$100K Careers That Can Start with an English Major

English majors seem like a lofty lot. They strike non-English majors as the type of people who spend their days debating the merits of Shakespearean plays or reciting poetry while standing on their desks.

In reality, English majors may focus on diverse concentrations, ranging from pop culture to creative writing, and in the process, they may learn a set of skills that are likely to make them invaluable to employers across a number of industries. These skills go beyond the obvious ones of good grammar and include the following:

  • Written and oral communication
  • Analytical and critical thinking
  • Research and organization
  • Persuasive speech

And as English majors learn these skills while analyzing and discussing literature, entertainment and speeches, there is no reason they can’t apply them in their chosen career after graduation.

For those who want to maximize their income, there may be no better place to put those skills to use than in the field of management. The following five management careers may be perfect for English majors to demonstrate their communication, persuasion and organization expertise. The caveat is that because these are management positions, graduates may need to spend some time working in the trenches before getting a six-figure job offer or promotion.

Marketing Manager

Marketing Manager

  • Degree required: Bachelor’s
  • Median income (2017): $129,380
  • Job growth (2016-26): 10%

English majors who have perfected the art of persuasion may find their calling as a marketing manager. These professionals often lead teams to create compelling campaigns that promote a business, product or initiative.

To be effective, marketing managers must be able to understand their audience, evaluate the competition or any obstacles that may stand in the way of their message and formulate strategies to stand out. All are typical specialties of the English major, who has spent years reviewing material, looking for messages and analyzing why it works.

Students who want to prime their education for a career in marketing may want to supplement their English major requirements with courses in business, advertising or journalism. A strong grasp of computer applications and online methods of communication is also helpful for future marketing managers.

Although it’s certainly possible for someone to be hired as a manager right out of school, these professionals are more likely to get their start in a position such as a sales representative, purchasing agent or public relations specialist.

Human Resources Manager

Human Resources Manager

  • Degree required: Bachelor’s
  • Median income (2017): $110,120
  • Job growth (2016-26): 9%

Communication is at the heart of a human resources manager’s job. They identify staffing needs for a company, develop job listings and evaluate potential candidates for employment. In addition, they may be called upon to make recommendations for benefits packages and oversee the distribution of information about workplace perks and programs.

However, their need to communicate effectively doesn’t end there. They often collaborate with a team to work on strategic planning, and in the event of an employee dispute, they may be called in to mediate. Those who are successful in the field typically demonstrate good leadership, organization and speaking skills.

There’s no doubt the written and oral communication skills typically learned by an English major would be valuable in the work of human resources managers. In addition to classes within their English degree program, students may also want to add in coursework in the fields of business, industrial psychology and computer science if they hope to go into the field of human resources.

Prior to entering management, many human resources managers start their career as human resources specialists, labor relations specialists or a similar role.

Training and Development Manager

Training and Development Manager

  • Degree required: Bachelor’s
  • Median income (2017): $108,250
  • Job growth (2016-26): 10%

Another common role in a company or organization’s human resources department is that of the training and development manager. These professionals are usually responsible for training new staff members and ensuring existing employees get the ongoing support they need to do their jobs correctly.

Strong communication and critical-thinking skills are typically essential to this job since business success may depend upon identifying worker needs and implementing appropriate training programs. What’s more, training and development managers often work as part of a larger team to create strategic planning initiatives, and they must be able to work closely and effectively with other people.

The analytical and critical-thinking skills taught in English degree programs can be put to good use in training and development manager positions. However, before they can move into a managerial role, these professionals are often required to gain experience in their field, or they may first work as training and development specialists.

Classes in education, business and information technology can all be helpful for the English student who wants to work in training and development once their degree is complete.

Loss Prevention Manager

Loss Prevention Manager

  • Degree required: Bachelor’s
  • Median income (2017): $105,610
  • Job growth (2016-2026): 9%

It might seem like a stretch to say an English major could be a loss prevention manager, but it’s really not.

Consider what loss prevention managers do: They use critical thinking skills to anticipate security and safety threats and develop systems for reducing business losses. They then must communicate those systems, either orally or in writing, to other members of a team. Finally, they must analyze what works and what doesn’t and make adjustments accordingly.

A degree in English offers the opportunity to learn all these skills and more. However, to rise in the ranks to a managerial position, people may need to spend some time gaining work-related experience in their field or as a loss prevention employee.

As with other positions in management, classes in business, finance and computer science can all be helpful to English majors interested in working in this field.

Regulatory Affairs Manager

Regulatory Affairs Manager

  • Degree required: Bachelor’s
  • Average income (2014): $105,610
  • Job growth (2014-2024): 9%

Regulatory affairs managers have another six-figure job that seems custom-fit for the skills typically learned by an English major.

Often employed by the government or by businesses working with the government, these officials are responsible for ensuring regulations are followed precisely. They must understand what regulatory agencies require and then draft reports, correspondence and other supporting materials to meet those requirements. In some cases, regulatory affairs managers may be the ones determining what information needs to be submitted and then communicating that information to the affected businesses and organizations.

With their days spent reading and writing, regulatory affairs managers must have a firm grasp on the English language. Unless they can communicate information exactly, they may not meet regulatory rules.

Many managers start as regulatory affairs specialists or management analysts although those positions aren’t necessarily required to move into a supervisory position. Classes in government can be useful in preparing for a job in this arena.

English majors have plenty of career options. They can go on to write the great American novel, teach in the English department at a college or work as a journalist or advertising writer. Or they could head into the world of management where these five six-figure jobs may await. Either way, earning a degree in English is likely to give graduates the skills they need to succeed in a variety of careers.

Article Sources


  • “You Actually Learn Some Valuable Skills as an English Major,” Alison Griswold, Business Insider, October 29, 2013, http://www.businessinsider.com/what-you-actually-learn-as-an-english-major-2013-10
  • What does an English major do? University of Buffalo, http://www.buffalo.edu/cas/english/undergraduate-programs/what-do-english-students-do-, accessed October 2018
  • Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers, accessed October 2018
  • Human Resources Managers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, www.bls.gov/ooh/management/human-resources-managers, accessed October 2018
  • Training and Development Managers, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, www.bls.gov/ooh/management/training-and-development-managers, accessed October 2018
  • Loss Prevention Managers, O*Net Online, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-9199.08, accessed October 2018
  • Regulatory Affairs Managers, O*Net Online, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/11-9199.01, accessed October 2018
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