they should all give you education of where writing has gone and where it is going. It should also improve your writing and appreciation of literature. If you can get that feeling from a college/university’s requirements then you have found a good fit!

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    English Careers

    Having an undergraduate (bachelors) online degree in English is bittersweet. Some people may be quick to point out that an English degree does not prepare you for any specific profession because it is so broad; however, on the other hand, you can apply that degree to almost any job. An English degree tells any future employers that you know how to read and write well, and therefore know how to communicate effectively. Don't underestimate that ability; employers don't!

    With that said, here are some more common careers that English majors tend to gravitate towards:

    • Education: Many people with English degrees end up teaching English classes/courses themselves. It's what I did!
    • Writing jobs: writing for a newspaper, magazine, or working for a publishing company.
    • Corporate jobs: if education or journalism is not up your alley, then you can use your degree for almost any type of corporate job. What this means to an employer is that you will do any written work with professionalism and therefore you will represent the company well.
    • Work for yourself: Believe it or not, but English majors also go to work for themselves. It is not the easiest thing to do, but many English majors choose to go on to become authors. For most this is not their primary job, but for the really great ones it can be!

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    Salary

    These days it seems to all be about one thing: money! So what can you expect to make after obtaining your online bachelor's in English? It's hard to say since an English degree can give you so many career choices, but here is what I could find:

    According to payscale.com:

    • A high school teacher makes an average of $40,000. This, however, depends on where you live, your education, and how much time you've been teaching.
    • A techincal writer can make roughly $53,000.
    • An administrative assistant can make about $31,000.
    • A managing editor earns around $48,000.
    • A copy writer will take in an average of $41,000.
    To get a real idea of what you'll be making you need to look at jobs that are local to you. Regional job salaries tend to be around the same, but when you go further out you might find that these salary ranges are lower or higher than in your area. For example: in New Hampshire you might find that jobs pay a lot less than they do in Massachusetts, but the cost of living is a lot higher in Mass. so that's why the pay is better. You also need to keep in mind that with the US economy being so unstable that salaries may be lower than what they used to be, so you can not rely on statistics to give you an accurate number.
    With that said, choosing an English degree is one of the smartest options out there since your degree will make you markatable in almost any profession! My suggestion is to start looking before you finish your bachelor's degree to check out what the best profession is for you and where the best pay is. It will save you from having a lot of frustration after graduation.