English majors develop skills in communication and analysis that are valuable in many different fields. While many English majors become teachers, others enter business, government, or the professions. The requirements for the English major allow students plenty of time for courses in other disciplines, and some English majors take a minor or a second major in another department to prepare themselves for their career.
Teaching (including college teaching)
English teachers teach several aspects of English at all grade levels: literature, composition, grammar and language, reading, and the history of English. To become a teacher, you must achieve certification by the National Teachers' Association by taking courses in Education and English and passing the National Teachers' Examination. As an English teacher, you increase your students' knowledge and understanding of the English language and literature in English, and develop their oral and written communication skills. Also, teachers help students improve their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. The teaching profession holds many opportunities and rewards for caring, patient individuals who want to help others and share their love of literature. To teach in public schools, you must earn certification in the state you wish to teach in and pass Praxis II.
In creative writing, people shape their thoughts and feelings into poems, novels, short stories, essays, and other forms of writing. To become a successful creative writer, you must be dedicated and willing to set aside time to devote to your work. For writers, juggling two jobs to maintain a comfortable standard of living is often necessary. However, the personal satisfaction is great--and there is always the possibility that you'll write that best-seller!
Technical and Business Writing
Business and technical writers create documents through reading, writing, and editing skills. Technical and business writers must be able to interpret difficult information and translate it for several types of audiences. Technical and business writers create many types of documents, from memos to proposals to annual reports. Many steps are involved in creating a document, from drafting, rewriting, revising, editing, and proofreading. With today's developing technology, there is a growing demand for business and technical writers who can communicate technical information effectively.
Newswriting is a fast-paced job with deadlines in a sometimes stressful atmosphere. Newswriters must stay ahead of the general public's knowledge to report "news." The work entails fact checking, interviewing, traveling, creating captivating story lines, research, and providing a human touch. Areas of newswriting include newspapers, magazines, newsletters, and television. Newswriters must be able to work under pressure and on several projects at one time. To become a successful newswriter, you need to be dedicated and thorough, and be able to write quickly.
Editing involves several aspects of English. Editors need strong reading and writing skills and a good foundation in grammar, as well as the ability to make decisions under pressure and feel confident in them. Editors make decisions about the content, organization, and presentation of a writer's work. Editors hold positions in newspapers, magazines, corporations, government agencies, and publishing firms. To be an editor, you should have excellent communication skills (both oral and written), strong interpersonal skills, and a broad educational background.
Writing about history requires research. Critical judgment and investigative skills are needed to research dates, statistics, events, and facts. History writers must have good writing skills and be persistent and attentive to detail and accuracy. Writers can do research for corporations (such as advertising firms), television or print medium reporters, historical societies, and museums.
The skills developed in English courses can help you communicate with clients and target an advertising audience. You must be able to write well and have strong comprehension skills. Advertising involves writing scripts, ads, fact sheets, capability statements, memos, proposals, and progress reports. Advertising writers communicate simply and clearly to the public, often through catchy phrases and slogans. Advertising also allows creativity and mass communication across media. It requires people who are creative, familiar with computers, and aware of society's tastes.
Business administration involves two important skills English majors develop: comprehension and writing. People who make executive decisions need to be knowledgeable about the world around them and their company or agency. To keep ahead, business administrators must read a variety of documents as well as write them. Business administration and management experts need excellent communication skills, and English majors can supplement their skills and prepare for careers in business with additional course work in economics, management, and other areas in business.
Public relations requires strong oral and written communication skills that English majors develop. Writing assignments in public relations include media releases, articles, correspondence, proposals, and progress reports. Journalism and business writing courses are especially helpful for individuals entering this field. Since public relations requires you to be a mediator between the public and your organization, strong oral and written communication skills are important. Public relations attracts people who have creativity and strong writing, comprehension, and problem-solving skills.