How Much Money Do English Majors Make?

As we mentioned in this recent article, the English major has a PR problem. We all know far too well that there are many misconceptions out there regarding the English major. Unfortunately, many of these misconceptions are held by English majors themselves. Many current students in pursuit of an English degree find themselves committing to the major despite the "fact" that "they won't earn any money" and "won't find a job." (A quick search for "English major" on Twitter alone will shed some light on this popular conclusion.) So, when they do graduate and find a job that involves writing/editing/marketing/publishing/social media/etc., they might feel grateful that they even found a position related to their degree... even if the pay is low (sometimes, horrifyingly low). 

Our English degrees equip us with a long list of skills that are transferable to a variety of careers. But if we don't see the immense value in our own degrees, why should the average employer? Many employers know and take advantage of the fact that they're offering some English majors an opportunity that they never truly expected: a decent paying job doing something related to their degree. (Sure—we know there are exceptions.) Many English majors will happily take those job offers without a second thought. 

Consider your skills. Consider your worth. When you're offered a job, ask for more money (yes, really). Negotiate your salary (seriously). Ask for a raise. But first, research the job market. See what's out there. How much money do English majors make? 


THE FACTS

In this article, you'll find information regarding the income of English majors using data from national organizations and anecdotal data that we have collected from our audience. 

A couple of important notes before we get started:

You can make money with an English degree. (!)

There are jobs for those with English degrees out there, but like any degree in any subject, it can sometimes be a real challenge to find a job. We're not blind to that fact, but hopefully, you will be able to use the information below to empower you in your job search and career. 

Use this information to your advantage. 

When you're researching jobs, negotiating your salary, asking for a raise, and choosing a field to enter, you'll definitely want to educate yourself on wage norms and expectations. 

Now, enough talk. We'll let the following information speak for itself.


NATIONAL DATA

  • According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, in 2014, English majors had an average starting salary of $33,574. 
  • According to Georgetown's Economic Value of College Majors, as of 2013, those with a degree in English language and literature (ages 25-59) make a median annual wage of $53,000.
  • As of May 2014, the national mean annual salary was $47,230 for all occupations regardless of level, according to the United States Department of Labor.
  • According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, in 2014, new college graduates with a bachelor's degree had an average starting salary of $48,127.

The graph below shows data from the May 2014 National Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates report from the Occupational Employment Statistics via the Bureau of Labor Statistics from the United States Department of Labor website. We have focused on common careers for English majors. 

Occupation TitleAnnual mean wage
Adult Basic and Secondary Education and Literacy Teachers and Instructors $52,830
Advertising, Marketing, Promotions, Public Relations, and Sales Managers $127,880
Lawyers, Judges, and Related Workers $129,410
Lawyers and Judicial Law Clerks $131,970
Lawyers $133,470
Paralegals and Legal Assistants $51,840
Court Reporters $55,000
Postsecondary Teachers $75,780
Education and Library Science Teachers, Postsecondary $65,690
Library Science Teachers, Postsecondary $72,440
Arts, Communications, and Humanities Teachers, Postsecondary $71,530
Communications Teachers, Postsecondary $69,230
English Language and Literature Teachers, Postsecondary $68,390
Graduate Teaching Assistants $32,970
Elementary and Middle School Teachers $57,080
Secondary School Teachers $59,180
Librarians, Curators, and Archivists $48,260
Librarians $58,110
Media and Communication Workers $60,490
News Analysts, Reporters and Correspondents $49,360
Reporters and Correspondents $45,800
Writers and Editors $66,990
Editors $64,140
Technical Writers $71,950
Writers and Authors $67,870
Interpreters and Translators $49,320
Proofreaders and Copy Markers $36,990

Created with the HTML Table Generator


DEAR ENGLISH MAJOR DATA

The graph below was created based on a survey we did of English majors from our audience:

DEM_HowMuchDoEnglishMajorsMake_Graph.jpg

Below, we’ve included ALL of the information we received in our income survey.

But first, a few things to consider:

  • Benefits (such as healthcare, retirement, sick days, etc.) are not noted, and can add up to thousands of dollars in value.
  • Years of experience often directly correlate to the amount of money someone is making. Most people who took our survey have less than 10 years of experience.
  • Location is not included. 

Each entry is formatted as follows:

Salary / Hourly rate - Job title / Field

  • Degree title
  • Years of experience / years in current field
  • Any additional comments the person wished to provide

$2,880 per course - Freshman Composition Instructor

  • Master of Arts English and African American Literature
  • 5 years

$8.50/hour - Teacher’s Assistant

  • English literature
  • 1 year
  • “I work for a non-profit childcare center. I wasn't able to negotiate my wages and my hours are atrocious.”

$15,000 - Teacher - High School Latin

  • Bachelor of Arts in English Literature (Louisiana State University)
  • 2 years

$15,000 - Graduate Teaching Assistant

  • Masters from NYU
  • “I'm a PhD student. When I was adjuncting for the past 5 years up until a few weeks ago and working 4 different jobs a year, I made between 30k-40k every year. I am hoping once I complete my PhD to be able to have *one* job and make at least as much if not more than I made as an adjunct. The job placement for my current program is very good—even if the $ offered via the assistantship isn't much to write home about. We *did* just get a raise from 12k to 15k!”

$16,000 - Public Librarian

  • B.A. In English

$16,000 - Doctoral Fellow

  • Master's in English
  • 10 years
  • “I am a graduate student working on a doctorate in English, and I have lived well below the federal poverty line ever since I graduated with my B. A. in English in 2005, 10 years ago. While I understand that a Ph. D. in English ultimately increases my earning potential, I believe it's important to emphasize viable career routes outside of the academy. "Post-ac" is a buzzword for this kind of work outside of the academy; there's also "alt-ac," referring to "alternative" academic employment that doesn't necessarily end with the position of a tenured professor. "Alt-ac" usually refers to academic publishing, administration, accreditation, or other such work that supports the academy without entailing scholarship or teaching. I choose to remain in the academy because I believe that, as a future adviser of other English majors, it's important for me to spread the message that English majors aren't bound to an academic life, and I stay tuned to your site in order to educate myself in these alternate paths.”

$16,000 for 10 months - Public Ally, Nonprofit Sector

  • Bachelor of Arts in English from Presbyterian College
  • “Public Allies is an AmeriCorps program that places their Allies in partner nonprofits to work on capacity building within the organization. I was placed with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and will start later this week. Every Public Ally receives the same stipend, regardless of prior experience or placement organization. It's a great program for English Majors because one of the main requirements is the ability to communicate with your organization as well as the broader community.”

$8.70/hour - Barista/Proofreader

  • English
  • 3 years
  • “I have two part time, dead end jobs. (Yes, even my job as a proofreader is dead end.) I graduated a year and a half ago, and I'm considering going to grad school, even though I really don't want to, so I can actually find a job in my field.”

$9.50/hour - Customer Service, Box Office

  • BA English, Liberty University
  • 5 years
  • “I work for a non profit seasonal. I have yet to find a full time position, but every position I have temporarily worked for complains that no one knows how to write or communicate, but isn't interested in seriously hiring English majors. Thank you STEM curriculum for having people turn their backs to us."

$10.00/hour - PE Teacher/Media Specialist

  • English
  • Less than 1
  • “My situation is certainly not the norm. My plan was to be in film school right now, but I couldn't afford it. The two jobs I have now were the only offers I got.”

$20,000 (max $2400 per class, with 3-5 classes per semester) - Adjunct English Instructor

  • BS in Religion & English minor, MA in Theological Studies
  • 4 years
  • “Not technically an English major, I was an English minor in undergrad and took creative writing classes as part of my MA program in theology. I teach English composition at a community college and a regional campus for a large state university in small Midwest town.”

$21,000 - Administrative Assistant, Manufacturing

  • Bachelor's Degree in English from Missouri Southern State University
  • 10 years
  • “I live in a place where the cost of living is one of the lowest in the nation and actively observed minimum wage is less than $8. I also have paid health insurance for myself AND my spouse. This helps make my very very low wage seem doable.”

$10.50/hour - Assistant Manager at a Restaurant

  • BA English
  • 2 years

$22,000 - Journalist

  • MA Modern Thought and Literature, Stanford
  • 3 years

$22,500 - Reporter

  • Bachelor of Arts in English, professional writing concentration
  • 2 months experience in current field
  • “I work for a newspaper in a small town and mostly rural community.”

$11.00/hour - Content editor/reviewer

  • Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Delaware
  • 1 year
  • “I am currently a freelance contractor for Study.com, a major educational website that provides high school students and other individuals with information about different academic majors, careers, and colleges and universities. The site also offers online learning for those who need extra help in certain subjects or are just interested in expanding their education. Since I am a recent graduate from the University of Delaware, my career is only beginning and I have not made enough money to sustain myself yet. However, I feel very grateful that the work I am doing helps high school students and people of all ages find out what they want to do with their lives. I would not be able to that at the level that I do if I had majored in a different field.”

$23,000 - Administrative Assistant

  • B.A. in English
  • 2 years
  • “I took this job after a devastating break-up just to support myself. But, it sucks. Double major in something practical if you still can!”

$23,000 - Copywriter/Content Coordinator - Magazine Retail/Home Decor

  • B.A. in English from The University of Maine
  • Less than 1 year
  • “I work for a New England/Maine company that sells home decor nationwide, and am the only Copywriter/Content producer, so in my own department/in charge of myself (just under the head of the company). It's quite difficult to get a job position like this in Maine (the company is located in Portland) especially if you don't want to write in a journalistic style or for a newspaper.”

$23,000 - Part Time Instructor

  • MFA
  • 20 years
  • “I work for Penn State.”

$23,000 - Marketing Associate - Retail

  • Bachelor of Arts in English - Lake Erie College
  • 11 years
  • “I work in the job I took to make my way through college. Although I believe an English degree can be useful in pursuing many different types of jobs, no one seems to be willing to give a job (one that would lead to a career) without experience, hence I am still working my retail position.”

$11.72/hour - Supplemental Leader (Teaching Assistant) for Freshman Composition I

  • English - Tech Comm track. UCF.
  • 3 years experience in current field
  • “I hold an English B.A. and I work for a local college. There is no wage negotiation at for non-managers. Max hours are 25 per week for part-time positions like mine. English SLs get 7 hours for one class, and 6 hours for every other class, per week; I have one class this semester.”

$24,000 - Program Coordinator

  • English
  • Less than 1 year

$24,000 - Senior Dining Coordinator @ Non-profit

  • Bachelor's of the Arts in English and Sociology
  • 2 years

$25,000 Adjunct Professor; 5 classes taught

  • Bachelor's and Master's in English
  • 2 years
  • “This is the norm for adjunct professors. You have to piece together your yearly salary by teaching a lot of first and second year composition classes, and you're lucky if you get 5. If you're set on being a professor, and you want to make decent money, get a PhD. Adjunct professors do not get benefits either. You make more money with a Master's degree in English as a high school teacher—really.”

$12.00/hour - Administrative Support Specialist for Marketing Dept. at Woolrich, Inc. (wool mill and outdoor apparel)

  • Lock Haven University - BA in English, writing concentration
  • With Woolrich for 4 years; full-time three days after I graduated (May 2015)
  • “I do FAR more than most with my title. I help with data entry, analytics, design, catalog proofing, work with imagery and our photo studio—I wear many hats! The job opportunity came because my hard work as a sales associate was noticed, nurtured, and harvested. Woolrich has been around since 1830. We've got a global market and impact, but our staff is currently several hundred people total. To that end, even though my title sounds menial, I frequently work with our President and Executive Board, so I have lots of opportunities. I also continue to write for our employee newsletter and plan to continue helping out at my former college with writing projects, like our student-run newspaper.”

$12/hour - Quality Assurance Expert/Customer Service

  • BA English with emphasis in literature
  • 8 years
  • “I don't know if this is the norm. My degree was under appreciated when researching for work but I have to pay the bills somehow.”

$12.30/hour - Emergency Dispatcher

  • BA in English with emphasis in Creative Writing
  • 6 years

$12.50/hour - Freelance Writer

  • Less than 1 year
  • BA English

$12.90/hour - Public School English Teacher

  • BA English, MEd Education
  • 10 years
  • “I went into teaching thinking I would do it until I could get a better job, believing teaching gave me relevant experience that could translate to other similar positions. I have found I was wrong. I have tried unsuccessfully for years to transition out of the classroom. People in the business world do not have the opinion that teachers have skills they are looking for, and my English degree seems less and less relevant to teaching as each year passes. If you can't commit to a career as a teacher, don't ever start.”

$28,000 - Department Lead, Retail Store

  • English, Bachelor of Arts, completed in 2011
  • 2 years

$29,000 - Customer Service Representative

  • Bachelor of Arts at the University of Virginia (English)
  • 2 years experience in current field
  • “My degree was disrespected to the degree that I was told that I wasn't paid to think, that thinking was above my pay grade. Since then, I have quit and am now attending law school. I think my background has definitely given me an edge there.”

$14.00/hour - Office Manager at a CPA firm

  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • 2.5 years
  • “I work for a small corporation. I handle the communications between the company and our clients. My salary was raised a few months before I graduated.”

$14.18/hour - Librarian Assistant 3

  • Master's in Arts in English with a concentration on Fabtasy and Science Fiction Literature
  • 1 year
  • “Mine is a county job in south Florida.”

$14.65/hour - Adult Literacy Coordinator, Library

  • Master of Arts in English from Colorado State University-Pueblo
  • 8 months
  • “I work for a local public library system. My current wage is entry level for my position level (Library Coordinator). I gained this position before completing my masters. Libraries tend to offer compensation that is lower than what one might make in the public sector. But, my wage is the same as other library coordinators within our district but higher than other districts throughout my state. I also work as a part time press writer for a local non-profit organization that supports the local arts @ $450/month.”

$14.75/hour - High School English Teacher

  • B. A. English
  • 4 years
  • “I also design English curriculum for an online store, which brings me between $500 to $950 extra each month.”

$15/hour - Substitute teacher

  • English Secondary Education
  • 5 years
  • “Public school English teacher positions are few and far between. I have been subbing since graduating with my BA in 2008 and have struggled to find a full time position in any Profession. The response I get is I'm either too qualified (I have an MA) or that my degrees have no correlation to the position. I'm interested to know where English majors find work, and how.”

$15.00/hour - Administrative Assistant

  • Bachelor of Arts with a Major in English from the University of North Dakota
  • “I worked as student employee for over two years and just graduated college. I work for a hospital. I know many people with a variety of Bachelor degrees - from Biology to Marketing - who work in Secretarial positions.”

$15.00/hour - Solutions Coordinator - Online Retail

  • Bachelor's of Arts in English
  • 2 years

$30,000 - Director of Outdoor School/ESL Instructor

  • Master of Arts - English: Teaching English as a Second Language
  • 2 years

$30,000 - Copywriter in Real Estate Marketing

  • English Language, Writing, & Rhetoric
  • 6 months
  • “I work for a small company and am the only full-time in-house copywriter and don't have health benefits, but the company culture and my job more than makes up for the financial aspect.”

$30,000 - Teacher/Counselor

  • English, Literature Option
  • 6 months
  • “Worked a minimum wage job for ten years before this."

$31,000 - Assistant Sales Manager in Retail

  • Bachelors of Arts - English
  • 2-3 years
  • “I have been in my field since I was in school, with my current company for 3 months. I was found on LinkedIn by the District Manager for a larger retail corporation than the one I was currently employed by and offered a much higher paying position (though the title of my job didn't change when switching companies.)”

$31,500 - Publishing, Production Editor

  • Bachelor's degree in English, College of Charleston
  • Less than 1
  • “I work for a publisher of local history books, and I feel lucky to be where I am. Definitely ask for more than your first instinct tells you, even if you don't necessarily have the experience. It can be a good thing, as you don't have bad habits to unlearn.”

$13.00/hour - Medical Receptionist

  • English - B.A., College of the Ozarks
  • 1.5 years

$32,000 - Local Marketing Support Representative (Marketing/Media)

  • Media Writing (Combination of Creative Writing/Media @ Ohio University)
  • Less than 1 year
  • “Recent graduate, fairly large company (three offices around 600 employees) created own major mixed English/Creative Writing and Media Studies, salary range given was $30,000-40,000 and got $32,000.”

$32,000 - Academic Program Specialist English

  • Master of Humanities with a Concentration in English
  • 2 years
  • “I work at a pre-eminent state university in Florida.”

$32,000 - HR & Operations Assistant @ Non-profit

  • BA in English from Texas Lutheran University
  • 2 years

$32,000 - Copywriter

  • Bachelor of Arts in English with a Writing Emphasis
  • 1 month
  • “I have never had experience in this field or in an English related field, save for my college education. I was offered this job writing copy for a health food and supplements company based on a writing analysis. I did not negotiate for my salary; it was the first offer.”

$15.50/hour - Assistant Librarian

  • Bachelors of English
  • Less than 1 year
  • “The librarian circle is very small and tight-knit. Once you know one, you have access to an entire network. The hard part is breaking into the circle.”

$33,000 - Licensed Insurance Representative for State Farm

  • Bachelors of Art - English Literature
  • 1 year

$33,000 - High School English Teacher

  • BA English
  • 4 years
  • “I work overseas as an international educator.”

$16.00/hour - Library Aide, Adult Literacy coordinator/Book Mobile

  • BA English, Sacramento State
  • 10 years
  • “I work in an extremely poor city for an extremely poor library system.”

$34,500 - Assistant Editor; educational publishing

  • Bachelor's of Arts in English Language and Literature
  • 1 year
  • “The company I work for is a bit smaller. There around about 300 employees in our home offices and about 200 sales people throughout various countries.”

$34,000 - Prevention Specialist  in Higher Education

  • Bachelors of Arts, Austin College
  • 3 years
  • “I work for a state university. I also have my M. Ed in Higher Education Administration.”

$16.75/hour - Social Worker

  • Bachelors of the Arts in English Literature Binghamton university
  • 5 years
  • “This is the norm for social workers. I didn't plan on being a social worker but I don't feel like anyone pays attention to English Degrees on resumes. I wanted to teach elementary school but with so many budget cuts it wasn't a sure bet to get my masters in that either.”

$35,000 - Environmental/Business

  • Gonzaga University, Bachelor of Arts in English, Creative Writing
  • 1 year
  • “I work for a budding solar company and was promoted within a year of working there. I attribute this to my degree because of the various communicative channels I used as an undergrad. Not only am I eloquent in the way that I write, I am also an exceptional verbal communicator.”

$35,000 - Senior Editor, magazine publishing

  • Bachelor of English, writing emphasis
  • 2 years

$35,000 - Digital Ad Operations

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • Less than 1 year
  • “A starting wage right out of school w/ no experience. A non-creative role, though my degree definitely helped me get my position.”

$17.00/hour - Proofreader. Insurance.

  • B.A. in English Literature
  • 1 year
  • “I work for a large corporation.”

$36,000 - Project Assistant at a law firm in Chicago

  • English; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Less than 6 months
  • “I work for a small law firm in Chicago and didn't negotiate my salary enough. It was the first time I had been given the opportunity to suggest a salary in an interview, and I low-balled myself by saying 17-18 dollars per hour -- my salary equates to something like $17.33/hour.”

$36,000 - English Teacher (Middle School)

  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • 2 years

$36,500 - Production Assistant, Publishing

  • English (Penn State University)
  • 1.5 years
  • “I feel incredibly fortunate to have landed what is pretty much my dream job in only a little over a year after graduation. My salary is pretty much the norm for my field, but the age range for others with similar titles at a small university press will vary widely.”

$18/hour - Production Assistant for Theatre and Dance department at a university. I work in marketing.

  • Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing, Pacific University
  • 1 year
  • “I work for a small, private liberal arts university. I actually hold two part time positions for the same university in different departments. It did take me a year to find this level of work.”

$18/hour - Executive Assistant; financial

  • BA English ECSU
  • 1.5 years

$18.00/hour - Healthcare Staffing Coordinator

  • Honors in English Literature
  • 4 years

$37,000 - PR Coordinator. Mobile Gaming.

  • Bachelor of Arts, English (UC Berkeley)
  • 2.5 (6 months unpaid at a fashion PR agency, 6 months paid at a global PR agency w/ video game client, 1.5 years doing in-house PR for mobile games company)
  • “Entry-level/associate level at my paid internship was $36,000 so my salary is pretty standard for PR in general. However, it might skew low in terms of in-house PR, but that's because most in-house PR is at a manager level.”

$37,000 - Service Manager - Restaurant/Hospitality

  • Bachelor of Arts - English - WKU
  • 3 years
  • “I started as a server! My critical thinking skills and other capabilities helped me advance. Because I work for a franchise, my job description is more fluid and also pertains to marketing, which I would not have been able to attain in a corporate-run restaurant.”

$37,500 - Writing Program Director and Instructor of Composition, higher education

  • Master's of Art:English
  • 4 years

$37,740 - Assistant Director of the Center for Integrated Learning at Earlham College. (Higher Ed)

  • Master of Arts in English
  • 1.5 years

$38,000 - Director of Education - Educational Business

  • Bachelor's of English
  • 1 year
  • “I work for a large, national corporation in Educational Business. I began working for them as a part-time tutor 3 years ago until I was recommended to take over the Director of Education role. I did not negotiate my salary.”

$38,000 - English Teacher

  • English Education
  • 2 years

$38,000 - Business Instructor at an online college

  • San Jose state. English: Career Writing
  • 1 year

$38,000 - Business Liaison and International Credential Evaluator - Business/Management/Communications

  • Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Tennessee at Martin
  • 1 year
  • “My situation is quite unusual. I work for a small but rapidly growing department at the National Association of the State Boards of Accountancy. I started out in customer service and quickly advanced into credential evaluation. The evaluation job essentially consisted of reviewing and researching international education systems and creating reports dictating the international education and the U.S. equivalence. I recently received a promotion to the Business Liaison, which is a newly created position resulting from the astronomical growth our department has felt in the last year. There are multiple teams within the department, and they communicate with state boards, universities, and various internal and external stakeholders. My job is to coordinate and manage all the projects going on with the different team members, and make sure all projects, budgets, and other changeable elements are on time and in order. The job is different every day, and is expected to grow into a more stable management position within the department.”

$19/hour - Communication Specialist - Water industry

  • Bachelors in English Language and Literature minor in Business Administration
  • 1 year

$39,000 - Report Typist for an accounting firm

  • Bachelor of Arts - English - Creative Writing Emphasis
  • 1 year
  • “Not a huge corporation, about 3000 employees nationwide. Job includes proofreading (2% of job) as well as formatting (98% of job) documents for clients. Extremely detail oriented work.”

$39,000 - Middle School Teacher, Education

  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • 1 year

$39,000 - Quality Control Technical Editor - Military Aeronautics, Technical Publications

  • English, Bachelor of Arts - Kennesaw State University
  • 1 year
  • “I work as a subcontractor for a major aeronautics company. Very little room for salary negotiation as the pay scale is predetermined by the government's contracting agreement. Technical editing is not necessarily the field that I was interested in during college but I have been very successful in moving up within my group and within my company. I expect to work for 2-5 years in this field in order to have enough experience for future corporate writing/editing endeavors.”

$40,000 - Manager; Grants & Foundation funding for a nonprofit

  • B.A. in English from TAMU-Commerce
  • 1 year
  • “I was making 65k at a big corporation as a content writer but took a pay cut to find more fulfilling work.”

$40,000 - Faculty education

  • MA English language and literature
  • 5 years

$40,000 - Digital Production, Publishing

  • BA in English; MA in Publishing
  • 2 years experience in current field
  • “I work for a large university press. Academic publishing, unless you work for a giant such as Pearson or Cengage, tends to be low-paying across all departments. I negotiated my current salary based on counter-offer from another company; I was initially offered 35,000.”

$40,100 - Non profit program coordinator

  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • 6 years

$40,889 - Automated Publishing Technician

  • BA in English
  • 1 year
  • “I work for the government and my degree helps out a lot when it comes to writing certain documents in the office and looking for grammar errors in certain publications and documents.”

$41,000 - English teacher

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • 1 year
  • “I also have a teaching credential, and am contracted annually.”

$41,000 - Instructor/ Learning Resource Center Assistant

  • English
  • 8 years

$41,600 - Membership Manager for a professional association

  • B.A. English Literature
  • 4 years

$42,000 - Project Manager, Marketing

  • English (University of Texas at Austin)
  • 1 year
  • “I work for a small (15-person) dental marketing company. I started as a copywriter at $38,000, but was promoted to project manager after 10 months and received a raise. Our current copywriter makes significantly more than I did starting out (and than I currently make), but he has prior experience in the field.”

$42,000 - Web Optimization, Technology

  • English Education + Language/Literature Studies
  • 1 year
  • “I work for a company that contracts with Google. I also studied French which helped immensely to get this position. I worked as a contractor for roughly a year before signing on full time in April 2015.”

$42,000 - Project Coordinator, IT

  • Bachelor of Arts, English Literature
  • 1.5 years experience in current field

$42,000 - Copywriter

  • English Literature, University of California Berkeley
  • Less than 1 year
  • “Network!! It's all about who you know and following up.”

$42,000 - Higher Education

  • MA English language and Literature
  • 5 years

$20.00/hour - Technical Writer

  • B.A. English: Professional Writing
  • 1 year
  • “I work for a smaller company. I do graphic design work on the side, making an additional $400 a month. My salary seems toward the lower end of average for my area and English major friends.”

$20.39/hour - Timekeeper - Health Care

  • BA in English - University of Akron
  • 11 years
  • “I work for the Cleveland Clinic - one of the top hospitals in the country. Although I'm not utilizing my English degree (other than sending frequent e-mails throughout the day), I believe my degree helped me get my foot in the door. I would still love to work in some capacity in a more Englisj related field, but it's currently not in the cards.”

$42,500 - Marketing Coordinator

  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • 18 months
  • “I left my previous job that I had gotten with no experience as an Internet Marketer - starting salary 32k and a raise to 38k at my one year. Both are small businesses. In both positions, I did not negotiate for salary.”

$42,600 - Program Analyst

  • English Literature, University of Washington
  • 1 year
  • “I work in state government, and while my English degree is for sure helpful, I would have even gotten my foot in the door as an administrative assistant without also having two masters degrees :( I'm still early in my career in government and am in my 40s!”

$43,000 - Coordinator at a non-profit

  • B.A. in English from UC Berkeley. M.A. in English from Cornell
  • 6 years experience in current field

$21/hour - Customer Operations Associate

  • Master's degree in English from Texas Woman's University
  • Less than 1 year
  • “I changed from poverty level university adjunct teaching to comfortable entry level corporate work. I miss teaching but I love being able to afford to eat.”

$44,000 - Associate Technical Writer

  • Bachelor of Arts - English Literature
  • 5 months experience in current field
  • “I feel like I lucked out with a company that treats its employees really well. They actually offered me a higher salary than I asked for. I originally wasn't going to apply for any technical writing jobs, but I couldn't pass up an opportunity to work for such a great company.”

$44,513 - Associate University Librarian

  • Bachelor of Arts in English (and a Master of Science in Library Science)
  • 8 years
  • “I work for an academic library at a state university. I was given the opportunity to negotiate a bit for my beginning salary, which is about the norm in my state for academic librarians at my level, I believe.”

$44,000 - Project Manager, English Higher Ed. Educational Publishing

  • BA in English, Dickinson College
  • 5 years
  • “I started as an Editorial Assistant in NYC at $32,620 in 2010. I think this was on the high side for the industry. My promotion to Project Manger included a 10% pay raise and access to the company bonus program (my current bonus goal is $4,000).”

$44,000 - Associate Editor, greeting cards

  • English, creative writing, BA, University of Kansas
  • 2 months
  • “I work at one of the main greeting card corporations. My salary was the base salary offered. I have the potential for advancement in a variety of positions.”

$45,000 - Community Coordinator, marketing and e-learning industry

  • B.A. English
  • 1 year
  • “I work for a growing start-up company, and this was my starting salary along with a 10% bonus each quarter dependent on if my company reached our quarter goals. In a month, the 10% bonus will no longer be in effect with my salary, but I will be receiving a bonus for working at the company for one year along with a 10% increase in my current salary.”

$45,000 - Restaurant Manager

  • UGA Bachelors of Arts in English
  • 10 years

$45,000 - Professor

  • Ph.D.
  • 11 years experience in current field

$46,000 - High School English Teacher

  • Bachelor of Arts with a major in English
  • 9 years

$46,000 - Teacher

  • BS English Education - Ball State University
  • 9 years

$46,100 - Digital Web Consultant / Online Marketing

  • Creative Writing, Texas A&M University
  • 2 years
  • “For my first full-time job out of college, I worked at a medium size business doing online data entry making $13 an hour. I heard it was easy to transfer into the copywriting department from there, where I would do social media, SEO analytics, blogs, web content, and press releases. 6 months later, I was able to transfer. I worked as a copywriter for $14 an hour for a year, then I got promoted to Lead Copywriter and got bumped up to $18.50. 6 months after that, I landed my current job, where I make 46.1K a year. I busted my butt for it.”

$47,000 - High School English Teacher

  • University of La Verne Bachelors Degree in English with a Single subject Teaching Credential in English
  • 1 year
  • “I work for a public school. Teachers are paid on a pay scale that gives you raises based on how much education you have and how long you have been teaching.”

$24/hour - Copy editor/Page designer (Journalism/Newspapers)

  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • 16 years experience in current field

$49,000 - 9th grade English I Teacher

  • BA in English, concentration in Creative Writing. Second BA in Theatre Arts.
  • 2 years

$49,000 - Business Services Specialist

  • English literature
  • 1 year
  • “First year in a big corporation.”

$49,000 - Educational Technologist (Higher Ed)

  • Bachelors in English, Western Kentucky University
  • 3 (kind of. Teaching lead me here, and that was 7 years)
  • “I work at Ohio State University. When teaching, I made $25-33k annually. Doing instructional design and Ed tech had been a big financial change.”

$50,000 - Writing Teacher

  • BA
  • 1 year

$50,000 - Digital Marketing Manager

  • English -Literature & Creative Writing
  • 2 years experience in current field

$50,000 - Production Editor in Trade Publishing

  • BA in Creative Writing, MA in Publishing
  • 4 months in trade publishing, 3 years in publishing in general (was in educational publishing for about 2.5 years)
  • “I work for a major trade publishing company and lucked into my job in that they hired me even though I had relatively little trade publishing work experience. My position is not entry-level. I did my entry-level work in educational publishing, where the pay is higher than entry-level trade positions. But it seems like very few people are able to jump into trade publishing at a level higher than entry-level.”

$50,000 - Teacher

  • BA on Literature - University of Houston Clear Lake
  • 2 years

$50,000 - Vice President of Client Services. Advertising

  • BA English, Mississippi College
  • 3 years
  • “I work for a small business, and my situation is definitely not the norm. I was essentially hired to help with project coordination, and I took the opportunity to learn about the industry and the company. A few raises and promotions later, and now I'm the senior employee, not including the owner/president. We've also begun a small publishing company (focusing on magazines), and now I'm regularly able to concentrate on writing, editing, and managing freelance writers. It's nearly an ideal job!”

$50,000 - Classroom Integration Developer; Higher Ed

  • MS in Book Publishing
  • Less than 1 year

$50,000 - Secondary Teacher

  • B.A. English Language and Literature, University of Washington
  • 1 year

$50,000 - Youth Development Director @ Non-profit

  • BA in English
  • 2 years

$51,000 - Community Outreach

  • English (Westminster College)
  • 6 years
  • “I also get $20,000 per year in benefits.”

$52,080 - Senior Revenue Agent with Washington State Department of Revenue

  • BA in English Literature from Pacific Lutheran University
  • 3 years

$53,000 - High School English Teacher

  • B.A. in English from U.T. Austin
  • 15 years

$53,000 - Technical Writer/Editor

  • Master of Arts in Technical and Expository Writing
  • 8 years
  • “I work for the federal government and have had no opportunity to negotiate but have received consistent within-grade increases each year due to acceptable performance. I even got a small bonus this year for the first time.”

$53,000 - Teacher

  • BA English, M.Ed. English Education, Ed.S. Curriculum and Instruction
  • 8 years

$53,000 - English Teacher

  • University of Maryland, BA in English; MEd
  • 6 years
  • “Public school system in Maryland. Because of budget cuts, we're about 2 steps behind our pay grade.”

$54,000 - Communications Specialist for Advancement

  • M.A English Literature
  • I've been in my current job for almost a year. I have been working for about 4-5 years in a professional writer environment.
  • “I work in marketing/alumni relations at a local university.”

$54,600 - Associate Director of Admission Field: Higher Education

  • BA in English
  • 15 years

$55,000 - Higher Education

  • B.S. and M.A. in English.
  • 2 years

$55,000 - Higher Education / Marketing

  • BA English / MBA
  • 7 years

$55,000 - Event Coordinator, Hospitality (Restaurant)

  • BA, English (Texas A&M University)
  • Less than 1 year
  • “Small, privately-owned restaurant chain in Houston, TX. Salary is based on a $45K base plus commission.”

$55,000-$60,000/year - Sole Proprietor (graphic design and editing services)

  • BA in English, literature and professional writing tracks, Virginia Tech
  • 5 years
  • “My first 3 1/5 years out of college, I was a production editor for a small book publisher where I went from $33,000 to $41,000. I began working on B2G proposals and desktop publishing work on the side, and realized I could make more money as a freelancer. I also have a background in graphic design, so I do graphic services as well under the same freelancing pseudonym.”

$55,389 - Teacher

  • English-Creative Writing
  • 6 years
  • “Teacher pay in Texas is based on experience. Our school does not participate in merit pay, so my students' standardized test scores do not earn me any bonuses. We can earn more if we teach in the summer. I believe our salary is higher than the overall state average. School finance is a big controversy right now, so many teachers have gone several years without raises and saw paychecks diminish due to rising healthcare costs.”

$60,000 - Digital Content Manager

  • 5 years experience in current field
  • Bachelor of Arts in English & Master of Arts in English
  • “[I] work for a large state university in Kentucky.”

$60,000 - Digital Marketing Specialist

  • Bachelor of Arts in English
  • 1 year

$60,000 - High School Teacher

  • BA in English and MA in English and teaching credential
  • 2 years

$60,000 - Admissions Representative

  • BA in English, CSUF
  • 1 year in the business 15 years started as a rep then director now rep again
  • “Small for profit college. I have a Masters in Education too. Couldn't find work in management. I was a Director of Admissions now a rep again at $60K.”

$61,000 - Director of Information Systems (IT)

  • BA English
  • 5 years

$61,000 - "Research Program Officer" in the field of Research Administration

  • Master of Arts in English Composition and Communication
  • 5 years
  • “My full-time job is in the research office of a large university. I was hired based on my experience as a grant writer. I also earn additional income as a freelance writer (about $5,000 - $15,000 per year) and as a used book seller on Amazon (less than $1,000 per year). So English, particularly the development of my writing skills, has paid off and provided three income streams.”

$30-50/hour - Editor (publishing), Copywriter (travel)

  • English Literature, UW-Madison
  • 7 years
  • “I am a freelancer for multiple agencies. I have a few of my own clients and projects as well. I travel as I work. I've lived abroad for about six years while working 100 percent remotely.”

$64,000 - Professor of English

  • Masters-English (Rhetoric)
  • 9 years
  • “I work for a community college. If I would have known then what I know now, I definitely would have gotten more certificates and a phd. Those are huge bump ups on the pay scale. Get them while you're young and motivated!”

$65,000 - Senior Intake & Communication Specialist

  • Bachelor of arts degree in English
  • 7 years
  • “Bank - financial services; technology. Located in Toronto.”

$65,000 - Content Strategist @ an Ad Agency

  • English, Tufts University
  • 1 year
  • “Work for a large ad agency. Was offered starting salary of 55k. Successfully negotiated to 60k. Promoted after a year and increased to 65k.”

$65,000 - Operations Manager, Retail Management

  • English literature
  • 13 years

$65,000 - Associate Director of ESL DEPT.

  • Undergrad: English, Grad: ESL
  • 23 years
  • “I work at a University in NY.”

$65,700 - Senior Technical Writer, Johns Hopkins Healthcare

  • Bachelor of Arts, English - Bowie State University and Master of Science, Professional Writing - Towson University
  • 10 years
  • “My advice to English majors is to always pursue an advance degree. You'd be suprises how many doors the extra education opens up for you. Most CEOs aren't grammar fanatics but they always have someone on their team that is and can keep them sounding smart.”

$67,000 - Supply Chain Manager / Aerospace

  • English Literature, University of Nevada Reno
  • 6 years
  • “I work for a small business with about 20 employees. My first job out of college was as a technical writer, and through that I learned project coordination and later supply chain management. I will be finishing an MBA program this year.”

$68,000 - Senior Executive Secretary, Education

  • Bachelor of Arts, English, California State University, Fullerton
  • 3 years
  • “I work in the Superintendent's Office in one of the largest school districts in California.”

$33.15/hour - Human Resources Analyst

  • English Language and Literature
  • 4 years
  • “I work for a municipality with a workforce of about 480 full-time employees. I started as clerical support staff and was recently promoted to Analyst this year. Many people don't think about public sector employment when looking for a career, but it's great. You won't get rich working in government, but you can't beat the benefits. My degree in English has helped me write policies, interpret policies and procedures, as well as give me a different take on things that my coworkers who majored in Business can't relate to.”

$70,000 - Dual Credit Instructor

  • Master of Arts Literature
  • 9 years
  • “My situation is not the norm, but I teach dual credit literature in a midsized school district and receive a salary from both the high school and college.”

$70,000 - Technical Writer

  • English
  • 2 years
  • “I work for a large corporation. I don't love my job, but it's good money. And I get to write (although most of my writing is about things I don't care about) My real love (creative writing and reading) I do on evenings and weekends.”

$73,500 - Technical Writer. Oil and Gas industry

  • English Literature from Oklahoma State Univ.
  • 10 years
  • “I have been tech writing since I got out of college. I make a very decent salary now but I have had to work very hard to prove that I am worth the salary that I am asking for when I have job hunted in the past. It always turns out that people are thankful to have a writer on staff after a small amount of time. The job that gave me the biggest raise was doing civilian contract writing for the Dept. of Defense.”

$75,000 - English Language Arts Teacher

  • MA English/rhetoric and composition
  • 9 years
  • “I work for a small school district in LA county.”

$90,000 - Financial Analyst

  • English literature - Montana state university
  • 3 years

$90,000 - Account Executive (Sales)

  • English Literature
  • 15 years
  • “Corporation - I'm paid on commissions only!”

$92,000 - Digital Research Manager

  • BA English, Graduate degree in Business
  • 6 years

$100,000 - Chief Development Officer

  • BA in English
  • 30 years
  • “I've been doing my job a very long time, mostly because I'm getting old! Back when I was in college I had many people tell me that I should get a degree in computer science or business or accounting for security. All of those degrees sounded so boring to me. I went with English, writing papers about Chaucer and Toni Morrison, though mostly not together. When I graduated I got a secretarial job, and then about two years later I found myself working for a nonprofit. The pay was lower than it had been at my secretarial job, but they were willing to allow me to use my writing skills (although not willing to compensate me for my writing skills). So I stayed with them, built up a portfolio of writing samples and started moving from job to job, up the ladder gradually. I hit a few points where I switched jobs because I was unhappy and therefore made a lateral move, but mostly I've been on a slow climb up. I don't always love what I do, but I do like that in my career path I have generally increased my pay and responsibility. I make a good living (or at least good enough for my needs). I work in an expanding field, I get generous vacation and benefits. I also am vested in two traditional retirement programs. I have friends who went the corporate route, some made a lot of money early but now that we are in the last phase of our careers (I assume that I will retire in the next 15 years), I find that in some ways I am in a better financial position than some of my more corporate friends due to generous retirement benefits at two of the larger nonprofits that I worked for. And being able to take complex ideas and describe them in a way that many people can understand is a big part of what makes me good at my job. Thanks, English degree!”

$50/hour - Editor/Publishing

  • Bachelor of Arts
  • 8 years
  • “I freelance so my income fluctuates quite a bit.”

$110,000 - Property Manager in Real Estate

  • Bachelor of Arts - English. Florida state
  • 5 years

$111,000 - Communications Manager, Retail Industry

  • B.A. English, Eastern Illinois University
  • 9 years
  • “I work for a huge corporation.”

$142,000 - HR Business Partner

  • BA, English Literature
  • 18 years

$150,000 - Lawyer

  • BA -Theatre & English (Whittier College), MA-English Literature (DePaul University), JD (DePaul University)
  • 5 years
  • “Majoring in English is a good start, but I definitely wouldn't rely on it being the final goal. I'd couple it with plans for graduate school or a second major.”

$225,000 - President/Education

  • B.A., M.A., Ph.D., all in English
  • 25 years experience in current field
  • “Typical academic track--faculty, chair, dean, VPAA, president.”

$385,000 - Community Health Educator in Healthcare

  • BA in English Literature
  • 6 years
  • “I work for a fortune 100 company and went into social work after college.”



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Posted on September 13, 2015 and filed under Articles, Featured Articles, Job Search Resources.