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Q&A - English Degrees

Are there any books that I can read to help me decide if an English degree is right for me?

If you are wondering whether an on-campus or online English degree program is right for you, consider reading English Studies: An Introduction to the Discipline(s) (Refiguring English Studies), edited by Bruce McComiskey. This book provides an overview of the many directions an English degree can take you in, including traditional routes of literature, literary criticism and education, interdisciplinary options such as cultural studies and the less commonly considered areas of linguistics, rhetoric, composition and creative writing.

For an assessment of possible careers after completing a degree in English, read What Can You Do With a Major in English? Real People, Real Jobs, Real Rewards by Shelley O’Hara and Jennifer A. Horowitz. This book examines unexpected job opportunities for English majors and ways of tailoring your degree now to be more marketable later, including real-world advice from current professionals in a variety of fields and tips for marketing yourself and finding jobs.

Finally, you may want to familiarize yourself with some major literary works. Classics novels like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen often show up on course reading lists, as do ancient epics such as The Odyssey.

What are some online resources that will give me ideas about how to use a degree in English?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) offers up-to-date information on potential careers for those with traditional or online degrees in English, including what employees are expected to do, how much money they can expect to make, work environments, marketability in the future and more. Whether you are pursing a career as a traditional writer or want to write in the media, publishing or communications fields, BLS can be a great tool. It also provides a variety of pages dedicated to teachers.

In addition, blogs can be an informative, informal source of information. For English Majors discusses business-savvy employment possibilities and how to market skills learned from an English online degree, or traditional degree, that many students overlook. Similarly, Jobs for English Majors provides an informative overview of the process of job hunting at newspapers, online publishing houses, consulting firms and more.

There are also alternative ways of making a living with an English degree that should be kept in mind, including this online vacation planning and travel website which was created by an English major. Through travel writing and advertisements, the author has built a successful business that supports his expat lifestyle.

What organizations accredit on-campus and online English degree programs?

Since December 2010, all English degree programs that legally accept foreign students are required to obtain accreditation from the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA). The CEA is the standardized benchmark for English programs in the U.S. and the only specialized accrediting agency for English language programs and institutions in the country.

While most on-campus English degree programs are accredited, some of the best online English degree programs do not necessarily adhere to the same rules. The CEA keeps a working list of accredited programs and institutions on its website, where you can check to see if your program is 1 of the accredited English degrees online. It should be noted that while many accredited on-campus English degree programs may offer online classes, a top online degree in English program may not necessarily be accredited by the CEA. Thus, if an all-online program is the only viable option for you, carefully consider the variety of English online colleges available and choose the 1 best suited to your needs.

Is a degree in English recession proof?

Whether a recession affects occupational prospects for those pursuing an English degree online depends on the occupation. Most projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics list jobs for those with a degree in English as staying the same or increasing less than average. This is probably because common English professions such as teaching and writing are either funded by federal and state money or based on consumer need and therefore are among the first to suffer in a bad economy.

Positions in development, communications and grant writing may do better in a recession because their primary responsibilities are to bring in money. Before committing to an English degree online, consider the job market and its stability. Furthermore, consider whether or not online English graduate programs may increase your marketability and job prospects.