Jobs for English Majors

I am one week away from graduating with my Bachelor’s degree and I have yet to hear an acceptance from the Ph.D. programs I have applied to. This now has me thinking: what the heck can I do with a BA in English for a year while I wait to apply again?

I guess all I need is a bowler hat and I’m ready to wait in the unemployment line.

There are some more obvious jobs out there, like, you know, what I’m doing right now—writing. But getting paid for writing is hard, even with a degree.

There are a few great options out there for writers without much paid writing experience, like Cracked, who are constantly looking for comical writers. Freelancer also offers competitive bidding jobs for writers out there, as does Fiverr. While these are all great way of making a few bucks, they are also hard work for little, cash-wise, in return. But if what you love to do is writing, these are great places to get started on your freelance career.

Through Cracked you can practice your humor and informative writing for a paycheck. Places like Freelancer and Fiverr offer a variety of gigs—from copyrighting and copy-editing to technical writer and, sometimes, even creative writing gigs. These gigs are a great way of gaining experience for later work and building up your writing portfolio for later gigs. Cracked’s writers often come out with books that make it on Amazon’s best sellers list regularly, so there’s the name recognition you get from gigs like that as well. But sometimes these gigs just aren’t enough, pay wise, and second jobs, in addition to your own personal writing you do in your free time, need to taken to pay the rent and keep food on the table.

If you’re looking to put your English major knowledge to good use, tutoring is another great work option, especially if you’re proficient in grammar and language acquisition. And one of the best parts of tutoring is that you can do it in addition to other writing gigs—and, might I mention, under the table for cash. If you’re working at an institution, this obviously isn’t the case. I’ve worked at Cal Poly Pomona and Fullerton College for the campuses, so my pay was above the table, but there were always the occasional twenty-plus dollar tutoring session at Starbucks or the library that came along and with a few of those a week, you can move up from Ramen noodles to the good stuff! You can also work at after school tutoring institutions like Sylvan Learning Center or even register at Tutor to try tutoring on your own.

Teaching is another thing you can do—in many states, all you need is a BA in your subject to substitute teach. Substitute teaching is great part-time work that leaves you with a decent paycheck and plenty of time on your hands to write. In California, to substitute teach you need to pass the CBEST and then you’re all set to register at a few school districts to substitute teach.

And, if you’re looking to write the next great American novel, you can always try some writing contests to get your name and work out there in addition to a job that brings in a paycheck. On this site, we post publication opportunities monthly for you to follow, which is a great place to get started.

These are just a few opportunities out there for English majors, mostly in relation to writing and education because, well, those are the things I’m passionate about so those are the kinds of gigs I’m looking at. English majors are also great in the office because they are good at clear, concise, and well-written communication in addition to being awesome at critical thinking and double awesome in arguing and supporting their points.

An English major is a jack of all trades in the end because she can research, read, comprehend, and learn what she needs to in any situation. If you have your BA in English, you are a valuable contribution to any work environment.


  1. Amanda

    There are so many options out there for English majors! I graduated in 2013 and I currently have a job that was looking specifically for English majors! I now work (generally) as a proofreader.

    I would also like to note that when I was a Content Writer for an inbound marketing company, the amount I had to pay for taxes skyrocketed because in the U.S., if you get paid through PayPal, you are considered to be the owner of your company. I believe freelancers have their own set of tax laws as well.

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