English Language & Literature
Types of Degrees English Language & Literature Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many English language and literature graduations there were in 2020-2021 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What English Language & Literature Majors Need to Know
In an O*NET survey, English language and literature majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.
Knowledge Areas for English Language & Literature Majors
This major prepares you for careers in which these knowledge areas are important:
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
- Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Skills for English Language & Literature Majors
When studying English language and literature, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Abilities for English Language & Literature Majors
English Language and Literature majors often go into careers where the following abilities are vital:
- Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Written Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
What Can You Do With a English Language & Literature Major?
People with a English language and literature degree often go into the following careers:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|English Language and Literature Professors||9.8%||$66,590|
|Poets, Lyricists and Creative Writers||7.6%||$62,170|
|Secondary School Teachers, Except Special and Career/Technical Education||7.5%||$60,320|
Who Is Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in English Language & Literature?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of English language and literature majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||3,034|
|Hispanic or Latino||6,010|
Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in English Language & Literature. About 1.7% of those with this major are international students.
How Much Do English Language & Literature Majors Make?
Bachelor’s Degree Starting Salary
The median early-career salary of English language and literature students with a bachelor’s degree is $27,712 a year according to 2019-2020 data from the U.S. Department of Education. During this timeframe, most salaries fell between $24,146 (25th percentile) and $31,636 (75th percentile).
One thing to note here is that not all of these people may be working in careers related to English language and literature.
Salaries According to BLS
English Language and Literature majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $69,480 to $76,990 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to English Language & Literature
Some careers associated with English language and literature require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.
How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to English language and literature have obtained the following education levels.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|Less than a High School Diploma||4.9%|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||2.4%|
|Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)||1.1%|
|Some College Courses||6.0%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||6.5%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||4.6%|
|Post-Master’s Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Master’s degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctoral level.||1.4%|
Online English Language & Literature Programs
In 2020-2021, 1,696 schools offered a English language and literature program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||0||0|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||43||5|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||3||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||189||1|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||2||0|
Is a Degree in English Language & Literature Worth It?
The median salary for a English language and literature grad is $73,090 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 83% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $663,800 after 20 years!
Top Ranking Lists for English Language & Literature
Explore Major by State
District of Columbia
Majors Related to English Language & Literature
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to English language and literature.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|Liberal Arts / Sciences & Humanities||556,813|
|Visual & Performing Arts||149,215|
|Foreign Languages & Linguistics||33,333|
|Theology & Religious Vocations||27,459|
|Philosophy & Religious Studies||19,993|
*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
- Image Credit: By Mike Hazard under License
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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