What is English all about?

This group includes occupations primarily concerned with researching and writing material for performance, publication, or broadcast. This includes reporting, analyzing, and interpreting facts, events, and personalities; developing fiction or nonfiction ideas, using various literary techniques to produce plays, novels, poems, or other related works; critically evaluating art, music, drama, and other artistic presentations. English majors often rewrite material developed by others and perform editorial duties but are distinguished from editors because they are primarily responsible for originating written material.

Sampling of Skills Needed

  • Influencing others through words.
  • Conducting literature searches; summarizing/organizing complicated materials.
  • Presenting material in an original and interesting way, clearly and concisely.
  • Choosing words, idioms, metaphors to express an idea with the desired nuances/connotations.
  • Writing in varied styles and forms.
  • Adapting language to different audiences, translating jargon into readable prose, rewriting material for different reading levels.
  • Presenting original views and interpretations on various topics.
  • Reading and listening critically; selecting writings and subject matter for inclusion in a program or publication.
  • Recognizing propaganda; identifying the devices used to sway an audience.
  • Holding the attention of an audience, prospect or client.
  • Delivering prepared speeches or speaking extemporaneously before groups.
  • Proofreading/editing; correcting content and grammar errors; suggesting improvements.
  • Interpreting or translating a foreign language.
  • Observing and reporting accurately.
  • Having something to say and saying it effectively; creatively interpreting and expressing human experience.

Some Types of Employers

  • Book publishers
  • Political Offices
  • Radio/Television Stations
  • Chambers of Commerce
  • Research Institutions
  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Advertising Agencies
  • Greeting Card Publishers
  • Theatres
  • Law Firms
  • Public Interest Organizations
  • Consumer Action Groups
  • Large Companies
  • Health & Human Service Org.
  • Educational Institutions
  • Literary Agencies
  • Printing Firms
  • Tutoring Services
  • Public Libraries
  • Government Agencies

Sampling of Jobs

Columnist/Commentator - analyzes news and writes columns or commentary, based on personal knowledge and experience with subject matter, for publication or broadcast.

Librettist - composes text for operas, musical plays, or extended choral work, fitting words to music composed by another.

Critic - writes critical reviews of literary, musical, or artistic works and performances for broadcast and publication.

Screen Writer - writes scripts for motion pictures or television: writes plot outline, narrative synopsis, or treatment and submits for approval.

Continuity Writer - originates and prepares material that is read by an announcer to introduce and connect various parts of musical, news, and sports programs.

Newscaster - analyzes and broadcasts news received from various sources: examines news items of local, national, and international significance to determine selection or is assigned news items for broadcast by editorial staff.

Some other related occupations:

  • Copy Writer
  • Editorial Writer
  • Humorist
  • Lyricist
  • Playwright
  • Poet
  • Writer, Prose, Fiction and Nonfiction
  • Reader
  • News Writer
  • Reporter
  • Script Reader
  • Writer, Technical Publications
  • Editor, Newspaper

Sources for Further Exploration

Encyclopedia of Careers

Occupational Outlook Handbook

What Color is your Parachute?

Federal Jobs for College Graduates

College, Knowledge, and Jobs

The Complete Job Search Handbook


National Press Club http://www.npc.press.org

National Press Photographers Association http://www.nppa.org/

National Writers Union http://www.nwu.org


Salaries range greatly from one occupation, position, and work setting to another. According to the Summer 2008 NACE national salary survey for Bachelor's Degree Candidates in English, the average salary was $34,327.


The National Association of Black Journalists, 3000 members strong with 74 affiliated professional chapters and 51 student chapters, is the largest media organization for people of color in the world.

Founded December 12, 1975, our mission is to strengthen ties among African-American journalists, promote diversity in newsrooms, honor excellence and outstanding achievement in the media industry, expand job opportunities and recruiting activities for established African-American journalists and students interested in the journalism field, and expand and balance the media's coverage of the African-American community and experience.

The National Association of Black Journalist
8701-A Adelphi Road
Adelphi, MD 20783
(Tel) 301-445-7100
(Fax) 301-445-7101

American Society of Journalist & Authors
1501 Broadway, Suite 302
New York, New York 10036
(Tel) 212-997-0947
(Fax) 212-768-7414

Black Publishers Coalition, Inc.
Marcus Garvey House
1815 Bryant Avenue, North
Minneapolis, MN 55114
(Tel) 612-588-1313
(Fax) 612-588-0048

Society of Professional Journalist
16 South Jackson Street
Greencastle, Indiana 46135-1514
(Tel) 765-653-3333
(Fax) 765-653-4631

Miscellaneous Resources:

Authorlink: Information Services for Writers, Editors, Literary Agents and Publishers - http://www.authorlink.com/index.html