English Masters Degree: Salary and Career Facts

Find out about the types of jobs you could pursue with a master's degree in English. Read on to learn more about career options along with salary and job growth information. Schools offering English Language & Literature degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kind of Careers Are Available with a Master's in English?

English is that rare subject in America's schools that requires course work every year you are in school. From kindergarten to senior year you will be in an English class. Teachers of English have a variety of coursework they need to master and with a master's degree in the subject they can become experts in different areas like editing for a company or a book publisher. Or maybe they have an outside interest that can help them become a technical writer through which they can create original work filling a company's needs. Or possibly they wish to teach at a secondary school where they will create lesson plans and present those classroom lessons.

Earning a master's degree in English can improve your writing, editing and interpersonal communication skills and qualify you for a variety of careers in education and business. Learn about various career options by reviewing the following table of information.

High School Teacher Technical Writer Editor
Education Field of Study Secondary English education, English literature, composition Technical writing, grant writing, marketing, composition Technical writing, editing and proofreading, composition, literature
Licensure/Certification State teaching license required Professional certification available and may be required N/A
Key Responsibilities Help students develop writing, critical thinking, and reading skills Create pamphlets, résumés or online content for people and businesses Proofread and edit content to search for grammar, mechanical, and structure errors; help writers improve content
Job Growth (2014-2024) 6%* 10%* -5%*
Median Salary (2016) $47,380** $56,599** $49,332**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

What Can I Expect from a Master's Degree Program in English?

The Master of Art in English is a 2-year program that emphasizes critical thinking, writing and language skills that can help you in a number of careers. These programs generally offer several specialty areas. Depending on your career goals, you could choose from many concentrations, including literary studies, publishing, technical writing, creative writing or teaching English as a second language. Some programs are designed to train you how to teach at the high school or junior college level, and you could pursue a teaching license while completing the program. You could also find programs that prepare you for careers that require advanced communication skills, such as in business or media.

What Jobs Can I Apply For?

A master's degree in English could enable you to pursue a variety of occupations, depending on your interests and area of concentration. You could find employment teaching English literature or language in high schools, junior colleges, college preparatory schools or foreign training schools. Online schools now accept a master's degree to teach many of their English and humanities courses. A doctoral degree is typically required to teach at a 4-year college or university.

If you're interested in technical writing, you might concentrate on scientific, business or environmental writing and work for a corporation, government agency, computer software company, engineering company or a firm specializing in publication. If you're interested in creative writing, you might become an author of children's books, biographies or literary fiction. As a creative writer, you could also work in business or media relations to create original advertisements, articles or scripts.

With advanced critical thinking and communication skills, you might also qualify for positions in public relations, research, editing, sales or publishing. You could find these jobs in such industries as banking, marketing, real estate, human resources, journalism or public service. If you want to pursue doctoral studies, a master's degree in English could prepare you for advanced programs in English and other fields, such as business, law, linguistics and theology.

How Much Could I Earn?

Your salary will vary based on the occupation and industry in which you choose to work. In May 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the median annual pay for several professions (www.bls.gov). For example, college-level English language and literature teachers earned $61,990 per year, secondary school teachers made $57,200, and those teaching adult English classes took home $50,280 annually.

For technical writers and creative writers, the BLS estimated the median annual wages of technical writers were $70,240, while writers and authors earned $60,250 during the same period. Because freelance writers tend to work irregular assignments, their earnings can vary considerably.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Alternative careers for those with a master's degree in English are vast and include careers in entertainment and computers. Television shows and films work from scripts that require writers and editors. Some scripts are often adapted from novels, while others are entirely original. Computer hardware engineers and programmers need to understand research and data interpretation, skills that can be developed through English master's degree programs. Another related field is public relations, in which writing and editing skills are used to create speeches, pamphlets, and news releases.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools