Being an English means two things: you know how to spell and write correctly, and you’ve read books that 95 percent of the population hasn’t. For those still living in the 1970s, being an English major means you can either teach about English or be a writer, both of which are viewed by those old-school souls as losing propositions.

Well, a new day has dawned for English majors, bringing with it an array of new career opportunities we respectable pay and stability. Don’t believe us? Check out this list of five careers for English majors, courtesy of ClassesandCareers editorial staff:

1. Corporate communications

Most businesspeople don’t care much for the rules of grammar, voice, or structure. These rules are an annoyance to them. If they’re halfway decent at their jobs, however, they realize they need someone who does care about those rules. Most medium- to large-size companies hire communications personnel to make sure they don’t ruin their credibility.

And this is where English word-philes can make a place for themselves in the often alien world of business. In a way, being in this position provides a sense of satisfaction. Before an important communication–an email or newsletter–goes out, it passes over your desk and you get to edit the executives’ writing and determine if it’s on-message or not. It triggers a little power trip that lasts about five minutes.

2. Law

At some point, most English majors hoping to still make the big bucks consider turning to the legal profession. And why not? An English degree certainly prepares you for overwhelming amounts of reading and writing you’ll do in law school. It also teaches you to think about arguments and language critically, which is central to successful lawyering.

Keep in mind, however, that while lawyers do make a cozy $112,760 per year (annual media salary), they don’t all start off making that right out of law school. The media salary for new law school grads was only $60,000 last year.

3. Content management

With companies large and small finally catching onto this whole Internet thing, everyone is investing in building out their websites. And those websites need people who know how to write, organize, and publish large amounts of content. English majors, as it turns out, are very good at this.

This is one emerging career field for English folk that will only continue to grow as the prominence of the Web and social media grows. This makes it a very good career to get into now. It also has a fairly comfortable media annual salary at $79,674.

4. Writing

There has never been so many publishing options for writers. It used to be that writers were in that despised “starving artist” category, doomed to a life of poverty and obscurity. But things have changed. Companies need people who can write advertising copy, sales letters, website content, blog posts, and magazine articles. Technical companies need technical writers to constantly keep their manuals and other materials updated. On top of that, throngs of other writers are able to make a good living freelancing or self-publishing their work on blogs or in ebooks. Truth is, this is a pretty good time to be a writer if you’re willing to get out there and start showing people what you can do.

5. Anything

This seems like a cheat, but it’s really not. English degree programs teach you how to absorb massive amounts of information, boil it all down to its central ideas, and form an argument based on that information. This exercise isn’t helpful in just literary circles. This skill is useful in any business, political, or social situation. By being cognizant of this skill, you can literally transfer it to any profession to develop your ideas, make them bulletproof, and sell them to others.

Are you thinking of majoring in English? Maybe you’re an English major trying to figure out what to do with it? Ask us whatever questions you have in the comments below!

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