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English on the Fast Track
by Danielle Schutz
If you’re thinking of majoring in English, you’ve probably heard it from someone: “Why don’t you study something useful, like computers?”

Why the misconception that English majors have a hard time finding jobs? Perhaps because, unlike Computer Science or Sports Management, an English program does not train a student for one specific career, but rather for a wide range of careers.

Of course, some English majors write and teach. Some writers submit their work directly to publishing companies, and some use an agent to find the best buyer. Many people dream of

If you don’t see yourself teaching, your studies in English will open many other doors.
writing creatively full time but hold a more permanent job, too. However, stories, freelance articles, and novels can generate a great deal of extra income.

One of the most popular ambitions of English majors is to become teachers. North Carolina and other southern states have a serious shortage of good secondary-level teachers. Colleges and universities are also hiring increasing numbers of part-time instructors.

If you don’t see yourself teaching, your studies in English will open many other doors. Journalism includes researching, writing, editing, and reporting for newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the online media.

If you love the written word, you might find publishing a highly rewarding occupation. Publishers decide which articles or book manuscripts to buy, help writers improve their work by editing every draft, and supervise the design, manufacture, and marketing of the finished product.

You don’t have to be a “computer geek” to work for a high- tech company. Technical and scientific organizations prize people who combine good writing skills with computer literacy. Many such companies hire English majors to write memoranda, reports, manuals, advertisements, press releases, and speeches. Employees with Liberal Arts degrees also provide technical support to customers, conduct training seminars, and work with programmers to design software and web pages that are easy to read and use.

Nonprofit organizations hire editors, speechwriters, and development directors. A development director, often a college Liberal Arts major, coordinates an organization’s fundraising and public-awareness efforts, keeps track of

You don’t have to be a “computer geek” to work for a high-tech company.
donors, writes promotional literature and grant applications, organizes groups of people, and gives presentations. If you enjoy working with others for a cause you believe in, consider these very fulfilling careers.

For those more inclined toward business, many firms seek good writers and communicators for marketing-related jobs. You might work for the advertising department, writing ad copy and other promotional material, or for the public relations department, preparing press releases and speeches and working with media.

Still not sure which of these fields appeals to you most? That’s okay. If you’re fascinated by the language and want to take fun courses while opening as many career options as you can, you can hardly go wrong with a degree in English.